The boy Byron's done good

Stevenage Supporters' Association's Mark Hollis' monthly column

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything here, so apologies to the couple of you who keep up with this, or ‘Mum and Dad’ as they’re more affectionately known.

As it happens, the last time I wrote this column was a week or so before the Newcastle United game where I naively mentioned Peter Beardsley and then realised at half time of the match that Peter Beardsley didn’t actually play for Newcastle the first time we played them, so you should probably ignore everything I say for the rest of the season!

Obviously, the Newcastle game was the result of a generation. An achievement that I probably won’t see from a Stevenage team again in my lifetime, and as such, I celebrated by going out in to the small hours and then being at fault for my Sunday team’s defeat the next morning.

There’s no need to go in to how impressive the performance was because the result speaks for itself but it truly was a day that will live forever in the memory.

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Since the Newcastle result, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, and a bag that, admittedly, I’ve not had much involvement in.

Sorting out a wedding in June has meant that my usually intermittent attendance has dropped off to the point where attending games is a bit of a luxury but I still keep as up to date as I can and the Football League show has become a very well used show recently.

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After Newcastle came a semi-expected away defeat to league leaders Chesterfield but I was confident that we could cement our mid-table finish with four home league games on the spin.

The first two went without a hitch.

The way we came out of the traps against Morecambe was unlike anything I’d seen from Stevenage this season and resulted in us taking a two goal lead inside the first 10 minutes.

The remainder of the match was played out as a bit of a non-event with Morecambe offering absolutely nothing and Stevenage knowing that the three points were pretty much in the bag.

Next up were Rotherham who I thought would give us a bit of a game, but as usual, I was wrong.

The lads came out and started brightly and aside from a 15 minute spell in the second half, dominated the match, keeping the prolific Adam Le Fondre quiet, limiting him to just the one, very wayward, effort.

As far as Stevenage were concerned, three very well taken goals were enough to win the match; Peter Winn smashing in from the edge of the box on the stroke of half time, Byron Harrison with his first goal for the club, tapping in to an empty net from two yards, and the best of the bunch, and probably the season, was just inside injury time when Scott Laird pounced on a loose ball 25 yards from goal, checked his run, looked up and side footed gloriously into the top corner. So far, so good.

However, the FA Cup Fourth Round was never going to be easy and after seeing us turn Newcastle over there was no way that Reading were going to turn up and underestimate us, and from what I saw, they went about the job very well.

Conceding a late goal like that is always a horrible feeling but is even worse after the work we’d put in the previous round.

Losing to Reading seems to have hit the boys hard and a few injuries in key areas have lead to a string of forgettable results.

The two draws at home came in different circumstances. Against Gillingham we surrendered an early lead courtesy of Harrison to fall 2-1 behind, only for Harrison to score again, earn us a point and become the club's joint-top goal scorer in one fine header.

Next up was a horrendous collapse at the hands of Accrington Stanley, going 2-0 up and surrendering it in the last two minutes of the match.

The celebrations of the Accrington players and staff in front of the Stevenage dug out left a lot to be desired but it’s only what I’ve come to expect of that club.

Having not been to either of the last two games, away at Bury and Shrewsbury respectively, there’s not a lot I can comment on but the results haven’t been good for us.

A 3-0 defeat away at Bury is as bad a result as I can remember Stevenage having in a long, long time and the defeat at Shrewsbury will not have done our confidence much good either.

All in all, a bit of a forgettable period on the pitch with high points obviously being the way Byron Harrison has started his career at Stevenage with four goals in his first three games for the club and the record transfer signing of Craig Reid is a real indication of where the club wish to be.

Off the pitch has been better, with the club recently awarded a Family Excellence Award and picking up a nomination in the Community Club of the Year category at this year’s Football League Awards.

In terms of the Supporter’s Association, the FA Cup run has seen our membership rise to the highest point since the 2004-05 season which is great news for us and hopefully, as members, you’re taking advantage of the benefits package.

For those of you wishing to get to any of the away games, please remember to keep checking our website for up to date travel details –

* Mark Hollis is the public relations officer of the Stevenage Supporters' Association.

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