Blyth Spartans suffered a double festive defeat at the hands of Spennymoor which dented their push for the top in the National League North.
The Northumbrians lost 2-3 at home on Boxing Day, and on New Year’s Day they went down 3-1 in the return fixture at Spennymoor.
Victories could have lifted them to as high as third, but instead they have now slipped to sixth in the table with 39 points from their 23 games, leaving them 12 adrift of leaders Salford City.
An injury-ravaged Blyth Spartans were twice pegged back by Spennymoor Town, before they were denied their first draw of the season with a last minute Moors header – as they lost 3-2 at Croft Park on Boxing Day.
Nathan Buddle’s bullet header gave Blyth the lead on 22 minutes, before former Blyth striker Glen Taylor put Town level 16 minutes later. Kieran Green made the most of some awful defending to put Blyth back ahead just before the break, but Mark Anderson gave Spenny a deserved equaliser on 73 minutes.
With the game approached its conclusion, Christopher Mason headed home a 90th-minute corner to take first blood in the two sides’ festive Vanarama National League double header.
On New Year’s Day the teams met again at Brewery Field when Dale Hopson gave Spartans the lead in the 15th minute, firing home via a post following a corner.
But Spennymoore hit back to equalise after 37 minutes when Kallum Griffiths finished off a series of passes with a strong shot from the edge of the box.
In the second half the home side took the lead just a minute after the restart through Robert Ramshaw when he capitalised on a loss of possession by Blyth.
There were chances at either end, but the third and decisive goal came in the 69th minute when Mark Anderson expertly found Glen Taylor who produced a good finish to wrap up the points.
On Saturday Spartans are home to Gainsborough.
* Blyth AFC are set to take on Bedlington Terriers at Welfare Park on Saturday afternoon.
The original fixture was meant to take place on Boxing Day, but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Blyth won the reverse fixture against the Terriers earlier in the season, on Bank Holiday Monday in August, with Gary Day and Andrew Bulford scoring in the 2-1 victory.
The Braves are gunning for promotion this season, and will be looking to start the new year with a win, as they look to keep pace with league-leaders Northallerton Town.
Meanwhile, the postponed fixture against Heaton Stannington, which was called off because of a frozen pitch last weekend, will now take place on Wednesday, February 28.