Stevenage’s Conference winners 10 years on: Byrom recalls the push for top spot
- Credit: Matt Ranson
With the 10th anniversary of Stevenage’s Conference winning season coming up, CometSport spoke to Joel Byrom to get his memories on the campaign. In part two, the midfielder remembers pushing for the title and recovering from a blip.
After a poor start to the season, Boro went 17 games unbeaten from August to November in a run that fired them up the table.
“We were taking it each game at a time then,” remembers Byrom.
“Results were going for us and goals were coming from everywhere.
“Even if the team changed it didn’t make us any weaker because we had 22 in the squad with two for each position.”
A defeat to Ebbsfleet United in early December ended the run, but they recovered to secure four wins out of the next five.
Then came a big blip, with 1-0 defeats to Tamworth and Rushden & Diamonds.
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“I remember being on the bench at Tamworth and Ronnie Henry got sent off and then Darren Murphy got sent off,” said Byrom.
“We were down to nine men, and I got put on. I don’t think I touched the ball, I just chased around getting nowhere near it.
“That was one of them days when everything went wrong. We went to Rushden a few weeks later and that was another game when we just weren’t on it at all.
“But, most teams that win things have that little blip and it’s how you react to it.”
Stevenage certainly reacted as they won 11 or their next 12 games to put them on the brink of the title.
“It was ridiculous. It felt like we had games won before we’d even gone on the pitch,” remembers Byrom.
“Teams hated playing against us and we were getting the games done early. I remember one game at Wimbledon and even standing in the tunnel it felt like men against boys.”
During that run was a 3-1 win against Crawley Town, with Byrom getting on the scoresheet with an incredible goal from just beyond the halfway line.
“It’s fell off the face of the earth that goal. I got footage off one of the fans, but it’s not on YouTube,” said Byrom.
“At the time I don’t know why I did it. The ball just fell and it got stuck in a puddle. I saw the goalkeeper off his line and I’ve never hit a ball so sweet since.”