5 Of The Best: Boro’ Games In 2022

By Pete H

You know us – we don’t half love a good end of year listicle. In fact, we’re so cynical that sometimes we wonder if some celebrities may try to time their passing in order to make the list of those what we lost this year. After all: last name written down, first read out. But we don’t mind parking our suspicion in favour of lighter things; things like the ‘five best dashcam near misses in Northampton of 2022’ or the ‘worst 10 things Elon Musk has done since taking over Twitter‘. Our contribution to this glorious celebration of this year in lists? Well, it’s our tried and tested, five best Boro’ games of the last 12 months.

Yep. Even the months where Paul Tisdale was our manager.

1. Stevenage 5-0 Barrow, 2 December

We don’t have to go too far back for this one. It was only a few weeks ago. The bottom line is that we’d made a solid start to proceedings; a top-of-the-table run that had defied many pre-season predictions. But the way in which we were picking up points had – in some quarters – not seemed convincing enough. Y’know, winning by the odd goal here and there. So, down came Barrow for a Friday night encounter. It put us (second) up against our guests in fourth. And you’d never have known the gap in the table was so small based on the outcome.

Once Jake Reeves had fired us ahead midway through the first half, Boro’ never looked back. Stepping it up after the interval, we ran in five goals. It was a bit of a statement too; one we must follow through on in 2023. For now, however, it’s one of 2022’s best Boro’ games for sure.

2. Stevenage 4-2 Salford City, 7 May

By the time the Ammies came down south for the last day of the 2021-2 campaign, we were comfortably assured of League Two action next season. The one small issue with this game was that our record against them was dire. We’d met five times before this – and we’d lost them all; normally to nil. That said, something was in the water with Steve Evans now at the helm. And here we had a result that went against the expectations. They had again chased the playoffs (and missed out), while we were fighting against relegation (and missing it).

Jamie Reid scored twice, while Luke Norris and Elliott List also had their say. It ensured Boro’ ended their Salford hoodoo, while also letting a tricky season finish with a flourish. Of course, normal service was resumed in the early weeks of the 2022-3 season, but ho hum…

3. Kings Lynn Town 0-3 Stevenage, 26 November

This may count as a debatable inclusion for some of you. First, feel free to tell us what you’d swap in. Admittedly, we did consider some of the Papa John’s Trophy wins. But then we decided against them because, y’know, it’s the Papa John’s Trophy. Here, however, was an FA Cup Round Two trip that could’ve been very messy. We still remember one of the last times we were on telly against lower-league opposition – that did not end well. And we all know the ITV cameras were there to capture a cupset that’d send the Linnets into the Round Three draw.

We did well to negotiate the first half. A clear penalty wasn’t awarded our way, but them the breaks. Whatever was said at half time worked the oracle well, however. Out came Boro’ to blow away the Linnets in a 10-minute spell at the start of the second half. A professional job.

4. Stevenage 2-1 Stockport County, 6 August

To win at Tranmere Rovers on the first day of term is impressive enough. But the challenges keep on coming in League Two. And, for us, one of the best Boro’ games of 2022 came in our first home game of the current campaign. Stockport County came into this season with a lot of people fancying them for promotion. Sure – why not. It meant, therefore, that we had our work cut out to ensure our good start didn’t hit a bum note so soon. And yet, until late in this one, it seemed as if that might be the case.

It’s not that we were unduly poor. The Hatters got their noses in front and were content to play it out. Boro’ showed a longevity and desire to plug away that was intense, however. Goals from Luke Norris and Jamie Reid turned it around at the death. The weather was ace too.

5. Stevenage 3-0 Harrogate Town, 24 January

Believe it or not, life under Tisdale wasn’t entirely bleak. After losing at FGR on New Year’s Day, we were actually unbeaten in four League Two games when Harrogate Town paid a visit. Our record against them at the Lamex may be strong – but the North Yorkshire side aren’t a whipping boy by any stretch. Since they joined the Football League, they’ve made themselves at home – and made themselves a nuisance as far as many teams are concerned. On this January afternoon, however, there was no mistake by Boro’.

Jake Reeves set us on our way early on, before Luke Norris doubled our advantage. A late Jake Taylor goal then capped what was a pretty convincing victory. We were now five unbeaten… but we wouldn’t win again until early April and after a change in management.

… but not this one!

Yeah, the sooner we can wipe our 4-0 home defeat to Bristol Rovers from our collective memories the better. It was one part of what was a truly miserable run that saw us fail to win 11 games between Harrogate above and Colchester on 9 April. Including this dismal defeat, Boro’ also failed to score in seven during that run. So, it’s not hard to see why Paul Tisdale got the boot and Phil Wallace turned to Steve Evans.

Based on current form and the turnaround since early April, it feels like the chairman pulled off a masterstroke. Of course, the end of 2022 shouldn’t mean the end to how things currently are at the Lamex. The onus is very much on ensuring we keep the results coming in during 2023. Doing so will be great for us as fans – not so great for us as a listicle editor compiling next year’s list of best Boro’ games. Mind you, it would be a small price to pay if 2023 is the year in which this club achieved something amazing. Not least because we can finally lay all the ghosts of previous relegation-haunted seasons to rest. Plus it’d help us avoid Wrexham next season too…

Leave a comment