Stuart Ritchie’s brace helped Epworth Town Reserves continue their excellent league form with a 7-1 win over bottom club Santon.
Leading the scoring with his double, Ritchie helps keep Epworth’s 100 per cent league record this season intact into the new year, ahead of a crunch derby against Westwoodside Rangers, who knocked Epworth out of the Johnsons Transport Ironstone Cup with a 3-1 win a week earlier.
Rivals Westwoodside sit 14 points behind Epworth in the league, but with four games in hand on table-topping Epworth, the clash in the new year could prove to be vital at the end of the season.
Westwoodside are fifth due to having played less league games, as they continue to progress in the cup competitions.
Epworth’s other goals were scored by Michael Broom, Chris McCormick, Chris Quinn, Mick Johnson and David Mole in their seven goal thrashing of Santon.
The visitor’s goal came through Phil Hornsby and the strike is only the ninth goal Epworth have conceded in the league this season in nine outings.
In Division Two, Crowle Town Colts suffered a setback in their struggle to avoid the drop as they fell to a 8-1 defeat against East Drayton.
The loss sees Colts replace Drayton at the foot of the division by virtue of goal difference after the thrashing, and they now have time to regroup ahead of their next game in the new year when they face a tough task, hosting second placed Scunthonians.
Rob Moore was on hand to claim Colts’ consolation effort in the defeat.
Epworth Town’s first team head into the festive period well-poised in Division One, sitting in third place.
Their next outing sees them face a side that only have one point in the league this season, New Holland Villa, as they attempt to keep pace at the top of the table.
Epworth currently sit six points behind leaders Limestone Rangers with both sides having played four games in the league.