Good Friday Games


By Pete H

Good Friday is one of those ‘special’ days in the footballing calendar. Y’know, like Boxing Day. Or the August Bank Holiday. And even St Woking Day. But it’s right to say that some of ’em have been much ‘gooder’ than others for Boro’ down the years. It can have quite a knock-on effect too. After all, it’s the start of the four-day Easter weekend. It’s the first half of a double-header. And it’s at the business end of the season. Lots at stake, then…

Two wins from two can make a hugedifference to the title, promotion, or survival hopes. A couple of defeats, meanwhile, can mean the season is all but over. Strangely enough, the Good Friday fixture isn’t as common as you might think for us. More often than not, we’ve had to make do with Easter Saturday action. Still, we found enough for there to have been some “good” days – and some bad. And it means we can pick out five of the best too:

5 of the Goodest Good Friday Games

2019 – Port Vale 1-4 Stevenage

April 2019 ended up being a good month. After an inexplicable three-goal defeat indoors against Notts County, we hit right back with two wins on the spin. It relit the flames under our promotion hopes – but our Easter weekend would be key with four games left to play.

First up – a Good Friday trip to Port Vale. Not an easy place to go, but they needed to be sure of their League Two status. We’d been charitable to County and we didn’t make that same mistake. Emmanuel Sonupe bagged twice as we romped to a third straight victory.

2008 – Stevenage Borough 3-1 Ebbsfleet United

Boro' played Ebbsfleet United on Good Friday 2008
Photo: Matt Ranson

As Easter rolled round in 2008, Peter the Tailor‘s inspired leadership had seen us go from promotion near-certs to jittery playoff hopefuls. From our five February matches, we came back with just two points. March had turned out better, however, with three wins in four.

Up next was an Easter double-header, starting indoors against Ebbsfleet. It was rare (at that time) to have a Good Friday fixture. But we embraced the novelty; goals from Tyrone Berry, Ashley Westwood and Steve Morison sending us up to second in the table.

If that wasn’t enough, it also marked that season’s St Woking Day.

2005 – Stevenage Borough 1-0 Dagenham & Redbridge

Darryn Stamp in action for Boro' vs Dagenham & Redbridge on Good Friday 2005
Photo: Kevin Coleman

Under GW, we were pushing hard to be part of the playoff picture at the end of the 2004-5 season. Despite sitting in mid-table, the Daggers still had their own hopes and were never shy of upsetting our applecart. Not in this Good Friday encounter, however.

Let’s be honest – it wasn’t a vintage Boro’ showing. But the all-important moment came on the cusp of half-time; Anthony Elding getting the goal that decided the fate of the points on offer. It ended up proving pivotal come the end of a closely-fought promotion race.

2015 – Stevenage 2-2 Tranmere Rovers

In our first season back in League Two, GW had us looking up once more; trying to secure a place in the playoffs. An encouraging start to March saw us win two in two. But our form went south and we didn’t win any of the next four. Could we stop the rot on Good Friday?

It looked like it. Bira Dembele nodding us in front after four minutes. The Rovers returned, however; turning it around to lead at the break; ex-Boro’ lad Jennison Myrie-Williams with one of the goals. GW called on sub Charlie Lee and his late leveller secured a big point.

We went onto win four of the next five and throw our hat into the playoff ring.

2011 – Southend United 1-0 Stevenage

A defeat?! Are we scraping the barrel here? No – but you’ll have to bear with us on this. It stands up as one of our favourite Good Friday games. But it’s for reasons that are nothing to do with the match itself. Well, Peter Winn did decapitate an opponent in mid-air – but…

In some ways, this first defeat in nine League Two matches was the only downer on what was a truly magnificent day. A healthy travelling contingent made the trip to the coast early doors for fun in the sun. It was exactly the sort of day you want to draw a seaside team.

Not freezing January evenings for Morecambe away.