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 blame 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…
Lamex Stadium, Stevenage — 14 November 2009 — Blue Square Premier
With the winter closing in, Boro’ had a fair wedge on their plate – and our league form had stuttered a bit with two straight draws. First there was a dull goalless draw indoors against Wrexham, then came a disappointing point at Kettering. The FA Cup was getting in on the action too; battling to a hard-fought 2-1 win in the Fourth Qualifying Round at Chelmsford City, before the First Round took us to Port Vale.
A draw at Vale Park meant a replay and another fixture onto our list. First, however, came a home league game against the Heed. And, if our distant and now-faded memory is right, the weather had made the Lamex pitch a bit sticky and a bit bobbly. So, conditions weren’t tip-top for fluid football. It was also a bit windy, which either really helps things – or makes it so much harder. We guess it rests on which way you’re kicking and which way it’s blowing.
Stevenage Borough 5-3 Gateshead: The Game
Boro’ hadn’t exactly been bursting with goals in the few weeks leading up to this clash; the two at Chelmsford being the most we’d managed for some time; the 4-0 win over Hayes & Yeading and 3-1 home victory over Salisbury being exceptions to that rule. With a goalless first half looming against the Heed, Charlie Griffin started a chain of events on 38 minutes that sparked life back into our Goals For column.
Granted, he started that chain by putting into his own net to give the visitors the lead. Just look at it as the catalyst, however. It worked, after all. Now one down with seven-and-the-added-on minutes still to play in the first half, we stormed back with three quick-fire goals. First, Griffin made amends straight off the bat by lobbing – well, well, well – Paul Farman.
In the second half, it all went quiet again; Boro’ happy with their two-goal advantage. But a familiar foe popped up to breathe new life into the contest; Daryl Clare reducing the deficit on 69 minutes. The Heed’s hopes were short-lived. Griffin completed his hattrick by drilling home a free-kick in off the post three minutes later; making it 4-2 but not game over.
Chris Day spilled a free-kick with nine minutes left and let Clare pounce for his second goal. So, a grandstand finish? A nervy countdown to the final whistle? Well, it’s bit of both to be fair. And it wasn’t until stoppage time again when Boro’ confirmed the win; Bozzie doing as the man Bozzie always did – smashing it home from distance. Now we could relax.
A great hattrick from Charlie Griffin, then – but not so great defending from Boro’. Not the best game you’ll ever see either, to be fair. Mind you, we did see eight goals – so we reckon that counts as a good game, don’t you? Letters of complaint to the usual place if not.
Stevenage Borough 5-3 Gateshead: The Timeline
- 0-1 – Griffin og (38)
- 1-1 – Griffin (40)
- 2-1 – Odubade (45+1)
- 3-1 – Griffin (45+3)
- 3-2 – Clare (69)
- 4-2 – Griffin (73)
- 4-3 – Clare (81)
- 5-3 – Bostwick (90+2)
Stevenage Borough 5-3 Gateshead: The Reaction
Usually, a hattrick is a sure-fire way to get the match ball and man of the match award. Not if you’re Graham Westley, however: “Charlie Griffin got his three goals,” he told The Comet. “But he wasn’t the star man. Jon Ashton at the back or Bostwick in the middle; they made big contributions throughout the 90 minutes.
“It was good to see them hit the back of the net five times. That was long overdue and I’m pleased in that regard, but we did concede three goals and they came from set plays so I’m disappointed with that. [Gateshead] were smart. They had the wind behind them in the first half and they stopped us from playing from the back and our goalkeeper needed to kick everything up front.
“They didn’t allow us any room and that was a problem for us, it was difficult.”
Meanwhile, Heed boss Ian Bogie wasn’t too disheartened when talking to The Northern Echo: “We took the game to Stevenage and were unlucky not to claim at least a point. The three goals just before half-time proved to be the difference. While I was disappointed to concede five goals there was plenty of positives to take from the performance.”