After steering themselves away from the threat of relegation, Stevenage can breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to another campaign in the Football League. No repeat of last season’s reprieve from the drop needed here. A nine-match unbeaten run in February and March that included victory over automatic promotion chasing Forest Green Rovers has put plenty of distance between Boro and the bottom two. Now, could we have a real say over the direction of League Two title race?
How things look now
Things look completely different at Broadhall Way now to how they did at the start of 2021. Stevenage emerged into spring as one of League Two’s form sides and manager Alex Revell knows how important it is to keep that momentum going. During the run-in at end of the season, his team also have dates with other clubs at the top of the table. Having scalped Forest Green, Boro’s two fixtures in late April could shape the League Two title race. And, by extension, that applies to the automatic promotion picture.
They host current League Two leaders Cheltenham Town in the last scheduled midweek matchday of the campaign. Stevenage then travel to Cambridge United on the following Saturday.
If this season has taught us anything, it’s that making the correct score prediction – be it at Boro’s level or the upper echelons of the Premier League – isn’t always easy. Once a side turns a corner, then past form can go out the window. And then you get shock results like the 3-0 success over Forest Green.
Looking at the League Two title race with envy?
Long-time Stevenage supporters can’t fail to notice, perhaps even with a pang of envy, that most of the current top seven are all clubs who (like their team) have experience of non-league. The only exception to that is Bolton Wanderers, proud founding members of the Football League; a side brought low after reaching the heights of playing in Europe 15 years ago.
These two tonight. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/pDIcp1Csh8
— Stevenage FC 🔴⚪ (@StevenageFC) March 2, 2021
Cheltenham were in the Conference as recently as 2015-16; Cambridge a couple of seasons earlier. Forest Green only came up via the play-offs in 2017. Then there’s Tranmere Rovers, who only returned to the Football League three years ago. Newport County climbed to these heights in 2013 and Morecambe are now 14 years at this level.
Besides their potential role as kingmakers, Boro’ could also make or break the hopes of lively outsiders for the play-offs in Salford City and Crawley Town. The irony is that Salford have gone through three different managers this season. Yet they remain within striking distance of the top seven. And being co-owned by members of Manchester United’s famous Class of ’92 should not be lost on anyone.
Boro’ travel to Greater Manchester for an away day the weekend after Easter. Meanwhile, their penultimate match and final home game of the campaign is against Crawley. Whether either of those clubs, again with a similarly rich non-league heritage, can sneak into the play-offs or not may come down to how they handle Revell’s lads.
This all means there is plenty still to play for, even though Boro are more or less safe now.