Match - Stevenage 4 - 2 MK Dons
Competition - N Power League 1
Admission - £19 East Terrace
Scarf - £9
Att - 3,345
Food - Hot Dog, Chips 6/10
Ground No - Revisit
Ground Rating - 7/10
Originally tonight we were supposed to be going to see the Southern league Division 1 Central clash between Woodford Utd and Uxbridge but due to some light rain the game was called off because of a waterlogged pitch. What ever happened to non-league football being played on what are basically muddy fields?
So at 4pm I was online working out what other games were on that were within reasonable travelling distance. The game that was decided upon was the top of the table match between local ish rivals Stevenage FC and MK Dons.
Joining myself and my Dad this evening was my former work and fellow cricket team mate Will "Thief" Harmer who has decided that he is to join us on more hops in the future since his first at Upton Park at the end of last season. The nickname is due to Wills conviction for stealing the pen that signed the Zulu treaty from his place of work at the Cambridge University Library a fair few years ago now. the pen was returned safely after having been grassed up by an ex girlfriend.
I had been to Stevenage a number of times before so unfortunately I wasn't going to be adding another ground to my list. My previous visits though were both as an Assistant Referee back when Stevenage were in the Conference Premier, when they were also known as Stevenage Borough a name they dropped on promotion to League 2 a couple of seasons back. After having been promoted again to League 1 they have started very well and before this game found themselves fighting for a play-off place along with their opponents who were only 1 place above them in the table.
On getting to Stevenage the ground is easily found being well signposted off of the A1(M) and parking is easy with a large free car park on the opposite side of the road to the back of the North Stand. Although you take your life in your own hands when crossing the 2 lane road to get to the ground.
Stevenage's Lamex Stadium formally Broadhall Way before sponsorship is a neat and tidy small ground with a capacity of just over 7000. The main stand is the West Stand and is a fully seated single tiered stand covering the full length of one touchline. This stand is also home to the clubs offices,changing rooms and the club shop where me and Will purchased scarves for the reasonable price of £9.
Opposite is the large East Terrace again spanning the whole length of the touchline this is where we were watching this evenings game from and is also home to what seemed to be the louder of Stevenage's support including the lads with the drums who would lead the chanting throughout the 90 mins.
The far end is the fully seated South stand that houses up to 1400 away fans and an electronic scoreboard on the roof this stand was built in 2001 and is the newest stand at the Lamex stadium the other end is a small terrace stand for home fans.
The game itself started very brightly and Stevenage could have taken the lead inside the first 30 seconds but the cross from the right hand side was just out of comfortable reach for the attacker. Then with MK Dons first attack of the match they took the lead when Chris Day in the Stevenage goal parried out a cross from the right straight in to the path of former Stevenage loan player Jay O'shea to blast the ball in from 10 yards.
The goal silenced the Stevenage crowd who were creating a very good atmosphere and for the next 20 minutes the game went rather flat until from nowhere Stevenage No.24 Michael Bostwick hammered the ball in the bottom left hand corner of the dons goal from at least 30 yards a stunning goal that wouldn't have looked out of place at the top level.
The second half started slowly with nobody being able to really keep hold of the ball and the atmosphere had died down again until Stevenage right back Lawrie Wilson was upended by MK Dons Mathias Doumbe who having already been cautioned was shown his 2nd yellow and given his marching orders. It really was a ridiculous tackle to make when already on a yellow and the fact the player was going nowhere.
Not only were the Dons now down to 10 men but the resulting free kick led to Stevenages 2nd goal and not long after that went 3-1 up and that virtually ended the game as a contest. For the rest of the match the Stevenage fans were excellent singing non stop with the drums complementing the fans voices with constant noise. The best coming when they started chanting "Who needs a manager". The support produced by the Stevenage fans is a credit to the club and led to my surprise when the attendance was announced at just under 3500, as it seemed that there was at least 4500-5000 inside the stadium.
There was still time for 2 more goals in the last 10 minutes where MK Dons pulled one back but Stevenage struck straight back to reopen the 2 goal cushion when my Man of the Match Darius Charles caused a defender to put the ball into his own net.
So the match finished 4-2 to a very good looking Stevenage team although were very much helped by the sending off. Another 6 goals as well for us this season keeping our average goals per game up above 5.