|Final Sky Bet League 2 Position||6th||Lost 4-2 on aggregate to Southend United in Play-off Semi Final.|
|FA Cup||1st Round||Lost 1-2 to Maidstone United|
|Capital One Cup||1st Round||Lost 0-1 to Watford|
|Johnstones Paint Trophy||1st Round||Lost 0-1 to Gillingham|
Following Boro’s relegation to League 2 it was made clear early on that this would be a season of rebuilding, with Graham Westley releasing the vast majority of the first team and bringing a number of new faces.
Quality over quantity was Graham’s intention, as the club saw some great additions to the playing squad such as Charlie Lee and Chris Whelpdale (from Gillingham), Calvin Zola from Scottish premier side Aberdeen, highly rated Tom Pett and Jerome Okimo from Wealdstone – and of course the return of Ronnie Henry from newly promoted Luton Town.
The season kicked off with a home game against Hartlepool United, which saw Boro add 3 points onto the board, courtesy of a Chris Whelpdale volley in the 60th minute. However, the good start was short lived, as the team picked up just 1 point from the following 3 games, losing away to Southend (2-0), drawing 1-1 with Plymouth and losing at home 1-3 to Wycombe Wanderers.
Form continued to be patchy throughout August and September, as the team were knocked out of both the JPT and the League Cup in the first rounds, whilst showing no real consistency in the league. Losses away to York City (3-2), Bury (2-1), and Carlisle (3-0) and at home to Luton Town (1-2) were interspersed with home wins against Shrewsbury Town (1-0), Mansfield Town (3-0) and a 2-3 away at AFC Wimbledon (Wells, Lancaster, Lee).
By mid October, Stevenage were languishing in 19th place, with just 14 points from the opening 12 games – and out of 2 of the 3 cup competitions. It was a team in transition, but many of the fans believed that with the quality of our players, we were sitting at the wrong end of the table.
Form markedly picked up from mid October, with the side winning 8 of the following 14 games, losing just 3 times (Portsmouth, Northampton and Newport County) and drawing 3 times (Tranmere Rovers and Morecambe, home and away) – picking up 27 points from a possible 36, to be sitting in the final play-off slot (7th place) in early January 2015.
Results took an unexpected wobble in late January, as Stevenage lost 3 games back to back (Shrewsbury, Oxford United and Mansfield Town), before form improved – with the side recording wins against Hartlepool, Southend, Plymouth, Newport County, Cheltenham, Northampton, Portsmouth and Carlisle, while losing just twice to Dagenham and Redbridge, and to Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on the final day of the regular fixtures.
Injuries had been a key factor for Stevenage all season, having lost strikers Calvin Zola, Darius Charles and Andy Marriott for the vast majority of the season. Numbers were bolstered with loanees, including Lee Barnard (Southend) and Kevin Lisbie (Leyton Orient), although both players were only with the club for short spells.
After a great run of results, Boro had secured 6th place, denying Luton Town the chance to take the final play-off slot. Stevenage were drawn against Southend United in the League 2 play-offs and were hoping to join automatically promoted Burton Albion, Shrewsbury and Bury in League 1 for the following season.
Southend themselves had looked like winning automatic promotion to League 1, before being denied on the final game of the season as Wycombe Wanderers stole a 97th minute winner against Northampton Town – to force Southend back into 5th place, and allow Bury to claim the final automatic promotion place.
The first leg of the match against Southend United took place at Broadhall Way, and although the game was quite open with both sides showing their attacking intent – the game ended in a 1-1 draw (Parrett opening the scoring for Stevenage, with Barry Corr equalising for the visitors 9 minutes later).
Unfortunately, the game will be more memorable for a sickening clash of heads between Boro defender Bira Dembele and Southend’s Michael Timlin.
The game was halted as Bira was checked by medics – whilst Timlin was whisked off to the Lister to receive 15 stitches. Bira was deemed fit enough to resume play for the remainder of the half before being replaced with Jon Ashton at half time.
The return leg at Roots Hall took place 4 days later, and again ended in a 1-1 draw in regular time – Tom Pett coming on as a second half substitute for the injured Chris Whelpdale and scoring a tap-in in front of the Boro crowd, before Ryan Leonard equalised 12 minutes later.
Southend had a late opportunity to kill the game as Dean Parrett was harshly adjudged to have fouled Ryan Leonard in the box – with referee Graham Scott pointing to the spot.
Barry Corr stepped up for Southend, and (to much cheer and applause from the travelling Boro fans) attempted a chip – as it sailed over Day, glancing the crossbar before landing in amongst the home fans.
The Boro faithful felt that the penalty miss may spur Stevenage on to a win, but it wasn’t to be. Fatigue and injuries started to take their toll, as Southend came out fighting. Boro were able to hold the first 15 minutes of extra time, but the final 15 proved too much, as Stephen McLaughlin scored with a diving header in the 108th minute – forcing Stevenage to chase the game for the remaining 12 minutes. This proved costly, as Southend put the game beyond reach in the final minute, with Michael Timlin (wearing a headguard from his previous meeting with Bira Dembele) scoring the final goal to end Stevenage’s 2014/15 league campaign.
Southend went onto beat Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley, winning 7-6 on penalties, and earning their place in League 1 for the 2015/16 season.
As the season closed, Graham Westley announced in the press that his contract hadn’t yet been renewed for the 2015/16 season – so the season closed with debate among the fans over who would be the clubs manager for the coming term.
Doing the double win over….
|Hartlepool United||Home (9th Aug)||1-0||Whelpdale|
|Away(14th Feb)||1-3||Martin, Kennedy (2)|
|AFC Wimbledon||Away (30th Aug)||2-3||Wells, Lancaster, Lee|
|Home (10th Jan)||2-1||Pett, Walton|
|Cheltenham Town||Home (15th Nov)||5-1||Beardsley (2), Lee, Barnard (2)|
|Away (6th Apr)||0-1||Kennedy|
On the receiving end
|Luton Town||Home (4th Oct)||1-2||Pett|
|Away(2nd Mar)||2-0||No Boro scorer|
In the FA Cup, Boro were handed what looked to be a comfortable tie – at home to Isthmian Premier side Maidstone United. The match was far from the one sided affair that many expected, with Maidstone battling hard and finishing the match 0-0, taking the tie to a replay.
At the Gallagher Stadium, despite fielding a strong side, Boro were a goal down inside the second minute and never really got control of the match.
Darius Charles pulled one back for Boro early in the second half, but the visitors struggled to gain any real control in the match – eventually succumbing to an 87th minute goal from Frannie Collin. Time ran out, and the Boro existed the FA Cup in dramatic fashion at the first hurdle.
In The Capital One Cup, things hadn’t gone much better. Having drawn championship side Watford in a home tie at Broadhall Way – the fans hoped for a good game to watch, but not many truly expected the team to progress to the next round.
The match itself was quite open, with both sides attacking and hitting the woodwork, before Watford took the lead early in the second half with a neat through ball which Fabbrini ran onto before calmly slotting past the onrushing Sam Beasant.
Boro continued to press, but were unable to breakdown the Hornets defence – and the game finished 0-1, as Stevenage bowed out of the League cup.
In the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Boro were given another home draw, this time against League 1 outfit Gillingham. A small crowd of just 1,613 fans went to Broadhall Way to see a fairly disappointing game – with the highlight of the tie being when referee Darren Deadman got out his ‘world cup’ spray to mark out the 10 yard line for a Gills free-kick.
Stevenage started brightly, but were punished in the 17th minute, as Chris Day was adjudged to have fouled Cody McDonald in the box, allowing Luke Norris to step up and convert the resulting penalty.
Gavin Hoyte was sent of for the visitors in the 27th minute, although this only served to make the visitors even more defensive – holding onto the one goal advantage for the remainder of the match – putting the Boro out of the JPT in round one.
2014/2015 in numbers……
20 wins in League 2 3,191 average Lamex attendance
Points won in the season 72 Goals scored in league 62
39 squad players utilised in the season
6th place finish in League 2
12 drawn games Goal Difference +8
9 Goals for Top Scorer Charlie Lee 2 FA Cup Games
Capital One Cup exit in Round 1
|1 Sam Beasant||2 Michael Richens||3 Bira Dembele||4 Harry Worley||5 Jon Ashton|
|6 Andy Bond||7 Chris Whelpdale||8 Simon Walton||9 Darius Charles||10 Calvin Zola|
|11 Tom Pett||12 David McAllister||13 Dean Parrett||14 Adam Marriott||15 Connor Calcutt|
|16 Chris Day||19 Dean Wells||20 Chris Beardsley||22 Charlie Lee||23 Jerome Okimo|
|24 Cameron Lancaster / Ryan Brunt / Danny Johnson||25 Ronnie Henry||27 Ryan Johnson||28 Joe N’Guessan||32 Tom Conlon|
|33 Ben Kennedy||34 Roarie Deacon||35 Ross Millard||36 Bruno Andrade||37 Lee Barnard / Keith Keane|
|38 Jack Storer||41 Kevin Lisbie||46 Jack Jebb||49 Charlie Adams||50 Josh Clarke / Dave Martin|
|– Dipo Akinyemi||– Dave Beasant||– George Casey||– Dale Gorman||– Fejiri Okenabihrie|
|– Tyler Reading||– Louis Yamfam|
Programme Editor : Mark Venables
Kit image : Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission.