Here we go again then folks, entering the second half of the season with Stevenage on an unbeaten run that surpasses that of Huddersfield Town. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one – but it wasn’t really 40 odd games, was it? (Play-off finals don’t count!)
The current run spans nine matches across League and FA Cup, with seven clean sheets kept and two goals conceded – one in each of the games against Bury and Sheffield United – both of which Stevenage won. They’re making quite a habit of this.
On top of the unbeaten run, the club are also continuing a run of not losing games they score first in, with that little achievement now moving past the 90 game mark, extending back to when the club were in the Conference.
In all seriousness though, results this year have way exceeded all expectations and it’s going to be a tough ask to maintain this until the end of the season. But, as we have seen for the past two years, Stevenage are more than capable of continuing to prove the critics wrong and achieve more than even us fans think is possible.
Since my last article, Stevenage have won five and drawn three; arguably the most impressive result being the defeat of Sheffield United, with Scott Laird’s late penalty winning the game. But even that was on the back of impressive victories in two tricky away matches at Bury and Brentford.
Much to the fans disdain, Stevenage don’t appear to have made many friends in football terms – but then who likes to be beaten by a pub team? However, the club’s fans have been picking up plaudits wherever they go, so I suppose I’ll take that. For now.
The side’s achievements so far seem to be going largely unnoticed, with Player and Manager of the Month nominations overlooking anybody with a Stevenage affiliation. But you just need to look at Stevenage’s league position compared with those of fellow promoted sides Wycombe Wanderers and Chesterfield.
The other teams promoted last season, Bury aside of course, have struggled hugely with the transition to this league but, even after derogatory words about Stevenage from both camps, I doubt there’s a single person related to either club that wouldn’t change places with Stevenage at the moment.
With only three home games before February, the next few weeks are going to be a difficult time for Graham Westley and the team. However, past experience shows that Stevenage should not be discounted from here on in and with the run they are currently enjoying, I certainly wouldn’t bet against the club dragging themselves into the play-off mix.
There are some tough games to come, notably Charlton Athletic and both Sheffield clubs away – all of whom will want to seek revenge for defeats at the Lamex Stadium earlier in the campaign. Who knows, this may all peter out to a mid-table finish, but even that will be six or seven places higher than most fans would have been happy with.
To wrap things up, 2011 has been a fantastic year to be a Stevenage fan and we’re just soaking it all up in case the club do a Dagenham next year! All that remains is for me to wish you – and your club – a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.
Written by Mark Hollis, We Are Going Up’s Stevenage blogger
Mark tweets at @HollisMark