Stevenage need to make the Lamex a fortress again

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

Four reasons why it went wrong this season - and one positive on the horizon

Boro need to make plenty of changes over the summer if they are to bounce back following a poor 18 months that has seen the club win just 15 of the 69 league matches played since December 15, 2012.

Four reasons it has gone wrong – and one positive looking ahead

Problems at full-back

Not until February, when Curtis Obeng arrived on loan, did the club possess a natural defender who Westley was keen to employ regularly in a full-back position.


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He had at his disposal earlier in the campaign Lee Hills and David Gray, but neither convinced Boro’s boss sufficiently enough.

Gray had been Boro’s second best player the previous season, but after getting rid of the former Manchester United man during his time at Preston, Westley remained unconvinced on his return to the Lamex and Gray went in January.

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Hills was released in November and while midfielders Sam Wedgbury, Jimmy Smith, Luke Freeman and Roarie Deacon plus centre-back Peter Hartley have all started at full-back this season, only Obeng has regularly impressed.

Firepower

Having netted 16 goals from when he joined the club on October 4 until the 3-2 win over Bradford City on March 1, Francois Zoko has since endured a lean spell with none in his past 11 matches.

Without his goals Boro have struggled to find a regular scorer.

A compatriot of Zoko’s, Anderson Banvo was drafted in from Blackpool in March but has made just one substitute appearance with academy player Fejiri Okenabirhie preferred to him off the bench on Monday.

Craig Reid, brought in in February, has been more involved, with one start and two substitute appearances, but injuries to Darius Charles this season have left Boro light in the final third and they are the joint second lowest scorers in the league.

The Lamex Stadium

Stevenage are one of only two teams to have home defeats reaching double figures this season, the other being Colchester United.

They failed to win any of their first five matches at home this season (four defeats, one draw), and their record, with one home match remaining, reads P22 W6 D5 L11.

Their home record last season was similar (P23 W7 D5 L11), but the previous year, their first in League 1, saw just three defeats at home. Westley will be keen to make the Lamex a fortress again.

Killer Christmas/New Year

After beating Peterborough away in mid-November, Boro faced six of the teams around them in their next nine league games.

Not only did they fail to win any of those six matches against their nearest rivals, but they lost all of them.

Before that run Stevenage were in 20th, just four points off 12th place.

Afterwards, they were bottom of the table, 12 points shy of 12th.

A small step into League 2

Dropping into League 2 will see a rebuild at Boro. There will be plenty out, and plenty in.

Generally, Westley has a decent track record of finding quality on the cheap. Doing the same this summer will be vital.

Bringing Conference players into League 2, where the quality is not much different from what they have been facing, means a step up of one level, not the two some faced last summer.

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