New Year's Day South Division review

By David Watters

Basford United started 2018 as they ended 2017 – still unbeaten in the EVO-STIK League South and with an amazing twenty-one point lead at the top of the table, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

Basford won 3-1 at Loughborough Dynamo, courtesy of Kieran Wells after 24 minutes, Fernando Bell-Toxtle on 37 minutes and Rob Duffy five minutes into the second half, with Karl Demidh netting a late consolation for the home side.

Bedworth United are second after inflicting a third successive defeat on a now sixth-placed Corby Town, Luke Keen`s early third minute effort eventually proving enough for the Greenbacks.

Cleethorpes Town, Frickley Athletic and Alvechurch complete the top six picture and all three won on New Year`s Day.

Clee were 2-1 Lincolnshire derby winners over Spalding United, whose Connor Marshall gave them a 20th minute lead. Luke Aldrich equalised just past the hour-mark and Danny North won it for the hosts 15 minutes from time.

Frickley edged out another play-off contender, Chasetown, by the odd goal in seven at The Scholars.

Matt Gardner gave the hosts an early seventh minute lead that Tyler Blake cancelled out right on the stroke of half-time. Immediately after the break, Jacob Hazel put the Blues in front, only for Jack Langston to level four minutes later.

Blake grabbed his second of the game to make it 3-2 to the visitors in the 68th minute, only for Langston to match him six minutes later to make it all-square. Hazel made it a third player to net a brace when he won it for Frickley four minutes from time.

Alvechurch beat bottom-markers Romulus 2-1 at Lye Meadow, taking the lead five minutes before the break through a Tom Turton penalty. Cameron Lee equalised on 66 minutes, but David Bellis won it for `Church in stoppage time.

Stamford AFC missed the chance to go back into the top six when they went down to a 2-0 defeat at second-bottom Peterborough Sports. A crowd of 336 saw a Lewis Hillard penalty and a goal from Mark Jones 13 minutes from time earn Sports a vital win.

Leek Town could also have gone above Corby had they won at lowly Market Drayton Town, but the Shropshire outfit edged a 3-2 win.

Sam Grimshaw gave the visitors an early fourth minute lead that Stefan Walker levelled within three minutes. Walker then gave Drayton the lead on the half-hour mark, only for Grimshaw to equalise just before half-time. Jud Ellis won it for the hosts in the 81st minute.

Sheffield FC won the derby at Bracken Moor against Stocksbridge Park Steels, coming back from a 74th minute Joe Lumsden goal down to win, thanks to Luke Francis a minute later and Adam Chapman 10 minutes from time.

Kidsgrove Athletic earned local bragging rights and moved to within two points of mid-table Newcastle Town by beating them 2-0 at the Lyme Valley Stadium, thanks to Darius Palma after 20 minutes and Anthony Malbon 13 minutes from time.

And Gresley FC`s Matt Melbourne was the Moatmen`s hero as he bagged both goals in the ninth and 30th minutes to seal a 2-0 win at Christchurch Meadow against Belper Town.

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Where next?

New Year's honours for winning trio Altrincham, Basford United and Droylsden are the EVO-STIK League's final performance kings of 2017!
New Year's Day Premier Division review When Altrincham’s sixteen-game unbeaten run in the EVO-STIK League Premier came to an end on New Year`s Day the Robins would have expected to have had their lead at the top cut, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

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