FIVE years ago, Huddersfield Town went into the festive fixture schedule marooned in mid-table in League I under manager Andy Ritchie.
There were successive wins over Bristol Rovers, beaten 2-1 at home, and Cheltenham, where old favourite Andy Booth scored twice in a 2-0 victory.
Hopes were high for the home Boxing Day clash with Crewe, but there was frustration as the Alex forced a 1-1 draw.
It could have been worse, because Lee Barnard, partnered by current Town loanee Simon Church, put the visitors in front midway through the first period, and it took until the 85th minute for Ritchie’s side to level, the reliable Booth again doing the business.
MICK WADSWORTH was the man in charge and his Town team were toiling in Division II (now League I).
They went into the home Boxing Day clash with Tranmere on the back of a 1-0 setback at Wigan and another loss dumped them at the foot of the table.
Shane Nicholson (penalty) and Gareth Roberts scored before Martin Smith replied, but Rovers held out to edge it 2-1.
POOR weather scuppered the festive football schedule, so Town were left to kick their heels and reflect on a run of four successive defeats under Ian Ross in Division II (now League I).
Town, whose team included the likes of Simon Charlton, Peter Jackson, Kieran O’Regan, Iwan Roberts and Iffy Onuora, had been beaten at Burnley and Stoke while Port Vale and Chester had won at Leeds Road.
But there was an FA Cup second-round derby victory over neighbours Bradford – Iain Dunn and O’Regan (with a penalty) earned a 2-0 Valley Parade triumph – to lift the gloom.
Town’s league schedule didn’t resume until mid-January.
PROMOTION from Division III (League I) as well as plum pudding was on the lips of Town fans as Mick Buxton’s team scored exciting wins over Chesterfield and leaders Lincoln City on successive days.
Malcolm Brown, with a penalty, Mark Lillis and Colin Russell sealed a 3-1 December 27 success against Chesterfield at Leeds Road.
Then it was on to Sincil Bank 24 hours later, when Lillis, with a header from Dave Cowling’s cross, and Keith Hanvey, with a powerful drive, counted as Colin Murphy’s Imps, who had been one up at the break, failed to win a home game for the first time that season.
ASTON VILLA were the visitors as Town continued to struggle to adapt to life in Division II (now Championship) following their relegation from the top flight.
Big guns Frank Worthington and Trevor Cherry had gone, although boss Ian Greaves had brought in Manchester United striker Alan Gowling (left) for £80,000.
He grabbed his 10th goal of the season in a 1-1 draw.
TOWN were handily placed in Division II (now Championship) after fighting out a 1-1 draw at Grimsby, but weren’t to know it would be their last game for more than two months.
The country was starting to feel the effects of the worst winter in memory, and no games were possible at Leeds Road between December 8 and March 9.
Kevin McHale scored Town’s goal at Blundell Park, and Eddie Boot’s side, including the likes of England internationals Ray Wilson and Mike O’Grady, looked a decent bet for promotion. But the big freeze broke their rhythm, and they were to end up sixth.
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2011 Chesterfield (h) 1-0 - Jordan Rhodes, b) Oscar Goburn
2010 Hartlepool (h) 0-1 - Graham Carey, b) Gary Roberts
2009 Carlisle - Postponed
2008 Carlisle (a) 0-3 - Kiegan Parker, b) Andy Holdsworth
2007 Crewe 1-1 (a) - Malvin Kamara and Andy Booth b) Andy Booth
2006 Tranmere 2-2 (h) - Danny Adams and Danny Schofield b) Danny Schofield
2005 Rotherham 1-1 (a) Gary Taylor Fletcher, Andy Booth and Jon Worthington b) Chris Brandon
2004 Port Vale 2-1 (h) Danny Schofield, b) Tony Carrs, Danny Schofield, Andy Holdsworth, Efe Sodje, John McAlliskey, Jon Worthington and Pawel Abbott
2003 Darlington 0-1 (a) Lee Fowler b) Andy Booth
2002 Tranmere 1-2 (h) Steve Jenkins, b) Kenny Irons, Eddie Youds and Andy Booth