Ian Culverhouse ready to ‘circle the wagons’ in King’s Lynn Town’s title chase
- Credit: Geoff Moore/Focus Images Ltd
Local footballers resume hostilities on Boxing Day after bypassing the festive feasts in pursuit of glory.
There is little let-up as teams reach the approximate halfway point of their campaigns, with a number of clubs still having a major say in promotion and relegation pictures.
For King's Lynn Town and Dereham Town it's all about hoping the sacrifices they make at Christmas will be rewarded in May as they seek to maintain promotion challenges.
The Linnets are back at The Walks when they host St Ives (3pm), having picked up a very useful three points with a 1-0 win at Merthyr Town on Saturday.
The Southern League leaders were indebted to Michael Gash's fifth-minute goal as they remained three points ahead of Kettering, who beat Dunstable 6-0, and four ahead of Weymouth, 5-0 winners over Redditch.
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If Ian Culverhouse's men can get another win against St Ives it will set them up nicely for what is without doubt their biggest match of the season to date – the trip to Kettering on New Year's Day.
'We're taking one game at a time,' said Culverhouse. 'Let other people worry about what's going on, and we will close the doors, circle the wagons and not listen to the noise, We need to remain focused and take one game at a time and keep picking the three points up.'
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In the Bostik North Division, Dereham host local rivals Norwich United (1pm) in what is likely to be a Christmas cracker at Aldiss Park.
The Magpies came away from AFC Sudbury with a 4-1 win on Saturday and are nicely placed in fourth position in the table.
Danny Beaumont had a penalty saved, but he soon made amends, putting Dereham 2-0 up after nine minutes following an own goal. Rhys Logan quickly added a third and although the hosts pulled one back, Ollie Ebbage wrapped up the points.
Norwich United's early-season problems are gradually fading away – they came from behind to beat Brentwood Town 2-1 at the weekend as they registered back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Brentwood led at the break but it was level in the 62nd minute when Liam Jackson found Adam Hipperson wide on the left and his cut-back was turned into his own net by Harry Gibbs. Hipperson scored the winner 20 minutes from time heading home at the far post from Nathan Stewart's cross.
In the Bostik Premier, Lowestoft have a trip to Leiston (1pm) looking to bounce back after a 3-0 home defeat to Harlow Town at the weekend. The Bloaters had Rory McAuley sent off to rub salt in the wound of a disappointing afternoon.
The Boxing Day Thurlow Nunn League fixtures all kick-off at 11am – and there are some cracking derby clashes on the list. The biggest might well be at Emerald Park where Gorleston entertain coastal rivals Great Yarmouth in the Premier Division. It's always a spicy affair, but the weekend fixtures make it hugely intriguing: while the Bloaters were winning 2-1 at Hadleigh on Saturday, Gorleston were thumped 7-0 at home by Coggeshall Town. Yarmouth's goals at Hadleigh came from Chris Holmes and Hayden Davis.
Kirkley & Pakefield entertain Wroxham, a clash between two teams who lost at the weekend. Kirkley were beaten 3-1 at home by Brantham Athletic while Wroxham went down 2-1 at Ely City.
Thetford host Fakenham in the third of the derby games and, again, both ended up pointless on Saturday. Thetford, unbeaten in their previous five league and cup games, lost 1-0 at home to Godmanchester Rovers, while Fakenham - now managed by Andy Cunningham – were thumped 4-1 at Walsham le Willows, with Kyle Plumb scoring a penalty for the Ghosts to make it 1-1.
In the First Division, there's a city derby as Norwich United entertain Norwich CBS. Both teams drew 1-1 at the weekend, United at Wisbech St Mary and CBS at Little Oakley.
Diss Town were 4-0 winners at Team Bury and will be looking to follow that up when they host Debenham LC.
Downham entertain Swaffham. Downham, who drew 0-0 at Braintree on Saturday, are 10th in the table while their visitors, without a game on Saturday, are third, two points behind leaders Woodbridge. Kings Lynn, 4-3 home winners over Needham Market, are without a game.
Wisbech have had extra time to prepare, after a 4-0 win at Peterborough Northern Star on Friday with goals from Danny Setchell, Jordan Yong, Jon Fairweather and an own goal. The Fenmen are third in the UCL Premier and entertain second-placed Holbeach (3pm) who are above them on goal difference.