Tag: Stevenage

Stevenage Do Us All A Favour

While last night’s FA Cup match between Woking and Brighton & Hove Albion had its fair share of drama, the real excitement of the evening came in Buckinghamshire at something called Stadium:MK, where Stevenage FC snatched a dramatic late equaliser and then won a penalty shoout-out to book a place in the Second Round of the competition and spared the rest of us the possibility of the “spectacle” of a match between AFC Wimbledon and the club that assumed a league place in 2004. The home side had taken the lead early in the second half before an equaliser deep into injury time brought the sides level. Extra-time could seperate them and it looked for a while as if a penalty shoot-out wouldn’t either, before Stevenage eventually grabbed it by a 7-6 scoreline. Over the last week and a half or so, Wimbledon supporters have been coming to terms with a tie that they may have found emotionally difficult, even if the rest of the media was willing it to happen. There came a marked recognition that they would have to play if both sides won their replays and this led to protracted discussion of how they, if they had to, should mark the occasion. Stevenage’s penalties last night, however, made all of this an irrelevance and they will now travel to Ebbsfleet United for their replay tomorrow night without...

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Match Of The Week: Stevenage 1-2 Portsmouth

How times change. This time last year, Portsmouth were preparing for the start of the Premier League season. The hints were already out there, that something was desperately, horribly wrong at Fratton Park, but few would have managed to guess just how bad things would get. Being the first Premier League club to enter into administration brought them a nine point deduction which all but guaranteed their relegation from the Premier League in March (although, as things turned out, they would have been relegated even without this deduction), and the consolation of an extraordinary run to the FA Cup final was only a transitory diversion from the greater prize of the club’s ongoing existence. The battle to keep the club alive was finally won last week, but the balloons from this particular party were starting to fall somewhat limp by late on Saturday afternoon, by which time some degree of the scale of the task facing new manager had been made clear by a fairly comprehensive 2-0 defeat in their opening match of the season in the Championship at the hands of Coventry City, during which the shortcomings in the squad brought out by the necessity of their administration were lain bare. Good support and good intentions can only get a football club so far, and the smell of dry rot still hung over Portsmouth on Saturday. Stevenage Borough,...

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Match Of The Week: Stevenage Borough 1-0 Oxford United

It seems unlikely that any team in Britain has as important a week as Stevenage Borough have this week. Five points clear at the top of the Blue Square Premier, they face second placed Oxford United and third placed Luton Town on Saturday, before finishing off a run of three matches in six days with an away match against Wimbledon. If they win all three, they will be almost home and dry in the race for a place in the Football League. Should they falter, there is plenty of experience sitting just behind them in the table waiting for them to slip up. Even if things were to go wrong for them in the league, though, they’ve already got the not inconsiderable consolation of one trip to Wembley in the FA Trophy final, which they reached a couple of weeks ago, lined up. Tonight’s match against Oxford United might just prove to be the last chance saloon for their guests’ chances of winning automatic promotion from the Blue Square Premier this season. Going into the match, Stevenage are five points clear of Oxford, with a considerably greater goal difference. Oxford themselves were the early pace-setters, but their form has dipped in recent weeks. Their win against relegation fodder Gateshead on Saturday was their first in six matches, and that required a decisive goal in stoppage time to hand them...

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Match Of The Week: Stevenage Borough 4-1 Cambridge United

Stevenage Borough are flying high while Cambridge United are unexpectedly floundering, and with Stevenage’s rivals at the top of the table, Oxford United, frozen off for the second match in a row, it was a golden opportunity for the Hertfordshire club to hit the top of the Blue Square Premier table.

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A Few Things About Local Derbies

What constitutes a local derby seems, on the face of it, to be a question with a pretty obvious answer. However, if we take a couple of minutes to actually examine it, it becomes more nuanced that you might at first think. Derby matches are usually local, but they don’t necessarily have to be. The rivalry between Brighton and Crystal Palace is thirty-odd years old now, even though the two clubs are over forty miles part and haven’t spent that much of the last three decades in the same division. There is an historical element to it, brought about by the abrasive management styles of Malcolm Allison and Alan Mullery in the mid-1970s. The flame hasn’t been extinguished to this day, and doesn’t take much to spark back to life.The nature of the local derby – or, to be more succinct, the local rivalry – is more complex than that, but it is a critical part of the existence of the football supporter. It taps into the urge that we have within us to define ourselves against something and to measure ourselves against something. It is a barometer for how well or badly is doing. And it is a universal phenomenon within the game. Rivals are often two clubs with more in common than either of them would care to admit. Manchester United supporters, while aware of the importance...

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