Bragging rights for Spalding United after a cracking tussle v Stamford AFC, Holbeach storm into the play-off places and big crowd expected in a UCL derby at Bourne on Tuesday
A cracking crowd of 639 pitched up to see a Boxing Day battle between two of the top three in the Northern Premier Midlands Division and they were served up a treat by two committed, passionate teams.
And it was Spalding – who have now travelled through the first half of the season in a competitive division without losing a game – who emerged triumphant thanks to two goals from skipper and centre back Nathan Stainfield, one from former Posh youngster Archie Jones and a vital penalty save from goalkeeper Michael Duggan.
Stamford scored first through a Marshall Willock header and last through a Jon Challinor strike, but a red card for Michael Armstrong after he’d been cautioned twice in the opening 30 minutes proved too big a hurdle to mount.
Stainfield, who delivered a passable Terry Butcher impression by playing with a bandaged head after an early clash, scored twice before the break, once deep into injury-time before Jones netted in the opening minutes of the second-half.
The Daniels will rue missing the chance to go 2-1 up against 10 men after a foul inside the area on Harry Vince by another Posh youngster Sam Cartwright. Duggan easily saved the spot-kick taken by Stamford top scorer Jonathan Margetts.
Substitute Elliott Sandy and Dylan Edge both struck the woodwork for Spalding in the second half and Challinor’s late goal set up a grandstand finish, but the hosts held firm.
Leaders Halesowen were held to a draw at Sutton Coldfield so Spalding are now a point behind in second place with a game in hand. Stamford, who have now lost two games in a row, are third, a point further back having played a game more than the Tulips.
Stamford have a tough home game against Corby on January 2 when Spalding will expect to win at Yaxley (3pm kick offs).
Yaxley are rooted to the bottom of the table with one point from 20 matches amd were crushed 6-2 at Dereham on Boxing Day.
In Thurlow Nunn Division One Holbeach United have shot into the play-off places after a 7-1 duffing of bottom club FC Parson Drove at Carters Park, but Whittlesey Athletic are down to ninth after a 1-0 defeat at Huntingdon Town.
It was a Boxing Day bonanza for Cal Davies who scored four for the Tigers and for Kyle Compton wjo hit a hat-trick.
Non-league attention now turns to the United Counties League on Tuesday and in particular the big Division One derby between second-placed Bourne and their local rivals Blackstones at the Abbey Lawn (3pm).
Bourne have risen from fifth bottom to second placeon the back of a 12-game unbeaten run, but Blackstones, who are 10th, have lost just three of 17 leagie games this season.
Bourne are hoping for a crowd of 250 plus at the Abbey Lawn.
Deeping Rangers host Wisbech Town in the Premier Division North today.
Northern Premier League
Midlands Division: Dereham 6, Yaxley 2 (Robinson, Acheampong); Spalding Utd 3 (Stainfield 2, Jones), Stamford AFC 2 (Willock, Challinor).
Thurlow Nunn League
Division One North: Holbeach Utd 7 (Davies 4, Compton 3), FC Parson Drove 1; Huntingdon Town 1, Whittlesey Athletic 0.
United Counties League
Premier Division North: Deeping Rangers v Wisbech Town.
Division One: Bourne v Blackstones.