Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough celebrates after the Carabao Cup, Quarter Final match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough.

We’re counting down the days to Christmas and the spirit is being spread across the North East with football festivities across the areas with some gits to the fans with wins but others are left feeling the winter blues. We start with a comeback that raised the spirits at the Stadium of Light.

1 – Could You ‘Imajine’?


Yes, Josh Maja was up to his tricks again on Saturday afternoon in the dismal weather at the Stadium of Light scoring a second half winner as Sunderland came back from a goal down to beat Bristol Rovers 2-1.

Alex Rodman fired the managerless visitors in front after just 11 minutes and it wasn’t looking great for the Black Cats before Adam Matthews levelled before in first half stoppage time and then just four minutes after the break the 19 year-old forward Maja got his 12th league goal of the season to seal all three points.

Jack Ross’ men sit 3rd in the League One table but have two games in hand on both Luton Town and Portsmouth, who they travel to on Saturday in a top of the table clash before a record breaking game in crowd terms against Bradford City on Boxing Day.

2 – Rondon The Red Nose Magpie


Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? Nevertheless Newcastle United picked up a much needed win on Saturday away at Huddersfield thanks to Solomon Rondon’s strike.

The 1-0 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium ended United’s mini slump after back to back home defeats at the hands of West Ham and Wolves and sees Rafa Benitez’s men four places and four points above the drop zone.

Another huge game awaits Newcastle this coming weekend as bottom of the table Fulham come to St. James’ Park before the Magpies face a daunting task at unbeaten Liverpool so it could be a not so happy reunion for Rafa at Anfield.

3 – Starting On The Money!

Richard Money’s first game in charge of Hartlepool United was a success as Pool saw themselves into the second round of the FA Trophy with a narrow 1-0 at Leamington.

Ryan Donaldson’s goal on 64 minutes was enough for the former Cambridge United boss to get a positive start at his new club and will look to continue that trend as they host Havant & Waterlooville this weekend.

Hartlepool will play host to AFC Telford United in the next round of the competition.

4 – Solemn Day at Salford


Gateshead didn’t fare so well in the same competition after their clash away at Salford was postponed on Saturday due to the weather and was played Monday night instead where the Heed fell to a 3-1 defeat.

Steve Watson’s men were a goal down at the break but were then hit with two late goals in the 80th and 84th minutes respectively before Luke Armstrong’s consolation strike for the visitors.

I’m sure Gateshead’s focus is much more on the league however as they prepare to travel to Maidstone United with hopes of keeping up their promotion push.

5 – It’s All Bah Humbug at Boro

Middlesbrough suffered two straight defeats in the last few days with a 2-1 loss away to QPR in the Championship before a shocking 1-0 home defeat to League One Burton Albion in the Quarter-Final of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.

Saturday’s loss came after an early Pawel Wszolek opener was cancelled out by George Saville in the second half only for Nahki Wells to condemn Boro to defeat and see them fall to sixth in the table just one point above Nottingham Forest.

The big shock came at home to Burton however as Jake Hesketh scored the only goal to send Albion to the semis to face Manchester City and now Tony Pulis will have a lot on his Christmas list and I’m sure a win will be one of them. He has a chance to put things right though as Boro travel to struggling Reading on Saturday before hosting another side lingering around the bottom in Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day.