2021-2 League Two: And That’s A Wrap…


By Pete H

It is indeed a wrap. A lovely, lumpy chicken wrap. The 2021-2 League Two season is all said and done – except for the playoffs, which we couldn’t give a pure sh… about. And, with it, ends what feels like a three-year battle against relegation to the National League. But for a four-month spell under Revs at the start of 2021, it’s not a period we’ll be writing ballads about . It’s not been as downright awful as our dismal impression of a Football League side in 2019-20. Yet, we’ve found ourselves in troubled times again; safety only confirmed with a handful of games to play. Of course, the good news is that we won’t be a non-league side next year. We’d like to offer our most insincere and disingenuous apologies to Barnet and Woking fans on that front, by the way.

For us, the end of the season brings an inescapable sense of relief; tempered with a shot of exhaustion and a hope that next year will be different. With Steve Evans at the helm, the early signs are that may be possible. We’ll see what comes of the squad refresh over the next three months before making any sweeping statements. Evans, however, is a seasoned gaffer; a manager with a track record of promotions on his CVs. It’s way too early to be talking up playoff pushes this time next year. To start, we’ll happily take a return to the ethos that took Boro’ to the heights of League One. Hard to beat, proud to watch, and committed to the cause. That’s all we want. And not putting up with the type of performance that’d see us lose 3-0 to Oldham Athletic. Or 1-0 at home to them.

How bad was our 2021-2 League Two campaign?

In pure numbers terms, it’s not been a complete shower. A chronic condition of the last three seasons is our inability to score goals. There are signs, however, that’s starting to turn. In 2019-20, we managed a paltry 24 goals from 36 games. In 2020-1, it was 41 from 46. Now, it’s 45 from 46. Slow progress. But a year-by-year breakdown highlights it a bit better; 29 goals from 24 fixtures in 2022 taking us above 1 Goal per Game for the first time since 2018. Our Points Per Game return, however, is less favourable in 2022 – but that takes into account our upturn in results in early 2021 and our late dash for promotion in early 2019.

Steve Evans also came in to clear up after Paul Tisdale. It didn’t click for Tis and, as a result, he left the Lamex with a win rate of 14%; three wins from 21 matches. Only Graham Westley’s ill-fated efforts to keep us afloat in 2019-20 rates worse on win rate (13%). It’s a little crude to make a comparison in many respects. Evans is working with a squad put together by the collective efforts of four gaffers. And that’ll almost certainly be addressed over the summer. Quite how many players stay put remains to be seen, but there’s a real chance you can count that number on one hand. Our recruitment will also dictate what direction we head in when the 2022-3 season gets underway.

Are we becoming a Barnet-type side?

Is there anything that history can teach us about where we might be heading? Well, on one hand, there’s Barnet. For ages, they flapped around at the bottom of the division; eventually tumbling down into the Conference. A bit of yo-yoing followed, but now the Bees are firmly non-league. It doesn’t look like that’ll change any time soon. Indeed, Covid-19 stopped them from ending up in National League South. If we continue to struggle at the wrong end of the table, will that be our fate? If anything that we’ve seen under Steve Evans, it’d be a huge surprise.

Or could we become a Morecambe?

So, how about Morecambe? Again, a side that you’d bet would finally be relegated from League Two season after season. Yet, they survived. And now they kicked on; winning promotion up to League One last summer and staying up this season. With the right head of steam, any team in this division can take it to the next level (unless, it seems, you’re Salford City). A good start to a new campaign under Evans and anything’s possible – right?

The most likely scenario is that we’ll consolidate in the new campaign; giving new faces time to settle in their new abode. No-one is likely to expect a grand assault on the summit next season. What we will want to see more than anything is a bit more of a swagger about Boro’; a side that won’t take any shizzle. Take points off those struggling below us and make life very difficult for those above us. That’s all it needs to be. It’ll be enough to get us a nice, comfortable mid-table berth. And, come the 2023-4 season, we kick on again.

It’s time to move on from where we’ve been over the last three years. That, going by early signs, we will…

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