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Club News


31 December 2014

The first of a four-part piece looking back at the events on and off the pitch at Stevenage FC in 2014...

To say 2014 has been an eventful year at Stevenage FC could be somewhat of an understatement.

From the fight for survival and the disappointment of relegation from League 1 earlier in the year to the optimism and excitement surrounding the 2014/15 season and the recent excellent run of festive results, it's been a rollercoaster ride on the pitch.

Between now and the New Year we'll be taking a quick look back at 2014 month by month, reminding you of what happened and showing you the best goals and photos from around the club, on and off the pitch.

First up it's January to March...


On the pitch...
With the New Year’s Day game at home to Gillingham falling foul of the weather, Stevenage’s first game of 2014 was in the FA Cup away at Championship strugglers Doncaster and what a game it proved.
After a goalless first half at the Keepmoat Stadium, Francois Zoko and Peter Hartley gave Boro a two-goal lead only for Harry Forrester to reduce the deficit with a fine volley with 20 minutes remaining. Darius Charles stepped off the bench to sweep Boro 3-1 up and despite a late fluke, Doncaster couldn’t find an equaliser and Stevenage picked up an impressive win. The following day saw Boro handed a home tie against Premier League Everton – the second time the two teams were to meet in 2013/14 after an exciting Capital One Cup first round tie at Goodison Park earlier in the season.

A 1-0 defeat at Oldham brought Stevenage back down to earth with a bump ahead of four successive home games. An impressive 2-0 win against Swindon, courtesy of goals from Lucas Akins and Filipe Morais was followed by a frustrating 1-0 defeat against fellow relegation battlers Notts County, for whom ‘keeper Bartosz Bialkowski produced a string of fine saves to thwart Boro.

Next up was the FA Cup third round tie against Everton. A crowd of 6,913 crowded into The Lamex Stadium to see Boro take on Roberto Martinez’s Premier League giants and visiting ‘keeper Joel Robles was arguably the busier of the two ‘keeper on the night. However the Toffees were clinical and advanced into round 4 thanks to goals from Naismith (2), Heitinga and Gueye.

Poor weather then forced the postponement of a vital league game against Crewe, which was due to be the final game of January.

Off the pitch...
- There was a big boost with Francois Zoko signing a new deal to extend his stay at The Lamex until the end of the season with loan spells for both Michael Doughty and Bruno Andrade also extended. John Mousinho returned to the club on loan from Preston whilst seven departed on various loan or permanent deals.
- Barry Webber joined the club as Chief Executive having previously worked at in roles at Premier League clubs West Ham, Newcastle and Everton.
- Local successful businessman Stuart Dinsey was appointed to the club's Board of Directors having previously been an associate director since 2012.

Players In
Adam Smith – Leicester (loan)
John Mousinho – Preston (loan)

Players Out
Greg Tansey – Inverness (free)
Ben Chorley - Portsmouth (free)
Dani Lopez – Barnet (loan)
Dunne – St Johnstone (loan)
Tounkara – Grimsby (loan)
Matt Ball – Farnborough (loan)
David Gray – Burton (loan)

Video of the Month

Photos of the Month

Darius returns from injury to sweep Boro into Round 4 of the FA Cup

Francois Zoko signs a new deal until the end of the season

Jon Ashton, Graham Westley and Jimmy Smith speak to the media prior to the Everton FA Cup tie


On the pitch...
After the league game at Crawley was postponed due to the weather, two goals from Darius Charles helped Boro to a 3-1 home win against Gillingham to kick-start the month positively. After the next game against Wolves was called off, again due to a waterlogged pitch, Graham Westley’s men travelled to high-flying Rotherham with confidence and dominated large chunks of the game. Francois Zoko’s 86th minute equaliser looked to have handed Boro a decent point only for Lee Frecklington to find the net from distance and the Millers won 2-1.

A disappointing 2-0 defeat at Leyton Orient was followed by a competitive game at home to Peterborough, who took all three points courtesy of a late Nicky Ajose goal. The rearranged league game at Crewe came the following Tuesday in what seemed a must-win game for either side to avoid being cut-off towards the bottom of the table. Francois Zoko struck within 5 minutes to hand Boro a vital win and kick-start a run of six games unbeaten, providing hope for everyone at the club.

Off the pitch...
- It was announced that Stevenage FC was to combine forces with Stevenage Borough Ladies FC from 2014/15 to form Stevenage Ladies FC. The formation of the new club, which would see existing Stevenage Borough Ladies players incorporated, would be marked with a commemorative match against QPR later in the season at The Lamex.

Players In
Curtis Obeng – Swansea (loan)
Craig Reid – Unattached (free)
Bira Dembele - Unattached (free)

Video of the Month
Darius scores twice as we beat Gillingham 3-1

Photos of the Month

Gillingham's Elliott Hewitt is sent off for handball on the line at The Lamex...

...and up steps Zoko to bury the penalty

The birth of Stevenage Ladies FC

March was a hectic yet hopeful month for Stevenage with eight games in all seeing just the two defeats. First up was a topsy-turvy game at Valley Parade where two stunning strikes from Luke Freeman saw Boro come from behind late on to win 3-2. They then made a midweek rearranged trip to Crawley and dominated the first half, taking a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to a towering header from Bira Dembele. Crawley came out all guns blazing in the second half but took until the dying seconds to equalise when Matt Tubbs finally fired home to deny Stevenage an important victory.

Still, Graham Westley’s men rallied and saw off Tranmere 3-1 the following Saturday thanks to goals from Jimmy Smith, Darius Charles and John Mousinho. The games continued to come thick and fast and Smith struck late to grab a point against Preston in a fiery encounter at The Lamex.

A goalless draw at Carlisle followed and then a tough looking home game against MK Dons was next. First half goals from Dean Parrett and Lucas Akins had Boro in the driving seat but a season-ending ACL injury for Parrett in the second half disrupted the hosts and the Dons mounted the most unlikeliest of comebacks in the final 10 minutes. Jorden Spence halved the deficit on 81 minutes, Ben Reeves curled in a spectacular equalised three minutes later but worse was yet to come. Deep into 8 minutes of added time Dean Lewington nodded in a winner and that was that.

Whilst a win for Boro would have seen them rise to 19th, the final 10 minutes of madness combined with results elsewhere saw them slip down to 23rd in what some saw as a major psychological blow to their survival hopes as they failed to register a win for the next seven games.

A narrow 1-0 defeat at Coventry was followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Port Vale as frantic February finally finished.

Off the pitch...
- Season tickets were invited to apply to join the Supporters Advisory Board, a new consultation group providing fans with the opportunity to have their say on all things that matter at the club.
- Manager Graham Westley attended and refereed a special 50th episode of the unofficial Stevenage FC podcast, A Load of Old Toffee, which saw money raised for Prostate Cancer UK

Players In
Tom Flanagan – MK Dons (loan)
Connor Henderson – Hull (loan)
Anderson Banvo – Blackpool (loan)

Players Out
Robin Shroot

Video of the Month
A spectacular Luke Freeman double sees Boro win 3-2 at Bradford

Photos of the Month

Luke wheels away after his late winner at Bradford

Big Bira Dembele towers to power Boro into the lead at Crawley

Port Vale 'keeper Sam Johnson can't keep out Peter Hartley's header in the 1-1 draw

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