MATT FIN­ISH

Steve­nage striker Matt God­den hits the goal trail

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Luke Baker

IN Matt God­den’s words, Steve­nage got a mon­key off their back by end­ing a four­month win­less home streak last week­end. The fact it was his first Foot­ball League hat­trick that in­spired them to vic­tory was sim­ply a bonus.

Be­fore last Satur­day, the last time Steve­nage had col­lected all three points at the Lamex Sta­dium in League Two was on Septem­ber 10 against Craw­ley Town.

How­ever, God­den’s tre­ble con­demned bot­tom side New­port County to a 3-1 de­feat and con­signed that un­wanted run to the his­tory books.

The fact Boro had not plum­meted too far down the ta­ble in that spell – they were just six points out­side the play-offs be­fore yesterday’s trip to Ply­mouth Argyle – is tes­ta­ment to their re­mark­able away form.

A run of seven con­sec­u­tive league vic­to­ries on the road at the back end of 2016 kept them afloat, but God­den in­sists the play­ers never thought that was good enough.

Im­por­tant

“We’ve been get­ting away with it be­cause our away form was so good, the best in Eng­land,” ex­plained the 25-year-old striker. “But you want to put on a show for your fans be­cause they pay the money to come through the gates. It’s your stage on a Satur­day at home.

“It was a good day for the club (beat­ing New­port) and an im­por­tant three points for us af­ter the blip of not win­ning for four months at home.

“It’s a mon­key off our back and now we can push on. It was im­por­tant to push us in the right di­rec­tion and have us climb­ing the league, be­cause we don’t see our­selves as a midtable side.

“We see our­selves as a lot higher than that. That’s where we want to be, so picking up the three points was what we needed.”

God­den is no stranger to hat­tricks, hav­ing net­ted three for Ebb­s­fleet United in Na­tional League South last term, but he con­cedes that a first in League Two was a spe­cial mo­ment for him.

The for­mer Scun­thorpe marks­man has looked per­fect- ly at home since his re­turn to the Foot­ball League over the sum­mer – al­ready notch­ing 11 goals be­fore this week­end – and says he hasn’t found the tran­si­tion from Non-League too chal­leng­ing.

“I feel like I’ve set­tled straight away, but I don’t think many peo­ple will come to Steve­nage and not set­tle in,” added God­den.

Set­tled

“It’s cer­tainly a step up from Ebb­s­fleet, but I’m not a stranger to the divi­sion. It’s taken a lit­tle bit of get­ting used to, but I’ve got a few goals un­der my belt and hope­fully I can kick on.

“It is dif­fer­ent to Na­tional League South in some ways, but the phys­i­cal­ity is the same.

“Though League Two has better play­ers, the phys­i­cal­ity is still there.

“To get a hat-trick was a spe­cial day for me.

“I scored three of them for Ebb­s­fleet last sea­son, but it’s my first one in the Foot­ball League, so a spe­cial day.”

De­spite their dire home form, Steve­nage still find them­selves in the play-off hunt.

Though there are a few teams be­tween them and the top seven, God­den sees no rea­son why the club can’t gain some up­ward mo­men­tum.

“The aim is def­i­nitely to push for pro­mo­tion – that’s what we as a club and the play­ers feel. We can be a match for any­one on our day,” said God­den.

“We go into ev­ery game fear­ing no­body, whether that’s some­one who’s bot­tom or some­one at the top.

“What I’ve found in League Two is that, if you get back-to­back wins, you can pro­pel your­self from the bot­tom half of the ta­ble right up into the play-off mix within ten days.

“The league is crazy in that sort of way.

“So, back-to-back wins can re­ally trans­form things for us.”

PIC­TURE: TGSPHOTO

HATS OFF: Matt God­den cel­e­brates the sec­ond of his hat-trick BIG MO­MENT: Matt God­den strikes for the first of his tre­ble against New­port

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