Stevenage fan Owen Rodbard reviews Boro's 2018-19 League Two fixtures
PUBLISHED: 11:51 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:01 21 June 2018
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Passionate Stevenage season ticket holder Owen Rodbard previews the club's 2018-19 League Two campaign after the fixtures were released on Thursday morning.
I’ve been watching Boro since I saw us beat Merthyr Tydfil 7-0 in the first round of the FA Trophy during the 2006-07 season, and attend, on average, between 30 to 40 matches a season.
You might have seen – or heard – me as I also play the drum on the East Terrace at the Lamex at every home game.
Having seen the fixtures while an intern at CometSport I have to say I’m really excited about next season, and would hope Boro can push for promotion through the play-offs, or better.
Dino Maamria’s side will host a strong test against newly-promoted Tranmere Rovers on the opening day of the season which will surely test Boro’s early intentions in the league.
Add this to a short away trip to Crawley the next week and a Carabao Cup tie against Championship side Norwich following that, it all adds up to a start most Stevenage fans will relish.
On Saturday, September 1 Dino will be looking for revenge against rivals Cambridge after last seasons disappointing 2-0 loss after an inspired Barry Corr double beat us at the Lamex back in April.
We then take on Conference champions Macclesfield – against who we played our first-ever league match, a 2-2 draw back in August 2010 – and which will only be the third ever meeting between the two sides.
Notts County and Carlisle away two weeks apart at the of September will be a tough test of Boro’s ambitions, with both clubs looking for success after varying results last campaign, with the Magpies finishing 5th and Brunton Park outfit ending 10th.
Stevenage start off October with a challenging Tuesday night fixture away to Exeter, who, despite the loss of long serving Paul Tisdale, will surely be up there at the end of the season even if the memory of losing 3-1 in the play off final to Coventry last term is still fresh in their minds.
October, for me, is the most interesting month of fixtures with three of the four relegated teams facing Boro either side of an FA Cup first round match. This is followed by another away Tuesday night match at bogey club Swindon.
Maamria’s squad depth will surely be tested after a tough home tie against Tisdale’s MK Dons – who the bookies have installed as title favourites – three days prior to that.
A hard run of fixtures continues into December, as Lincoln and Mansfield visit the Lamex along side away matches to Northampton and a trip to Colchester on Boxing Day which adds to a tough two months of fixtures for Boro.
Stevenage start of the New Year with a home tie against Newport County on New Year’s Day and four days later the nearest away game of the season against Cambridge.
February brings three tough fixtures in the form of Tranmere and Lincoln away with Northampton at home which begins another tough two months of fixtures. March presents another round of three of the four relegated League One teams along side games with Swindon and Notts County at home.
This appears to be the toughest run of the season for Boro.
The finishing straight of the season throws some more tough games against Carlisle, Exeter and Mansfield, followed by the final game of the season at home to Cheltenham.
Dino showed his side can play great football worthy of winning against any team last campaign, but it remains to be seen how Stevenage will perform against the top teams this season.
Only time will tell – but I’m certainly looking forward it.
Follow loyal Boro fan Owen on Twitter @owenrodbard_292.