SATURDAY 5 MARCH 2011

Stevenage M1 - 4    Saffron Walden M1 - 3

The visit to (Fortress) Nobel of a young Saffron Walden team was expected to be the easiest fixture for some time despite the absence of 2 of the 3 leading scorers (Gary Brown and Ben Oliver). This expectation was immediately quashed as the visitors started the game at a frenetic pace, using width both sides, depth and overlapping runs to dominate early exchanges. Walden were quickly rewarded with the opening goal of the game and continued the pace, threatening the Stevenage goal from all angles, using the whole pitch and confusing the Stevenage defence with extra men appearing seemingly out of nowhere.

With about 10 minutes on the clock, Walden deservedly doubled their lead, and still the tempo didn’t abate. The Stevenage back 3 were being pulled everywhere, with the sweeper redundant because of the emphasis on a quick passing game. Dingley, in goal, was forced into making several blocks to keep the score down as the inevitable tactical change came. Graham Swinyard dropped from midfield to adopt a man-to-man role with skipper John Mould making his presence known up front as Stevenage gradually got a foothold in the game. Zac Shaw managed to win Stevenage’s first short corner and Blaxill forced the first save from the visitors’ keeper after a 1-2 with Jon Oliver. Stevenage got on the scoresheet from the next short corner as Blaxill’s low strike to the corner was too powerful for the defender on the line who deflected the ball into the roof of the net.

Saffron Walden were able to restore their high tempo and a now flowing game of hockey ensued with the visitors deservedly restoring their 2-goal lead with an excellent passing goal which left the Stevenage defence chasing shadows. 3-1 down and Stevenage knew they had to be more aggressive in the second half and were able to give more possession to key men Danny Blackburn, John Mould and Jon Oliver. It was Blackburn who quickly halved the deficit, controlling Blaxill’s drilled pass and expertly firing past the keeper from close range: game on.

Saffron Walden were still asking most of the questions through the majority of the 2nd half, especially as the rapidly tiring Stevenage defence were twice down to 10 men. First Matt Oliver (forehead), and then Jason Miller (knee) were struck with the ball and went off to receive attention. Without a substitute, Stevenage weathered the storm well for a late onslaught. As the visitors started to play more nervously on their slender lead, the hosts struck an equaliser with Chris Strickland recovering the pieces from a scrappy short corner routine and Mould reacting well to finish clinically at the second attempt with little more than 5 minutes left on the clock.

For the first time in the match, Stevenage looked capable of taking the spoils and the home support were rewarded for their patience. Strong build up play from Jon Oliver found Strickland inside the 25 and his clever through pass fed Zac Shaw on the right of the circle. With plenty still to do, the tireless youngster flicked calmly but powerfully over the advancing keeper to make his first goal for the team a memorable late winner, and there was much rejoicing as Stevenage now look to have cemented a top half finish in their first season back in Div 2S.

Stevenage M2 - 0  St Albans M5 - 5

St Albans played well and won 5-0. Stevenage didn't and lost.

James in understandably down-beat mode.

Berkhamsted - 1   Stevenage M3 - 4

The visitors recovered slowly from the disappointment of an early disallowed strike, but a relatively youthful side put in a powerful second half display with goals from Nick Crocker (2), Jack Neville and a scrambled effort claimed by Roger Barlow.

West Herts M5 - 1  Stevenage M4 - 2

Stevenage 4s finally stopped their free fall down the league with a close 2-1 victory over West Herts. Stevenage had all the early play but went a goal down after 15 minutes. Stevenage should have been level moments later but Skipper Simon Russell fired wide with the goal at his mercy after Ian Brown's original shot had been saved. West Herts found their efforts thwarted by a stubborn Stevenage defence and some fine saves from Tim Dingley. The midfield of Digger Graves, Will Hammond and Andy Davies stepped up a gear and started to impose themselves on the game, and it was good work from the trio that lead to Harp Mann's near post equaliser.
The second half was more open and both teams had chances to take the lead but both keepers were called into action to keep the score line level. Just when the game seemed to be heading for a draw , great use of the self pass from Digger Graves found the West Herts defence asleep as Digger dribbled into the D unchallenged and fired a low shot past the West Herts keeper to secure all 3 points. The win saw the 4s move up 2 places in the league and further away from the relegation zone in division 7SW.

West Herts M6 - 1  Stevenage M5 - 1 (friendly)

It was a more composed and better organised Stevenage side that faced West Herts after the 8-1 thrashing at their hands last week, with guest appearances from Nigel Hall, Tony Farnan, Tom Woolley and Nick Russell. A very evenly matched game that provided several missed opportunities for both sides – at half-time, the score was still goalless, thanks to some assertive defending and several spectacular saves from keeper Daniel Dove.

A series of short corners at the Stevenage end were bravely defended, but West Herts eventually slotted one through. After a brief spell of lost shape, Stevenage started linking the passes smoothly, and were rewarded with a goal from David Spicer. Buoyed with a fresh enthusiasm, Stevenage battled strongly on until the end, but were unable to break the deadlock and finished 1-1. Sadly, the game was a friendly, so no point, but plenty to take away for next weeks difficult game against Bedford Vets.

Luton M4 - 5  Stevenage M6 - 0

As Ian Holloway might have said Stevenage were lucky to get nil in this match. Totally outplayed, only the courage of keeper Damien Nowopiski and sharp eyes of umpire Ian Roberts kept the score countable despite the efforts of players all over the pitch against a young, confident and well coached home side. Having said this, Josh Poulton, Alex Day, Joe Moran and the other Stevenage (younger than Luton's) youngsters continue to make good progress.

Wapping L2 - 1   Stevenage L1 - 3

Stevenage 1st team enjoyed a hard earnt win at Wapping to boost their position in East League Division 2SW. The game started at a frantic pace and Jude Weston, Sacha Parker, Kate Murray and Debbi Church had already linked well in attack before Murray swept the ball under a diving keeper to finish a fine break in only the fourth minute.

It was end-to-end action all first half, with the hosts making some decent breaks of their own. A truly inspired Carly Seaton denied Wapping at the top of the circle with some fine tackles and clearances before some neat passing left Stevenage keeper Lisa Pickard exposed on 15 minutes - but she stood up to the challenge and sprung high to her right to palm a flicked effort wide. At the other end Church and Murray came close to doubling Stevenage's lead, then Wapping came back at Stevenage but challenges from 21st Birthday girl Becky Graves, Rachel Jeffrey and Seaton stopped them getting through.

Seaton's skills in midfield gave Stevenage some respite and she picked out Weston and Murray, whose pace and movement helped win further chances from penalty corners. At the end of the half, Nicky George suffered an awkward fall and the resulting ankle injury put her out of action and unsettled the Stevenage defence. Wapping took advantage and won a flurry of penatly corners but Pickard was quick to get down and block any attempts that got through.

With Wapping boasting an impressive goal difference of 31 ahead of the match, Stevenage knew they would be in for a battle in the second half, and for the first six minutes it was complete backs to the wall. Stevenage defended with commitment as a team and Graves and Pickard, in particular, got their sticks to the ball at crucial moments. Weston and Seaton started to win possession in front of the 23 metre line and their passes found Church and Caroline Ayles, who worked tirelessly as outlets throughout the second half - impressive in the case of Ayles, playing more minutes than she envisaged in her first 1st XI outing since becoming a mother.

Wapping weren't without possession for long, however, and they looked to have equalised from another penalty corner, but no. A low shot hit the inside of Pickard's right post and in ensuring the ball did not cross the line, Graves could only divert it onto the other post, with a Wapping attacker firing wide from only one yard.

Stevenage quickly moved the ball up the field and won a penalty corner of their own when Seaton was harshly upended just inside the 23. She dusted herself down then belted a low first-time drive in off the very inside of the keeper's right-hand upright to put distance between the teams.

It wasn't 2-0 for long though, Wapping finally converting one of their penalty corners with a well struck shot two minutes later and with 15 still to go. This did not deter Stevenage and the skill of Seaton allowed an increase in possession. Wapping had started to double up on Seaton to try to stop her and this meant contact and Stevenage free hits. One such hit was quickly taken and a flick from Church put Ayles through on goal, her jab being marginally touched wide by the oncoming keeper.

Pickard, Graves and a returning George kept Wapping at bay in the tense final minutes before Stevenage added to their penalty corner success rate with just over a minute left on the clock. Seaton and Parker exchanged passes and Parker parried an attempted clearance from her own shot back over the line for 3-1. A final push from Wapping could not provide a consolation goal and an important three points was taken.

With thanks to our writer with a whistle for this uniquely impartial report

St Neots L2 - 2  Stevenage L2 - 1

This defeat meant the home side leapfrogged their opponents at the bottom of the table leaving Stevenage in the relegation zone. In a good, open game the visitors perhaps lacked the defensive fortitude at one end and the offensive penetration at the other to deserve points. Jo Thorpe, with a fierce strike from a penalty corner just before half-time, equalised the St Neots opener but the home side went ahead early in the second half and did not really look in danger of losing their lead.

Enigma L1 - 1  Stevenage L3 - 0

A rather early start and a long trip to MK affected the 3's followed by a pitch which could be likened to playing on grass. The oppo scored early in the 1st half and although we had excellent some chances it was not to be. Ros Fewell was unanimously voted player of the match after a good performance.  
 
Stevenage L4 - 2  Tring L4 - 3

Top position Tring came with a strong squad to ensure their promotion, early goals in the first half from the oppo put the home side 2-0 down at half time, Stevenage re-grouped and attacked in the second half with some excellent defensive play and mid field coverage not giving Tring many openings, Nikki Davies broke through their defence and scored our first goal which was quickly followed by a short corner for us which gave us level 2-2 score line after a tidy 1st strike from Nikki Davies, but it was not to be our week as Tring managed to get a further goal towards the end of the game. An enjoyable and well battled game against a good oppo team.

Rothamsted L2 - 3  Stevenage L5 - 1 (friendly)

Another early meet saw our ladies 5s head over to Dunstable with a brave face for a friendly game against a team from the division above – the final score line being 3-1 loss - yet still a very respectable outcome which included a super goal from Liza Timpson.

SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2011

Blueharts M2 -  1  Stevenage M1  - 4

Stevenage continued their climb up the league table on Saturday with a impressive 4-1 win at local rivals Blueharts.
Stevenage showed their intent from the first hit of the game pushing forward and trying to pen Harts in their own half. Chances were being created by both sides but the visitors looked the more likely to score with Ben Oliver coming closest early on.
Jon Oliver then put Brown through who slotted home with a tidy finish to make it 1-0.
Tim Dingley then made a neat stop to prevent the equaliser before John Mould crossed for Chris Strickland to cheekily finish with a flick through his legs to give Stevenage a 2-0 half time lead.
In the second half Blueharts came out much faster and would have probably had got on the scoresheet but for some good challenges from Wright, Blaxill and Matt Oliver at the back not to mention a clearance off the line from Jason Miller. Blueharts managed to pull a goal back after a good move down their left flank was finished with a good strike. Blackburn and Mould both had chances before Gary Brown scored his second and Stevenage's third after good play from Holt and Blackburn. Stevenage then took full advantage when the home side were reduced to ten men after a Hart's midfielder was sin-binned, as Stevenage piled forward trying to extend their lead.
Oliver hit just wide after a good ball in from Strickland and Blaxill hit a short corner which was well saved by the home keeper. Brown completed his hat-trick after good work from Mould and Tom Wharton, as his hard strike flew in off the keepers helmet to give Stevenage a 4-1 win and moved them up to third in the table. 
 
Bishops Stortford M5 - 3   Stevenage M2 - 5

The second XI men went out on Saturday needing a win to keep in the hunt for a promotion spot, but also well aware that they need other teams to do them favours.  In an inauspicious start to the away game, two players didn't have the right socks and one didn't have their stick.  Unfazed by this, however, the team started brightly against Bishops Stortford 5s. 
Clearly enjoying themselves, the 2s relaxed into a high tempo, with tough challenges and quick passing.  Bailey Dingley opened the scoring, pushing in a shot that was lifted towards the goal by Chris Watson; indeed this was a move that he attempted last week, but failed to convert, much to his own annoyance.  Not satisfied by one goal, Watson wriggled around the BS defence to create enough room to slam home a hammer blow of a shot and make it 2-0.  Rather over excited by their success, Stevenage pushed a little too hard and found that the oppo could also score at will when a penalty corner was not cleared convincingly enough and their centre mid hit a rocket into the back of the net.  With that wake-up call in mind, Dan Farnan managed to squeeze one in after some great build up play.  BS hit back again before the end of the half to make it 3-2.
Clearly pleased by their performance in the first half, Stevenage believed they could get a result from this, but it was the home side who stole an early goal in the second half.  This simply would not do and so, rather than dropping their heads, the visitors hit back hard and fast, with Mitch Snares wrapping his stick around the ball to beat their 'keeper.  Several more chances fell to the Reds, with Watson hitting the post high up and Andy Garder being denied a top corner flick and then an undercut by an agile BS 'keeper.  Geoff Trew worked so hard in centre midfield that his engine blew up.  Callum Mathews allowed him 3 minutes recovery before his engine blew up.  The captain allowed Mathews 3 minutes recovery before he swapped him back on for Trew to get a well earned rest.  Meanwhile, Chris Watson sealed the game for Stevenage with another monster hit.  Still in the race and with a passion burning, the 2s finished the day 5-3 victors. Still in the race thanks to this result .....

Stevenage M3 - 2   Royston M2 - 0

A big win over the second placed side could be an important win for M2 if they can capitalise on it and grab a promotion place. Gary Fung and Nial Anderson scored the goals in the second half of an enjoyable encounter with old rivals, and Pinger missed the sitter of the match. 

Stevenage M4 - 2   St Albans Citizens - 0

The home side dominated the first half without being able to score, Khalid Mehmood missing a penalty flick, but Andy Davies scored with a cool finish after the break and then Ian Brown rounded off a great move by sweeping the ball over the keeper. A feature of the game was a fine performance from young Harry Wheeler.

Bedford Veterans - 10   Stevenage M5 - 0

38 of the 82 goals Bedford Vets have scored this season have come in 4 games against the two Stevenage sides. At last this particular torment is at an end with Bedford promoted as champions.

Stevenage L1 - 1    Letchworth L1 - 4

Ladies 1s started brightly against 2nd in the league Letchworth but were unable to convert an early spell of sustained pressure including numerous short corners into goals.  Letchworth then went on the attack but were unable to break through the determined Stevenage defence.  Some great play in both defence and attack by player of the match Carly Seaton produced more chances for Stevenage and the deadlock was finally broken by a great run into the D by Lucy Harvey whose shot deflected in off a Letchworth player.   Letchworth then scored twice in quick succession despite some great keeping by Lisa Pickard to make it 2-1 at half time.  Although Stevenage created more chances, the second half went Letchworth’s way with them scoring twice on the break even though both Nicky George and Hils Siddall saved shots off the line. 

Stevenage L2 - 7   Shefford & Sandy L3 - 1  

Only two weeks earlier Stevenage had the chance to beat the same opponents in Sandy but just could not find the goals: in the return match at Nobel they ran riot. Four of the goals came from Bex McGrellis, with Jenny Harding, Alfie Gunther and Karen Meadows also scoring. This performance was certainly not too little but is it too late to save Jo Thorpe's side from relegation?

Leighton Buzzard L3 - 3   Stevenage L3 - 2    

After going a goal behind two goals from Caz Ayles gave the visitors a half-time lead which they could not hold on to.

Shefford & Sandy L4 - 4   Stevenage L4 - 1 

Despite an early goal from Maddy Coke, a frustrating game where Stevenage had plenty of shots on goal and relentless mid field effort but the Shandy keeper was on top form and kept us at one goal -  and very a welcome return game from injury for Amanda. 

Stevenage L5 - 0   Milton Keynes - 6

Despite a stalwart performance from Guinness World Record holder Anne Graves in defence the home side were swept aside by visitors who scored 5 in the first half but found the going tougher in the second.

CUP GAME PLAYED SUNDAY 13 MARCH
Stevenage Mixed - 5   Shefford & Sandy Mixed - 4  
Stevenage mixed team beat Shefford & Sandy mixed 5-4 in the National Mixed Plate.  Stevenage went 1-0 up when Kate Murray set up John Mould to fire home. The visitors equalised just before half-time with a nice finish.
Stevenage went 2-1 up when Jude Weston put Mould through again to score his second of the day. It was then 3-1 when Hannah Collard and Becky Graves broke down the left combining well before crossing for Gary Brown to score.
Brown was on the scoresheet again a few moments later after good work from Kate Murray and Danny Blackburn. Shefford then pulled another goal back to make it 4-2 before Mould and Amanda Wood exchanged passes and the ball was slipped behind the Shefford defence for Danny Blackburn to make it 5-2. Shefford straight away went up the other end to make it 5-3. Stevenage almost had a sixth when Weston set up Carly Seaton whose well taken strike went just wide of the left post. Tim Dingley made a couple of good saves before getting carded. Tom Wharton and Blaxill made some crucial challenges as did Tim Wright and Becky Graves was having a stormer of a game at the back.
Shefford did make it 5-4 late on in what was a very exciting final few moments for the spectators on the sideline. 

SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2011

Stevenage M1 - 2  Bishops Stortford M2 - 2

Stevenage were hoping to confirm their final positon of third place in Div 2 on Saturday but were held to a 2-2 draw by relegation threatened Bishops Stortford.
The game started slowly with both sides cautious and very hesitant in their ball play. Brown had the best chance early on for Stevenage after good play from Ben Oliver and John Mould but the away keeper was well up to the challenge. Stortford also had their chances but were unable to get through the home defence. Storford took a surprise lead when they countered swiftly and placed the ball perfectly past the advancing Dingley.
Stevenage looked for a quick equaliser when Matt Oliver broke forward and crossed for Zac Shaw to hit just wide. Late in  the first half Brown was booked twice before being sin-binned and Blaxill got his marching orders for verbal as well as three bookings for the away side.
In  the second half Stevenage pushed forward looking more dangerous, Mould made some impressive runs and gave several opportunities to the likes of Strickland and Swinyard however the away keeper was in fine form. Tim Wright then  made some crucial challenges as Stortford looked to extend their lead.
Stevenage needed to make some changes if they wanted to rescue the game so Manager Kevin Oliver decided to move Danny Blackburn up front and it proved a sound move as within a minute Oliver and Strickland combined to set Blackburn up to score the equaliser with a perfect strike past the Stortford keeper. Then Stortford had two players sin binned after terrible challenges on Blackburn and Oliver.
Stevenage then took the lead when Ben oliver crossed for Danny Blackburn to deflect home with precision and get his second of the afternoon.
Late on Stortford had another player sin-binned and Swinyard was cautioned for Stevenage before Stortford equalised after a error by Dingley in the Stevenage goal.
The final whistle went at 2-2 and now prevents Stevenage from being promoted.

Royston M2 - 0  Stevenage M2 - 6

Stevenage arrived for the penultimate game in high spirits against second-in-the-league Royston, knowing it was a must win game to stand the chance of the "p" word.  At the start it looked like it was going to be a close contest.  Royston had a lot of pressure and almost made it count on a couple of occassions, but for last ditch tackles from Tom Shearn and fantastic saves from Dave Church.  Having stood against this pressure for a while, the visitors decided it was time to make things happen.  Michiel van Rooijen, always a rock in defence this season, helped push the whole team forward, whilst Dan "Whippet" Farnan, Chris Watson and Mitch Snares pulled the team from the front.  Dan made way for Bailey Dingley, only for Bailey to get on the end of a move that started with Michiel running from defence and ended when his shot came off the pads of the 'keeper into his path.  Ollie Holt was clearly loving the role given to him at inside right as he created chances again and again, as he has done throughout the season.  The second goal came when Stevenage needed it most; a quick counter-attack saw Ollie creating a fantastic move that went to Dan on the run (back on for Mitch), who slipped it past the advancing goalie to Chris diving in at the back post to make sure it got home.  2-0 at the half time and plenty to talk about.
Stevenage continued to hit Royston on the break, not allowing the defence of the home side any let up from the pace and Andy Gardner terrorising as he continues to improve his form.  Geoff Trew continued from last week, putting in a super-human effort to be the engine in midfield.  Callum Mathews attacked and defended down the right hand side, showing that he has learned from this season of hockey, ensuring the play didn't get focussed in the centre of the pitch.  Stevenage countered again and again, scoring again and again.  Another to Dingley, another to Watson, one to Farnan and one to Gardner made Stevenage up to six; even Mathews tried to get on the score sheet, being literally inches from poking the ball into the back post after he was allowed to step up the pitch when Tom Wharton took his position at right wingback. 
Despite all these superb players being on the pitch, the man of the match was awarded to Terry "The Terrier" Kingston for his bite in defence and denying the opposition any quarter in front of goal.  The 2s rely now on favourable results by West Herts on Royston for their last couple of games and a win at Luton next week to see them safely promoted in 2nd place.  It's an exciting finish to the season!

Stevenage M3 - 3   West Herts M3 - 2

A very even first half saw both teams creating chance, Stevenage eventually took the lead from a move starting with good link up play between Nick Russell and Digger Graves the ball was fed to Niall Anderson who crossed to Chris Hall for a fine finish..

The second half followed the same pattern as the first, but it was Stevenage who  increased their lead with a excellent solo effort from Digger.  West Herts efforts were eventually rewarded with a goal from a well stuck short corner,  the scores should really have been level shortly afterward but for an outstanding save from Tim Dingley.

The home side restored  their lead with a move that started from the back. Dan Hanslow intercepted the ball moved it to Digger who with an excellent cross field pass found Chris Hall unmarked he gave it to Niall who slipped it to Steve Scholes who despatched it past the West Herts keeper.  As the clock ran down West Herts pulled another back to a complete an entertaining game

Southgate Adelaide M2 - 8   Stevenage M4 - 2

The 4s started the game well and held Adelaide for the first 20 minutes. And even had chances to take the lead only for Khalid Mehmood, Ian Brown and Simon Russell to see their shots saved by the Southgate keeper. But a fluke goal settled the home side and in a five minute period say them score 3 more times. Stevenage fought hard and pulled back a goal through Andy Davies. A further Adelaide goal made it 5-1 at half time. With the game all but over at half time stevenage battled bravely and pulled a goal back through Ian Brown. But 3 more Adelaide goals in the second half killed off the game. Despite the score line the 4s played very well but couldn't stop Adelaide for winning their 13th straight game.

Stevenage M5 - 0   Berkhamsted M4 - 2

Without skipper Dave Wells the home side struggled to find the goals needed to end their poor run.

Potters Bar M3 - 15   Stevenage M6 - 0

Incredibly the whole team played with heart throughout and stand-in goalkeeper Paul Mould deserves great credit.

Stevenage L1 - 4   Welwyn Garden City L1 - 1

Great win for Stevenage this weekend, but with a slow start from Stevenage it looked like we were going to struggle and Welwyn opened the score line. Stevenage then picked their heads up and began to play some great hockey, the switching between Sacha Parker and Carly Seaton broke the Welwyn defence and Lucy Harvey picked the ball up in front of the keeper to even the score.

With some wise words from coach Paul Graves at half time Stevenage came out fighting and Carly Seaton scored a great conversion from a short corner the ball roofing the top of the net. The play was all Stevenage and the pressure was kept on, Welwyn had far and few chances. With quite a few short corners Carly Seaton again converted from a brilliant strike at the top of the D.

Caroline Ayles held the ball up and played some smooth balls through for Lucy Harvey and Jude Weston to creat even more chances, the Welwyn keeper was defiantly keeping them in the game. One more attack from Stevenage and Lucy Harvey scored again. 

Stevenage L3 – 3   Enigma – 0

The home side finished their league season with a fine win and in the top half of the table. The goals came from Holly O’Connor, Nicki Reynolds and Jenny Harding.

LADIES 7-a-side TOURNAMENT

Stevenage hosted their annual event played on grass, this year in fine weather on Sunday, with Royston the eventual winners.

SATURDAY 26 MARCH 2011

Plashet M1 - 3  Stevenage M1 - 2

A subdued and disappointing end to a good season back in Division 2 for Stevenage against a Plashet side only able to field 10 players.

The visitors started with plenty of possession and space to work in but a weak pass deep in opposition territory gave Plashet the opportunity to break and their mid-field pair made the most of the chance clinically.
After only 15 minutes, with Stevenage having had several chances to at least equalise, the home side's lead was doubled as they scored from their first short corner and only their second attack.
The remainder of the first half saw Ben Oliver and Gary Brown both shoot over from long range and both have shots smothered by the keeper from close range before Ben Oliver finally registered on the scoresheet with a reverse stick effort that went through the keeper.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Stevenage dominant and Plashet dangerous on the counter attack. Several chances went begging and short corners were completely wasted before Gary Brown equalised with 10 minutes left to wrap up a victory that would have secured 3rd place in the league after looking like relegation candidates at the turn of the year.
But the scores weren't level for long as the home side regained the lead on the break as the unfortunate Tim Wright deflected a weak shot past keeper Tim Dingley. There was still time for Stevenage to waste more chances to score before the final whistle and finish to the season in 5th place.

Stevenage M2 - 3   Luton M2 - 4

In a heart wrenching finale to the season, Stevenage 2s saw a two goal lead eroded by half time.  Ollie Holt opened the Reds' account with a fine finish from a short corner into the bottom corner.  Chris Watson got the second, smashing the ball from the top of the D in open play to utterly devastate the keeper right by his left foot.  The game was looking good and the players were on fire.  But as so often happens, the tides of fate turned and some strong play from Luton saw two goals pulled back.
After half time the home side got a third, when deserving man of the match Callum Mathews intercepted a bad ball from the half way line, passed it out to Olly Holt, received it back and slotted it to Andy Gardner, who made no mistake in putting it away.  Game back on.  Or was it?  Calamity struck.  Luton were allowed to get back into it again and then went ahead with some poor mistakes made by Stevenage.  The boys were dejected after the game, knowing that, although mathematically possible, the second spot had slipped from their grasp.

Our photo shows a heart-broken M2 skipper leaving the scene of the capitulation. We show no pity.

Letchworth M3 - 0  Stevenage M3 - 2

The 3’s winning streak continued against a strong well organised robust Letchworth side.

Stevenage found themselves under pressure for long periods of the first half, excellent performances from the back 3 of Dan Hanslow, Tony Farnan and Seb Rose limited Letchworth to very few shots on goal, and as the half went on Stevenage started to gain  a foot hold in the game and finished the half creating a few chances of our own.

The second half started with Stevenage playing to their strengths with Nick Crocker and Zeddy Wilcox dominating the midfield, Stevenage should really have taken the lead half way through the half when Nick Crocker fired the ball across the D to the unmarked skipper who should have done better .... The breakthrough came soon after when Stevenage broke down the left,  Harry Wheeler beat two men slipped the ball to Chris Hall who avoided the Letchworth defender to finish smartly.

Stevenage found themselves 2 -0 up almost straight away after more pressure in the Letchworth D, the ball broke to Jack Nevill who cracked the ball off the post with the spin taking it over the line. As the game drew to a close Letchworth had the only real clean strike on our goal that was kept out by Zammo.

The win gives the 3’s a real chance of finishing 2nd for the 3rd time in 3 seasons.

Stevenage M4 - 1  Royston M3 - 2

The 4s were unlucky not to get something out of this game. stevenage started brightly and had all the early pressure but went behind after 10 minutes. Stevenage continued to press and were rewarded when Harp Mann fired home from close range. Royston enjoyed their best period of the match but were denied by Mike Hamid in the Stevenage goal.

The second half started with the 4s pushing for the lead but were denied by the Royston keeper who thwarted Ian Brown and Kahlid Mehmood and then Harp Mann with superb point blank save. Royston re took the lead after a goal mouth scramble wasn't cleared by Stevenage. Despite Khalid Mehmood and Tom Woolley controlling the midfield Stevenage couldn't find the an equaliser. Ian Brown had the final chance for Stevenage but his well struck shot went inches wide with the keeper stranded.

Hertford M4 - 0  Stevenage M5 - 1

After a statistically disastrous season for the 5s, the team finally clenched a well deserved win on Saturday. As with many of this year’s league games, the 11 man squad came out strongly and dominated the first half, Martin Elliott having saved his ‘one goal per season’ for the final game, cheekily slotting the ball over the line after numerous co-ordinated attacks. The second half saw no let up for the agitated Hertford side, with numerous brave Stevenage campaigns troubling the home defence but not quite coming to fruition. Once again, the visiting side are left feeling that there should have been further goals, but at least a strong performance from the Stevenage defence prevented any of the usual second half disasters, finishing the season on a sweet note.

Rickmansworth M4 - 7  Stevenage M6 - 2 (Non league)

We were up against a strong Rickmansworth side who had some good young players up front and were excellent in the D. Our new keeper Chris Day made plenty of excellent saves keeping the goal tally against us to 3 in the first half and 4 in the second, we in turn had 2 great goals scored in the second half by Joe Moran and Kevin Wharton. Once again an all round good effort from all who played.

Havering L1 - 7  Stevenage L1 - 2

First half - Havering put on the pressure straight from the off, Lisa Pickard made some super saves and the defence held strong not many chances for Stevenage though. Havering scored right at the end of the first half with a lapse in defence.

Second half - Stevenage held their heads up but Havering were just to strong and scored 4 goals in about 10 minutes. Stevenage were now attacking with some strong running from Carly Seaton and with a short corner Carly scored with a great strike from the top of the D set up by Jude Weston. Stevenage kept the good play up Becky Graves making some strong tackles to hold Havering out Carly Seaton then converted a second short corner and things were looking a little more positive. Havering then awarded a penalty flick with it unfortunately hitting Hilary Siddal foot on the line which havering scored. They scored one more time a hard defeat for Stevenage.

Stevenage L2  - 3  St Neots L2  - 3

A match which Stevenage dominated but somehow the lead they had kept slipping away a good team performance with Heather Hemmings getting two goals and Alfie Gunther getting one.

Stevenage L4  - 1  Shefford & Sandy L4  - 4

The 4s repeated the same score from two weeks ago against the same oppo, not able to break through their very strong mid field.
At half time having the upper hand with Stevenage up 1-0 on the visitors after a good clearance from Emma Houlihan gave Nikki Davies the chance to score on the break, the second half saw the oppo come back at us, we held them off well but then 3 goals being scored in the last 15 minutes, it was not meant to be.

Stevenage L4  - 1  Saffron Walden L4  - 5 (played Sunday)

With most of the ladies not recovered from yesterdays game and playing the promoted, 1st place, youthful and undefeated all season Saffers (who didn't play yesterday), it was always going to be a hard game, but the sun came out, inbound flights were not delayed, no one forgot about the clocks going forward, supporters turned up to cheer us on - we gave them a pretty good run for their money, with an impressive ball in from Genna to Nikki Davies a great goal went in against their keeper (one of only 8 goals they have conceded all season).  With equal amounts of possession for both teams a very respectable score considering of 5-1 to our visitors, an excellent team effort for the last game for us this season, well done ladies.

Milton Keynes L1  - 2  Stevenage L5  - 0

Battling to keep their league goals against tally below 100 for the season the visitors were doing well to keep the game goal-less at half-time, but conceded their 99th goal in the second half and another just before the end.
 


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