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…
Field Mill, Mansfield — 12 September 2009 — Blue Square Premier
The heartache of the playoff defeat to Cambridge United took a bit of time to get over. But the 2008-9 season did teach us two important things. First, PW’s decision to bring Graham Westley back was the right one. Second, we’d created a pretty decent team – even though we lost Steve Morison in summer 2009. The 2009-10 Blue Square Premier season started slowly, however; three draws hardly setting the world alight.
In the five games that followed, we won four and lost one – away to Oxford United. Four matches on from that defeat at the Kassam, we faced arguably our next biggest test. No disrespect to Histon, Rushden or Eastbourne meant – but the Stags were eyeing a place in the promotion battle themselves. And it was only four-and-a-half months since we lost at Field Mill in the final (normal) game of the 2008-9 campaign.
Mansfield Town 2-3 Stevenage Borough: The Game
On a balmy September afternoon, a modest gathering of visiting Boro’ supporters took up position in the stand behind the goal. And two minutes into the match, we wished we had given it a miss; Kyle Perry pouncing after a scramble in the six-yard box to stab home. It should’ve been much worse just five minutes later too. Thankfully, Chris Day was on form to stop us staring down the barrel before the clock had even got to double figures.
Well, that stay of execution bought us five more minutes. And then it was 2-0 to the hosts. Perry again got the goal; driving home after the ball fell kindly onto his left foot. There was a Boro’ defender on the deck. But we don’t recall why and it doesn’t really matter. With not much said and done, we had it all to do. We started to get back into it during the first half – and a twist was coming that would change the path of the game.
Half time was looming and some fans nipped off for their half time pie and pint just ahead of the 45-minute mark. They did not expect to come back 10 minutes later to find that the game had been on hold while the ref got to the bottom of something. And that something was Kyle Perry’s boot to Lee Boylan‘s face. The fourth official saw it. He told the ref. And off went Perry for an early bath. And, then, we got a goal back deep into stoppage time.
Beardo got it, FYI.
The combination of the sending off and a late, late first half goal put a big ol’ spring in our step. Yemi Odubade popped up on the hour mark to level the game up as Boro’ started to really control things. Then, 10 minutes further on, we squeezed harder and the ball came to Charlie Griffin to stab home. Two-nil down, 3-2 up – it’d been quite the rollercoaster for the travelling support. But it meant we were going home happy. So, we’ll take it.
Mansfield Town 2-3 Stevenage Borough: The Timeline
- 1-0 – Perry (2)
- 2-0 – Perry (16)
- OFF – Perry (Mansfield Town, 45)
- 2-1 – Beardsley (45+7)
- 2-2 – Odubade (59)
- 2-3 – Griffin (69)
Mansfield Town 2-3 Stevenage Borough: The Reaction
Stags’ boss David Holdsworth wasn’t happy – that much was clear. And GW knew the first chunk of the game had been dire too: “It was an awful start and we must not forget that in the elation of winning. We have out goalkeeper to thank for us still being in the game after 20 minutes”. For us looking back, though, the trip to Mansfield might’ve been our ‘Eureka’ moment; the result that gave us the belief to go on and win the league that season.
We could be wrong, of course. But how likely is that…?