CHRISTMAS is the time of year for big gates and shock results, and we had it all this year on a Boxing Day bonanza.
Over 10,000 people watched eleven Evo-Stik Premier Division games, whilst 2,758 watch eleven Division One South games.
On a windy day our clubs registered only two wins, three draws and two defeats, whilst on the dark side of the day three players were sent off, on a day of drama and high tension.
In the Evo-Stik Leagues Division One South, the performance of the day saw Sheffield Club visit Belper Town. Sheffield soon found themselves a goal down at Christchurch Meadows, but a second half fightback gave the visitors a 3-1 victory thanks to goals Higginson, Gascoigne and Woolley.
Club remain in fourth place, however, as only one of the top eight teams lost - and remain seven points behind the leaders.
So they start the New Year with a tough seven-match January programme at home on Monday to a struggling Goole A.F.C.
In the Premier Division, Stocksbridge Park found themselves a goal down and a man sent off at half time against fellow strugglers Mickleover Sports at their Look Local Stadium on Boxing Day.
But Brett Lovell’s penalty, his third goal in as many games, ensured a 1-1 draw as Mickleover had a man sent off. With all bottom eight teams failing to win, it was an opportunity missed for Park to make great strides in their battle against relegation as they failed to win for the fifth game in a row.
Manager Chris Willcock made another four new signings in the past week as Hogan signed from Halifax, Whitehouse from Frickley, Weston from Curzon Ashton and Gladwin from a foreign team bringing the total of new signings to seven, yet the crowd were amazed that again not one was in the starting line up though two did come on in the second half.
Their New Year starts on Monday with a tough away test at Silverlands against fellow strugglers Buxton in a game that is another six point affair in their relegation fight.
In the Baris North Counties East Leagues Premier Division, a close affair between Parkgate and Maltby Main tilted Parkgate’s way on 35 minutes when Chris Woods converted a cross after a bad goalkeeping error.
In the second half Liam Davis wrapped the points up with a cracking low drive as they won 2-0. They can thank man-of-the-match goalkeeper Jamie Bailey for three great saves at crucial times as they start the New Year in fifth place. They take a run of a draw and five straight wins to top of the table Retford Uinited on Monday for what is surely the match of the day.
Maltby Main’s two match unbeaten run came to an abrupt end at Parkgate, 2-0, but manager Stevie Adams can be pleased with his team’s defensive showing. However, they lacked any sort of cutting edge up front so they start the New Year in next to the bottom place. A home clash against Armthorpe Welfare on Monday is looking like a pointless start to the year.
Promotion hopefuls Staveley’s started their encounter at Armthorpe Welfare looking full of turkey, and sure enough they were well and truly stuffed after conceding three goals in the opening 26 minutes. Although Andrew Fox pulled one back, they were well beaten 3-1.
It saw Billy Fox’s players slip down to seventh place after winning only twice in their last six league games.
January, though, sees them playing six games against struggling clubs - including three against the bottom three teams. Their New Year starts on Monday when they should beat visitors Long Eaton United.
In Division One it was pleasing to see the Division’s biggest gate (154) at Sandygate, to see Hallam go a goal down inside three minutes to Yorkshire Amateurs and the draw level two minutes later through Aaron Moxam.
Sadly, however, the explosive start ended and it finished 1-1.
The Boxing Day action was a great start to the holiday programme and my advice is get out on Monday again to another Non League game, where the entrance fees are reasonable, the football is good and everyone seems to have an enjoyable day.