We continue our review of last season’s Conference Premier title-winning campaign by taking a look back at December.
FA Cup fever gripped North Nottinghamshire in December, as our Second Round tie with Lincoln City proved to be a truly captivating contest with intense drama.
In a titanic tussle at Sincil Bank, which finished in a 3-3 draw, the Imps, led by our former boss David Holdsworth, were only seconds away from progressing into Round Three.
But deep into injury time at the end of a nail-biting thriller, Matt Rhead sparked joyous scenes of celebration as his bullet header salvaged a replay at One Call Stadium.
If nerves weren’t frayed already enough, a draw that paired the replay winners against mighty Liverpool in Round Three captured the imagination of an international audience.
As the UK slowly ground to a halt due to freezing temperatures, specially-erected hot blowers were used in order to make our pitch playable for the eagerly-awaited replay.
And Stags fans weren’t to be left disappointed.
After Adam Smith cancelled out our opener, Louis Briscoe’s stunning late winner gave us a beautiful Christmas present: a date with Brendan Rodgers’ five-time European champions.
Supporters camped overnight in pouring rain and queued in their hundreds to get their hands on the hottest ticket in town, as the Liverpool clash sold out within an hour of reaching general sale.
Nevertheless, in the midst of our cup fever, we played just two league matches in December.
Revenge was exacted on Ebbsfleet United as we thumped Liam Daish’s ailing side 4-1 at One Call Stadium, with Ben Hutchinson and Anthony Howell amongst our scorers.
However, in lashing rain on Boxing Day, we succumbed to our first defeat at home since the opening day of the campaign when Alfreton Town earned a surprise 2-1 win.
Our scheduled clash at Hyde and our home match with Grimsby Town both fell victim to the weather, which meant we occupied 10th position in the table at the conclusion of 2012.
Also in December:
- Chairman John Radford settled a winding up petition that had been served upon us.
- Our youth team topped the Football Conference Youth Alliance table on Christmas Day.
- Youngsters Jobe Shaw, Joel Holland and Scott Rogers were all released.
- Midfielder Jamie Hand was loaned to Conference South side Hayes & Yeading United.