Harborough Town aiming to keep their noses in front in title race
Mitch Austin's men ensured they finished 2023 on top of the tree as they were comprehesnive 4-0 winners at rock-bottom AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Boxing Day.
That result sees them stay a point clear of second-placed Spalding United, with third-placed Anstey Nomads a further point behind, with the latter also having a game in hand.
Fourth-placed Loughborough Dynamo are also very much still in the picture, as although they are seven points behind the Bees, they have two matches in hand.
The Boxing Day win at Hayden Road saw Harborough bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 home defeat against a strong Nomads on the Saturday before Christmas.
The reaction against Diamonds will have delighted Austin, with new-signing Tendai Daire immediately proving his worth following his move from Hinckley LRFC with a hat-trick.
Daire got the ball rolling after 12 minutes, before Joel Carta netted to make it 2-0 at the break.
Diamonds battled hard and kept plugging away, but the Bees always had the edge and Daire made it 3-0 seven minutes from time before completing his hat-trick with a last-minute penalty.
Daire now has an impressive 24 goals in 22 appearances for Harborough and previous club Hinckley this season.
New Year's Day opponents Rugby are sitting third from bottom in the Midlands table, but will be on a high after climbing out of the bottom two with a 2-0 win against fellow strugglers Gresley Rovers on Boxing Day.
Elsewhere on Monday, Borough's title rivals Spalding host Cambridge City, Anstey Nomads go to Gresley and Loughborough host Shepshed Dynamo.