KO for Curtis as Sheffield struggle

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Woodhouse quits as manager after a nightmare Christmas for Club

Christmas and the New Year was a non event for most of our clubs, as the weather played havoc with our fixtures.

On Boxing Day we lost four of the nine scheduled games, whilst on Saturday we had six called off out of 11.

As one of our local chairmen said: “We have lost well over a thousand pounds in revenue and we will not get it back with extra night matches, at a time when we simply can not afford to lose such amounts.”

To compound the misery, Stocksbridge were hammered by seven goals and Sheffield’s pathetic showing cost Curtis Woodhouse his job.

In the Evo-Stik League Division One South on Boxing Day, I was at The BT Local Business Stadium to watch Sheffield F.C’s worst showing of the season, as they crashed to a 5-1 defeat to Belper Town.

They started well enough but fell away badly as the keeper gifted two goals, their defence were simply dreadful and their forwards squandered what chances they made.

Substitute Aaron Rice scored their goal in front of a crowd of 303 and even the play-off places now seems nothing more than a dream.

Belper were a good side but were made to look better than they really are as Jonathan Froggatt hit a hat-trick in the final 13 minutes.

Two days later, it was no surprise when manager Curtis Woodhouse, who won only seven from 19 league matches, resigned.

It is the worst season they have had for sometime and I was right - unfortunately - at the start of the season, when I said that you cannot serve two masters.

Curtis proved that being a full time boxer and a football manager is simply not feasible.

Sheffield have now appointed Ian Whithorne as acting manager assisted by Vill Powell, and their first match in charge against Gresley Rovers was called off.

Then on New Year’s Day they travelled to Stoke to face Kidsgrove Athletic and the players hit back in the best possible way, with a 4-1 victory, their biggest win since late September.

Powell led the goal spree, scoring twice, and Jack Muldoon scored his first goal for the club.

A goal for Ellis Wall completed the rout.

They now face two more tough matches; on Saturday they visit fellow strugglers Mickleover Sports, and then next Tuesday they travel to Brigg Town in the Doodson League Cup Second Round.

In the Premier Division, Stocksbridge Park slumped to their biggest defeat of the season on Boxing Day when they lost 7-0 at Buxton.

It was a dreadful performance and it leaves them staring relegation in the face.

The first of the games on New Year’s Day was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch and it cost the club a lot of revenue with a 1,000 plus gate expected against the well supported FC United of Manchester.

On Saturday they face a crucial game at Coronation Park, where they face the only club below them - Eastwood Town - in a game they simply must win.

In the North Counties East League’s First Division, Hallam faced a bitter holiday programme. On Boxing Day they led neighbours Dinnington Town 1-0 when the match was abandoned after 35 minutes because of the driving rain.

It leaves them having played only twice since November 24 and on Saturday they host AFC Emley at Sandygate.

Next Tuesday I will be at Park Road as they visit another in-form side, Worsbrough Bridge, who have yet to lose at home in the league this season.

I was at Park Road on Boxing Day morning to watch Worsbrough Bridge draw 1-1 with Athersley Recreation in front of a great 310 crowd, their biggest for many years.

Dinnington Town lost 1-0 away at inform Knaresborough Town on Boxing Day, leaving them without a win in four games. On Saturday they welcome Clipstone Welfare to Phoenix Park whilst next Wednesday they travel to Eccleshill United.

In the Premier Division, Worksop Parramore had a holiday to forget as both their games were postponed because of waterlogged pitches.

Fourth placed Staveley are right in-form but they too fell foul of the weather when both their home games over the Christmas period, leaving the club without a bumper Christmas pay out.

They have no game on Saturday but next Wednesday I will be at Inkersall Green as they try for a third time to entertain Hall Road Rangers in the League Cup Second Round.

Maltby Main were another club to suffer financially, with two huge bumper gates lost at Muglet Lane to the weather.

On Saturday, weather again permitting, they travel to Barton Town for another difficult looking encounter.

Parkgate were the only side to play on Boxing Day, although they crashed to a 4-1 defeat.

On Saturday, they will be looking to get back to winning ways when they entertain Winterton Rangers at Green Lane.

Next Tuesday they face a tough test away at Tadcaster Albion, if their notorious pitch is not still under water.

Let us hope that both the weather - and the form of our clubs - show signs of improvement in 2013.