Long Eaton United will go into 2015 at the top of the Midlands Football League after winning their Boxing Day clash with Shepshed Dynamo 3-1.
The result, coupled with Basford United’s pre-Christmas defeat at AFC Wulfrunians, means Long Eaton are now seven points clear at the top although Basford still have two games in hand with the two sides set to meet on New Year’s Day at Grange Park.
United began the clash with Shepshed well, Ross Parker firing over early on, while at the other end Adam Vasey and Steve Towers go close for the visitors, who also featured former Leicester and Aston Villa star Julian Joachim in their line-up.
Recent signing TJ Nightingale dragged a good chance wide for Long Eaton on 13 minutes and Aaron Cole and David Boafo both saw shots go wide before the lead was finally earned on 32 minutes.
A mis-kick from the goalkeeper fell straight to Nightingale and he charged forward before finishing well.
Parker saw an effort cleared off the line before the break, as did Nightingale with a header and also Brad Wells after the break - his shot the fifth to be cleared from the line by Shepshed’s defence.
The lead was doubled on 63 minutes when Jermaine Hollis’s low cross was turned in by Wells at the back post, before an error by keeper Cameron Mason allowed Shepshed’s Courtney Meade to pull a goal back.
But United would secure the points late on when good work by Ben Watkiss and Jermaine Palmer set up Theo Smith to run on and fire the ball home.