Good Game: The series looking at the amazing, utterly memorable, unbelievably dramatic and downright ludicrous games that involved Stevenage
Borough over the years. But we’ll insist that we accept no liability for memories warped by time, age or alcohol consumption at the time. We’ll never refer to any games involving Macclesfield either, particularly any at Broadhall Way. Those sort of things never happened, dontcha know…
The New Lawn, Nailsworth — 09 April 2007 — Conference National
After beating Grays Athletic to book our second-ever appearance in the FA Trophy Final, we stuttered in the league; our playoff hopes falling apart. For the good side that we had, that was hard to take. Just one win in six games – away at York – saw Stimmo’s men fall away from the top five; our minds arguably on the idea of becoming one of the first teams to turn out at the New Wembley. Not that it’s so new these days. It’s a teenager now.
On a pretty unremarkable Easter Monday, we took the Pet Shop Boys‘ advice and went west to Forest Green Rovers; looking to halt a poor run of league form. Letting in 11 goals in six games ain’t good for the soul, dontcha know? For our hosts, meanwhile, they were now looking comfortable in their fight to stay outside of the relegation dogfight. But a win would do much for their sense of security and inner peace.
In hindsight, we maybe should’ve seen this coming after all; this match coming two days after we’d thrashed out a 3-3 draw indoors against Morecambe.
Forest Green Rovers 4-4 Stevenage Borough: The Game
If Boro’ hoped for an upturn in fortunes, the first 21 minutes led to a swift rethink. In a mad five-minute spell starting on 16 minutes, we were three down and almost out of ideas. We offered Simon Clist the freedom of our six-yard area to put them ahead; Paul Stonehouse and Mark Beesley then chipping in to make the Rovers lead a handsome one with plenty of time to spare. But it was time that was on our side too.
Craig Dobson‘s strike on 33 minutes offered a glimmer of hope. But you tend to think that comebacks of such magnitude are rare; even more so when it’s your own team. For us, it was good to know the footballing gods had our back. The pendulum came further back to our side just after the interval when Darren Jones saw red. It was a second booking and a little crazy in the circumstances. Not that we cared.
Mitchell Cole was first to take advantage; cutting the lead back down to a single goal after 15 more minutes passed. Suddenly, it seemed on. You can only imagine what was rattling through John Nutter‘s mind when we got a 75th minute penalty. Cool as you like, however, the left back did what he did so often from the spot. All square, all to play for – and all the limbs on 81 minutes as Steve Morison capped the turnaround by putting us ahead.
Stimmo was bouncing into the away fans. But of course there would be one final twist still to come. And it came deep into stoppage time; Lee Dodgson rescuing a point with a great curling effort from the edge of the box. It evaded Alan Julian‘s despairing dive and nestled in the top corner. Not long after, the full time whistle came – as did that much-needed time to take stock at what had gone on. We’d say you couldn’t script it. But you could.
Forest Green Rovers 4-4 Stevenage Borough: The Timeline
- 1-0 – Clist (16)
- 2-0 – Stonehouse (19)
- 3-0 – Beesley (21)
- 3-1 – Dobson (33)
- OFF – Jones (Forest Green Rovers, 49)
- 3-2 – Cole (59)
- 3-3 – Nutter (78 pen)
- 3-4 – Morison (81)
- 4-4 – Dodgson 90+3