There is a lot of talk in football at the moment about restructuring the two cup competitions in England. And it remains to be seen if changes are applied. Stevenage, like many other lower league clubs, benefit greatly from revenue which is generated in these competitions. Here is a good time to have a look back at three great cup memories; matches that’ll live long in the memory of our fans. Not only that, it’ll help show why the FA Cup is so special!
Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle – 08 January 2011, FA Cup R3
Victory over top-flight opposition doesn’t happen very often. So, our 3-1 success against Newcastle in the third round of the 2010-1 competition ranks as one of the club’s best.
We were in League Two at the time – 72 places below our opposition. Goals from Michael Bostwick, Peter Winn and a Mike Williamson own goal were enough to secure the famous success. Newcastle were long odds-on favourites with the bookmakers to win the tie. They will be hoping they can end their long wait for silverware in the competition this season too; one of the outsiders in the FA Cup betting heading into the quarter-finals.
Our run in the tournament in 2010-1 ended in the next round; losing 2-1 to Reading at Broadhall Way. But this win is still one of the highlights of the last decade.
Stevenage 0-0 Tottenham – 19 February 2012, FA Cup R5
A season after our win over Newcastle, we were once again causing Premier League opposition a headache in the FA Cup; holding Tottenham 0-0 in the fifth round of the competition. The replay at White Hart Lane helped the club earn some much-needed revenue; no doubt making the chairman very happy at the time too.
Up until the replay in north London, Stevenage had not conceded a goal in that season’s tournament. There were excellent victories over Hartlepool, Stourbridge, Reading and Notts County respectively.
We rode their luck at times in the first game, sure. We defended so well, however, that a defeat would’ve been very harsh on Gary Smith’s side. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the upset in the replay; Boro’ losing 3-1, despite Joel Byrom opening the scoring from the penalty spot.
Stevenage 1-1 Newcastle – 25 January 1998, FA Cup R4
Boro’ have a long history with Newcastle in the FA Cup and one of their most memorable meetings came in 1998. As you well know, we held the Toon to a 1-1 draw at home. After Newcastle legend Alan Shearer found the back of the net after just three minutes, it felt like it was going to be a long 90 minutes for us; then a non-league outfit.
Guiliano Grazioli was the hero in that game; equalising in the 41st minute and scoring the goal that was enough to force a replay at St James’ Park.
A trip to the Premier League ground was a huge occasion for Stevenage fans. They were defeated 2-1 in the replay in front of 36,705 supporters but they lost nothing in defeat. We hope there will be many more magical moments for us in the FA Cup in the near future. But here are enough memories to be getting on for the time being.