Stevenage's fixtures for the already, much anticipated 2023-2024 League One season will be out tomorrow (Thursday, 9am), whetting the appetite for what is to come. 

But as I didn't do a proper review of the season, let's take one final look back at a year that most Boro fans will remember forever. 

And for me, there were five fixtures that truly defined the season, five fixtures where the performances and final outcome paved the way for the eventual triumph and party. 

In date order, they are: 

1.Tranmere Rovers (away) - July 30 - W 2-1 

It's a long way up to Wirral but that was the task facing Stevenage on day one of the season. 

I went more in hope than in expectation. I was not expecting another woeful season, while not claiming to be an expert, the summer transfer business had looked promising even if I was not totally aware of the players coming in (bit like this year to be fair). 

But a superb first half was just what the doctor ordered and while Rovers pulled one back after the break, Jordan Roberts pounced with five minutes remaining to give Steve Evans' men three points. 

The boss was quick to say he wasn't surprised at the result. Turns out neither should anyone else. 

2.Walsall (away) - August 13 - D 1-1 

This one is very much in the same vein as the one above. Yes, it earned Boro a point on the road but again, much more importantly, it injected a huge dollop of belief into fans, pundits and probably players too. 

They always said they believed they could do well, but they're still human and sometimes you need reassurance. 

For those who have forgotten, this was heading towards a home win. It hadn't been the best performance of the season so far but like the games at Tranmere, Reading in the Carabao Cup and at home to Stockport County, this one featured a late goal, Danny Rose heading home in the 10th minute of injury time. 

It kept the unbeaten run going and suddenly turned all thoughts to the top end of the table, rather than the middle. 

3.Barrow (home) - December 2 - W 5-0 

Just realised, this is the second game on this list I've missed, and we're only at number three. Must be just coincidence, right? 

I was sat up north with the kids, giggling at the amount of times my phone was buzzing on that Friday night as goals flew in at regular intervals. 

From what I was told it was a day when everything came together and that the second half in particular was a joy. 

Friday night lights. It's clearly the future. 

4.Leyton Orient (home) - January 21 - W 3-0 

Oh, we all got a little bit carried away with this one, didn't we? I remember being stood afterwards and even Steve Watkins was suddenly thinking that the title might be a possibility. 

To be fair, after that performance, it felt like it. Here were the runaway leaders reduced to nothing, humbled by an explosive start and then shooting themselves in the foot further with a sending off, all inside the opening 45 minutes

The three points left Boro just two behind Orient and with a game in hand. Could it be? 

Of course what happened next wasn't the start of the final push but the beginning of the longest three months of the year. 

And in the cold light of a hindsight-lit day, it perhaps was always going to be a long shot. The injury crisis that began a few weeks later proved how fragile things could be for a small squad. 

But man, for those few hours after the final whistle... 

5.Rochdale (away) - March 4 - L 0-2 

I've said this many times, I'm not a Stevenage fan. Defeats don't normally have an effect on me at the emotional level, not like it does to you true fans. 

This one did though. In fact I was still fuming about it on the Wednesday. 

It was horrendous. It lacked effort, it lacked spine, it lacked everything that I demand from players. I need to see someone crawling off the pitch having given absolutely everything. It doesn't even have to be good or sensational, just show you care, show you are trying. 

The boss was of the same mind too, cancelling days off and forcing players into training on the Sunday. Players were suddenly asking if hotel rooms were available, if cars that they thought were needed for immediately after to take them to their own homes could be picked up. 

I had little sympathy for them as I trudged away but in the end, the result and aftermath were exactly what was needed. 

It focused the mind, forced the squad to take a breath, roll up their sleeves and get across the line. 

As Yoda once said, "the greatest teacher failure is" and there was a fella who knew a thing or two about Rochdale away...