Tag Archives: festive

Wayne Rooney injury latest: Manchester United striker to miss Liverpool

Rooney out for two more weeks and will miss Liverpool clash

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

09:59 GMT, 4 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:14 GMT, 4 January 2013

Blow: Rooney is set to be out for another two weeks after a training ground injury

Blow: Rooney is set to be out for another two weeks after a training ground injury

Wayne Rooney is set for two more weeks on the sidelines and will miss Manchester United's clash with Liverpool on January 13.

The England striker missed his team's 4-3 Boxing Day win over Newcastle, after he tore a ligament in the back of his knee on the training ground on Christmas Day, before sitting out United's next two festive-period fixtures against West Brom and Wigan.

The 27-year-old will now miss the Old Trafford battle with arch-rivals Liverpool as well as the FA Cup third-round tie with West Ham this weekend.

Ferguson said at a press conference on Friday: ‘Wayne Rooney is still injured. It’s a bit of a surprise because it’s longer than we thought. We expected him to be back in training but he’s not.

‘It’s nothing serious but it looks as though he’s going to be out for another two weeks or so. He won’t be set for Liverpool.

‘It’s nothing serious, he just got clipped behind his knee. We sent him for a scan and nothing really showed but he’s still feeling it.

‘So hopefully two weeks will sort it but nonetheless it’s a loss. Although we’re in great form you always want your best players available for games that are coming up.

‘We’ve got West Ham tomorrow, Liverpool next week and then Tottenham the week after that. And the FA Cup again hopefully after that.'

Out: Rooney will miss United's match against Liverpool on January 13

Out: Rooney will miss United's match against Liverpool on January 13

He added: ‘It’s a tough period and you always want your best squad available.

‘He’s not had a full season anyway so it’s not as though we can’t cope without him.’

Rooney is also struggling to be fit to face Tottenham on January 20 at White Hart Lane.

The former Everton man has scored
seven goals this season and played second fiddle to new-signing and
Premier League top-scorer Robin van Persie.

United are currently seven points clear of city rivals and defending champions Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Sam Allardyce wants West Ham to start 2013 with a win over Norwich

'We need to bounce back': Allardyce wants Hammers to ring in the New Year by ending run of poor form against Norwich

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UPDATED:

16:25 GMT, 31 December 2012

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce wants a positive reaction from his players when they welcome Norwich to Upton Park on New Year's Day.

The Hammers slipped to a 1-0 defeat against fellow promoted side Reading on Saturday and have now won just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League fixtures.

Norwich, who had previously been on a 10-match unbeaten run, have lost their last three and Allardyce is hoping his players can end the congested festive period on a high.

Testing times: Sam Allardyce has seen West Ham win just once in their last eight Premier League matches and has called for an instant improvement in 2013

Testing times: Sam Allardyce has seen West Ham win just once in their last eight Premier League matches and has called for an instant improvement in 2013

'We need to bounce back,' he said.

'We've got to make sure we become better at creating and taking our chances, otherwise it's going to be tough.

'The balls into the box haven't been given enough quality to open up a defence as everybody starts tightening up at this stage of the season.'

Allardyce has had to deal with a host of injuries in the past couple of months with key players such as Andy Carroll and Mohamed Diame still sidelined.

The 58-year-old believes the number of players unavailable to him of late has led to a slip in form that leaves the Hammers six points clear of the bottom three.

He said: 'We haven't had our best team out for ages and since we beat Chelsea, our points total has diminished rather than kicked on from there.

'Normally when you get a result as big as that one you kick on and get more and more results as the euphoria keeps you going.

Nightmare: 2012 ended in poor fashion for West Ham after James Collins (left) gifted Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak the winning goal with a tame back pass

Nightmare: 2012 ended in poor fashion for West Ham after James Collins (left) gifted Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak the winning goal with a tame back pass

'The injuries have unfortunately kicked in and we've not been able to pick up the results we wanted to.

'It's about getting the players back fit and then keeping them fit, and then we'll be OK but that's got to happen very quickly now.'

The recently recovered trio of Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison and Alou Diarra were all in the matchday squad for the defeat at Reading with only the latter not making it onto the pitch at some stage.

But, despite welcoming a few players back from injury, Allardyce must now cope without the suspended duo of captain Kevin Nolan and defender James Collins for the match with Norwich.

Suspended: Captain Kevin Nolan will miss the New Year's Day match with Norwich after collecting a fifth yellow card of the season

Suspended: Captain Kevin Nolan will miss the New Year's Day match with Norwich after collecting a fifth yellow card of the season

'Losing the game (at Reading) was hard enough, but to lose two key players in the last game of the suspension period makes it even worse,' he said.

'If they had got booked on Tuesday, there's no suspension, but they go and get booked at Reading and now we have to make do without them.'

Collins was at fault for the goal at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday as his under-hit backpass was collected by Royals' striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, who then converted coolly past Jussi Jaaskelainen and the Wales international must now wait to make amends.

'James has to get over the mistake,' said Allardyce.

'But unfortunately he can't on Tuesday as he's suspended. The rest of the team have to get over it and start getting a few more points.'

Nuisance: Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak, seen here challenging Winston Reid, proved a real handful on Saturday

Nuisance: Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak, seen here challenging Winston Reid, proved a real handful on Saturday

With the Hammers on a run of poor form Allardyce is expecting a tense atmosphere at Upton Park for the visit of the Canaries.

'I think it is going to be a big test for our nerve for the first time this season,' he said.

'Norwich have been very good defensively, particularly away from home and I think that they make life very difficult for you to break them down and play very well on the counter-attack if you leave too many spaces.'

Allardyce said he was not surprised to see Norwich string together an impressive run of form once their manager Chris Hughton became comfortable in his new surroundings at Carrow Road.

'They did so well last year, there was a little disruption with a change of manager that the club didn't expect,' he said.

'A new manager gets his feet under the
table and doesn't quite know his players and the players don't know him
and once they get to do that and he gets to show he is a good manager
and can replace Paul Lambert they start playing for him the way they
are.

'It is no mean feat to
go 10 games in the Premier League without defeat, that is a great,
great run any of the top six sides would be pleased with that one never
mind someone that is just competing in the Premier League for the second
season running.'

Stalemate: The two sides drew 0-0 at Carrow Road back in September, despite the best efforts of Jonny Howson and Matt Jarvis

Stalemate: The two sides drew 0-0 at Carrow Road back in September, despite the best efforts of Jonny Howson and Matt Jarvis

Miguel Angel Jimenez breaks leg and be out for at least three months

Jimenez breaks leg in accident and will miss at least three months of new golfing year

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UPDATED:

17:12 GMT, 30 December 2012

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez will be out of action for at least three months after a skiing accident during the festive season.

The 48-year-old, who became the oldest winner in European Tour history when he won in Hong Kong last month, was skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountain region yesterday when he broke his right leg in a fall.

Blow: Jimenez will be out for at least three months

Blow: Jimenez will be out for at least three months

Jimenez, one of Jose Maria Olazabal's vice-captains at the Ryder Cup in Medinah, was taken to the mountain medical centre for an X-ray before being transferred to a hospital in nearby Malaga, where he was operated on that evening.

'I was going down a hill and lost control briefly and when I fell it was very sore,” Jimenez was quoted as saying on the European Tour's website. 'I knew immediately I had broken something.

Victorious: Jimenez won the Hong Kong Open in November

Victorious: Jimenez won the Hong Kong Open in November

'The medical staff at Sierra Nevada took me for an X-ray straight away and I am very thankful to them, as well as all of the staff at the hospital, for their quick and professional response.

'I was playing very well at the end of the season so it is obviously not a good time for me to get injured. When I took up skiing I knew the risks that I was taking but I love it so much I could not stop.'

Alex Pearce says clean sheets are breeding confidence at Reading

Pearce says clean sheets are breeding confidence at Reading

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 30 December 2012

Reading defender Alex Pearce believes that clean sheets are helping to grow confidence at the club.

The Royals kept back-to-back clean sheets in their previous two matches picking up a point against Swansea on Boxing Day and three against West Ham on Saturday.

It halted a run of seven defeats in a row, has stopped them slipping nine points from safety and lifted them off the foot of the table.

Optimistic mood: Reading's Alex Pearce (centre) says back-to-back clean sheets over the festive period have helped build confidence in the camp

Optimistic mood: Reading's Alex Pearce (centre) says back-to-back clean sheets over the festive period have helped build confidence in the camp

Pearce claims keeping out the league Champions Manchester City for 92 minutes – before Gareth Barry's controversial winner that looked like a foul on Nicky Shorey – helped Reading turn a corner defensively.

The 24-year-old said: 'I certainly think so. We were very good against Man City defensively, very good against Swansea defensively and very good against West Ham defensively and we had that little bit more going forward.

'But we had to get it right at the back first, build from the back and we are doing that and now we are grinding out the wins.'

Decisive strike: Pavel Pogrebnyak scored the winning goal after five minutes to sink West Ham

Decisive strike: Pavel Pogrebnyak scored the winning goal after five minutes to sink West Ham

He added: 'Players and staff want to keep clean sheets and we are happy with the last three games we played. We deserved a clean sheet at Man City, we then got two clean sheets and we are building on that.

'We got a win and we are building on that. We fully believe we can get out of this, everyone has written us off, everyone is saying we are down but inside that dressing room we have a firm belief we will do it.'

Bolton 3 Birmingham 1 – match report

Bolton 3 Birmingham 1: Trotters come from behind to record first win in three

PUBLISHED:

17:25 GMT, 29 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:46 GMT, 29 December 2012

Bolton put the disappointment of back-to-back defeats behind them with a come-from-behind victory over struggling Birmingham.

Dougie Freedman's side suffered losses to lowly Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday over the festive period and fell behind after just 11 minutes on Saturday.

Nikola Zigic headed his fifth of the season but the hosts hit back to lead by half-time with goals from Marcos Alonso and Chung-Yong Lee.

Comeback: Lee (second left) put Bolton in front

Comeback: Lee (second left) put Bolton in front

Match facts

Bolton: Bogdan; Mears, Ream, Knight, Alonso; Lee, Pratley, Spearing (Butterfield 89), Andrews, Eagles (Afobe 90); K Davies.

Subs not used: Lonergan, Ricketts, Riley, Petrov, Sordell.

Booked: Lee.

Goals: Alonso 27, Lee 33, Andrews (pen) 79.

Birmingham: Butland; Hancox, Caldwell, Davies, Robinson; Burke (Redmond 72), Spector (Elliott 59), Mullins, Reilly (Jervis 79), Hall; Zigic.

Subs not used: Doyle, Pablo, Gordon, Delfouneso.

Booked: Mullins, Caldwell, Zigic. Sent off: Zigic.

Goal: Zigic 11.

Referee: Simon Hooper.

Attendance: 17,068.

Click here for the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

A second-half penalty from Keith Andrews
settled the matter and Zigic saw red as Birmingham's three-match
unbeaten run came to an end.

The hosts started much the brighter, Chris Eagles cutting in from the
right and trying his luck with an early long-range strike but Jack
Butland was equal to the challenge.

The Trotters threatened again moments later as Jay Spearing hit a superb
looping volley from 30 yards which just dropped wide of the post.

But it was Lee Clark's side who seized the advantage. Chris Burke's
right-wing corner hung in the air and Zigic came through a crowded scene
to nod home from six yards.

Bolton's frustration continued to build when Eagles flashed a shot across goal after being played in by Kevin Davies' backheel.

They did not have to wait much longer for the goal their dominance
deserved after Tyrone Mears burst down the right and delivered a teasing
ball for Alonso to provide the headed finish, outmuscling Curtis Davies
to do so, in the 27th minute.

Spot on: Andrews slots home Bolton's third

Spot on: Andrews slots home Bolton's third

It got even better for Freedman's side just past the half-hour mark, Lee
skipping past two defenders, rounding Butland and squeezing the ball in
from a tight angle.

The impressive Spearing linked well with Davies and the veteran striker
forced a smart stop from Butland as Bolton finished the half on top.

Clark turned to his bench for inspiration early in the second half, bringing on Wade Elliott for Jonathan Spector.

The veteran winger was soon involved, feeding Burke down the flank but his cross cleared everyone in a packed penalty area.

Burke tried to atone but his 20-yard strike was well held by Adam Bogdan as the visitors began to grow into the game.

But after Steven Caldwell handled in the box, Andrews stepped up to calmly steer the spot-kick past Butland in the 79th minute.

Zigic was given his marching orders late on after picking up two
bookings in little over a minute as the Serb went from hero to zero.

Paul Lambert: Aston Villa will bounce back after Gareth Bale"s hat-trick inspired Tottenham to a 4-0 win.

Lambert insists Villa will recover from successive thrashings after Bale puts his youngsters to the sword

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UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 27 December 2012

Paul Lambert insists his young side will bounce back after a Gareth Bale hat-trick condemned Villa to their second hammering over the festive period.

An 8-0 thrashing at Chelsea was followed up yesterday by a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Spurs, with Gareth Bale notching his first Premier League hat-trick.

After an impressive victory over Liverpool last weekend, two successive defeats see Villa occupying 16th place in the table – just three points above the relegation zone.

Belief: Lambert is confident that Villa will recover in time for their game against Wigan next weekend

Belief: Lambert is confident that Villa will recover in time for their game against Wigan next weekend

Their manager is adamant the mood in the camp will not be an issue though, ahead of Saturday's six pointer against 18th-placed Wigan at Villa Park.

'Whether we win, lose or draw, we always try to treat the players the same way and try to keep their spirits the same,' said Lambert.

'One thing in football is that you can't dwell on it and you have to recover – there is no other way.'

Unstoppable: Bale tore Lambert's young Villa side apart for his first Premier-League treble

Unstoppable: Bale tore Lambert's young Villa side apart for his first Premier-League treble

Men against boys: The youngest team in the Premier League were no match for Spurs at Villa Park

Men against boys: The youngest team in the Premier League were no match for Spurs at Villa Park

Bale was back to his devastating best as Tottenham ran Villa's youngsters ragged.

The Welshman twice went close to netting in a goalless first-half before he added three goals in 23 minutes to Jermain Defoe's 57th-minute opener.

It was a magnificent virtuoso performance from the 23-year-old, his lethal finishing reminiscent of his famous Champions League treble against Inter Milan in 2010/11.

Bale now has 10 goals in all competitions this season, and Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas afterwards hailed Bale as one of the world's best players.

'He is up there with the best,' the Portuguese said:

Staying put: Villas-Boas has ruled out any chance of his star man leaving in the January transfer window

Staying put: Villas-Boas has ruled out any chance of his star man leaving in the January transfer window

'He is showing tremendous skills and talent, he is improving every day and he is one of our major assets.

RELEGATION FIGHT

Villa face some crucial matches in the upcoming weeks

Fixtures:

Wigan – Home – Sat 29 DecSwansea – Away – Tue 1 JanSouthampton – Home – Sat 12 JanWest Brom – Away – Sat 19 Jan

'His personality is wonderful,' he added.

'He is going through an excellent moment of his professional and personal life, and we are benefiting from that.,

Villas-Boas was adamant that his star man would not be leaving in January and stressed that there is still more to come his the Welshman.

'You always expect that the team can make an individual even better.

'The team changes so much from one year to another, and as he keeps learning, he will feel even better and probably his performances will improve.'

Yesterday's result ensured Tottenham kept up their push for Champions League football, moving them up to fourth – level on points with fifth-placed Everton and sixth-spotted West Brom, who both also won yesterday.

Ryan Nelsen thinks QPR can win crucial Christmas games

QPR skipper Nelsen believes his side can kickstart escape from relegation over Christmas

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UPDATED:

12:14 GMT, 25 December 2012

QPR captain Ryan Nelsen believes the team can 'sneak' some wins over the festive season as they bid to escape relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Harry Redknapp's side are six points from safety, ahead of home games against West Brom and Liverpool and an away match with Chelsea.

New Zealander Nelsen realises the severity of the situation – but believes the congested programme at this time of the year can work in their favour.

Belief: Ryan Nelsen (right) says QPR can sneak some wins at Christmas

Belief: Ryan Nelsen (right) says QPR can sneak some wins at Christmas

He said: 'We've got to start producing some points, hopefully starting tomorrow (against West Brom).

'We've been almost there in a lot of games but it's not good enough – we need some 90-minute performances.

'We've got to dig deep and play every game like it's our last and claw our way back.

'Over Christmas you can sneak wins because the games come thick and fast.'

Redknapp believes keeping the west London side in the top flight would rank as one of his biggest achievements in the game and Nelsen thinks the 65-year-old is the man for the job.

He added on Sky Sports News: 'If anyone can help you it's him. The players have the motivation but he's already made an impact through his man-management.

Time to shine: Harry Redknapp needs his players to get going

Time to shine: Harry Redknapp needs his players to get going

Boxing Day football memories: Sportsmail remembers the festive fun from past years

Boxing Day football memories: Sportsmail remembers the festive fun from past years

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 24 December 2012

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UPDATED:

10:12 GMT, 25 December 2012

While most of Europe sits back and enjoys a winter break, the English football season cranks up into overdrive over the festive period. Here, Sportsmail reflects on Boxing Day brilliance from the past.

Christmas cheer: Boxing Day traditionally throws up some classic encounters

Christmas cheer: Boxing Day traditionally throws up some classic encounters

Neil Ashton
Crystal Palace 2 Brighton 0, 1986

Alan Mullery was returning to Selhurst Park with his beloved Brighton – two years after he was fired as Palace manager.

This time he couldn't turn the south coast club's fortunes around and they ran into an upwardly mobile Palace team managed by Steve Coppell at the age of just 31.

The Eagles, playing in their legendary red and blue sash strip – this one produced by Hummel – went ahead through winger Alan Irvine, who is now David Moyes' academy director at Everton.

In front of just over 8,000 supporters Palace scored a second through former Aylesbury striker Phil Barber.

Matt Barlow
Sheffield Wednesday 3 Manchester United 3, 1992

Two of the best teams in the country produced a Boxing Day classic with 37,000 inside Hillsborough.

Boxing on Boxing Day: Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday played out a thriller in 1992

Boxing on Boxing Day: Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday played out a thriller in 1992

Boxing on Boxing Day: Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday played out a thriller in 1992

A David Hirst-inspired Wednesday were three up by half-time but United fought back with Cantona, whose legend was in its infancy, grabbing the equaliser six minutes from time.

United went on to win the Premier League and Wednesday suffered double cup final heartache to Arsenal.

Chris Wheeler
Everton 2 Man United 6, Boxing Day 1977

An Everton team going for the title were favourites at home to a United side languishing in 14th place in the First Division table – even more so because Paddy Roche was deputising in goal for the injured Alex Stepney.

It was asking too much for Roche to keep a clean sheet, and Martin Dobson and Bob Latchford scored for Gordon Lee’s side. But goals from Lou Macari (2), Steve Coppell, Jimmy Greenhoff, Gordon Hill and Sammy McIlroy gave United a comprehensive win in front of nearly 50,000 at Goodison and a Boxing Day to remember.

Dominic King
Liverpool 5 West Brom 0, 2004

Boxing Day is curious with regards football. There is always a crackle in the atmosphere at games and the mood is generally good but despite racking my brains, I'm struggling to remember one humdinger of a game that stands out above everything else.

Captain marvel: Steven Gerrard was on the scoresheet as Liverpool ran riot in 2004

Captain marvel: Steven Gerrard was on the scoresheet as Liverpool ran riot in 2004

Saying that, Boxing Day 2004 was pretty good. Harchibald won the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, Kicking obliged half an hour later in the King George and Liverpool then demolished West Brom in the evening kick-off, winning 5-0 with Jon Arne Riise nearly ripping the net apart with one thunderbolt.

Laura Williamson
Lincoln City 1-2 Grimsby Town, 2011

One of the genuinely good things about playing in the Blue Square Premier has been the emphasis on holding local derbies over the festive period.

It’s a fantastic way to increase attendances and attention while people are at home with their families over Christmas, which is why the programme is dominated by derbies again in 2012.

Grimsby's 2-1 win at Lincoln last year was a highlight (although not quite as sweet as the 3-1 in the ‘return leg’ on New Year’s Day): let’s have the same again this time around, please.

Neil Moxley
Birmingham City 3 Aston Villa 0, 1982

Looking at the record books, it was 24 hours after Boxing Day, but I think every Birmingham City supporter worth his salt remembers what took place in 1982 in the Second City derby.

Aston Villa were, after all, the reigning European Champions. Birmingham City were rooted to the foot of the old First Division.

However, that didn't stop over 40,000 supporters packing out the ground, including 6-7,000 Villa fans housed in the Tilton Road End of the ground. It made for a cracking atmosphere.

Goals from Noel Blake, the late Ian Handysides and a scrambled effort from Mick Ferguson unexpectedly lifted the Blues from the foot of the table.

Birmingham City had taught the reigning European Champions a lesson. It's not a sentence they hear too often at St Andrew's…

Janine Self
Blackburn 2 Aston Villa 1, 1998

Brash, cocky, utterly confident, John Gregory brought second-placed Aston Villa to Blackburn on Boxing Day 1998.

Upsetting the odds: Blackburn turned the tables on John Gregory's Aston Villa in 1998

Upsetting the odds: Blackburn turned the tables on John Gregory's Aston Villa in 1998

Upsetting the odds: Blackburn turned the tables on John Gregory's Aston Villa in 1998

Struggling Rovers had just
sacked Roy Hodgson and recruited Brian Kidd, who had made a decent start
although the appointment would turn out to be disastrous.

At
the time I was working in the north-west and Blackburn were one of 'my'
teams. In a season of unmitigating lows, this was a rare high.

Kevin
Gallacher and Tim Sherwood got the goals in a 2-1 win, aided by the
sending-off of Michael Oakes. Riccardo Scimeca scored for Villa.

My
memory Gregory was superbly entertaining in the post-match press
conference. And one year later, I had moved to the Midlands and Villa
had become one of 'my' teams. Strange world.

Sami Mokbel
Coventry 0 Crystal Palace 2, 2007

This is a bit of an obscure one, but it sticks in my mind because it was my first Boxing Day game as a working journalist.

It wasn't memorable, Palace cruising to a 2-0 win at the Ricoh Arena thanks to goals from Clinton Morrison and Paul Ifill.

Handily, I was covering the Eagles for a local newspaper which means post-match player interviews were a hell of a lot easier to come by. A pretty Merry Christmas all round.

Laurie Whitwell
Stoke City 0 Manchester United 1, 2008

A personal rather than professional memory for me, given I have yet to work a Boxing Day fixture.

Argy bargy: Carlos Tevez was the hero in the closing stages for Manchester United at Stoke

Argy bargy: Carlos Tevez was the hero in the closing stages for Manchester United at Stoke

The Britannia Stadium on 2008 was the setting and another stubborn performance from Stoke the context. United had just returned from winning the Club World Cup in Japan and were showing signs of jet-lag, with the score 0-0 into the final ten minutes.

No hangovers from Christmas indulgence in the stands though, with the atmosphere in both home and away sections particularly lively. A reminder of football’s raw pleasure.

When it seemed United would let two points slip, Carlos Tevez struck to send visiting bodies sprawling. A vital win on the way to a record-equalling 18th title.

Ian Ladyman
Everywhere

It’s
hard to be specific but part of my love of English football stems from
Boxing Days visits with my Dad to any one of the grounds in the
north-west close to where I grew up.

Deepdale,
Ewood Park, Turf Moor, Goodison, Anfield and Maine Road all got a visit
at one stage or another over the years. Turn up, pay on the gate, stand
(on tiptoes) on the terrace and go home again. Not quite as easy these
days.

Kilmarnock 1 Hibernian 1 – match report

Kilmarnock 1 Hibernian 1: Heffernan and Doyle strike as spoils shared at rain-soaked Rugby Park

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UPDATED:

17:10 GMT, 23 December 2012

Kilmarnock and Hibernian served up some decent festive fare before sharing the spoils in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at a sodden Rugby Park.

In an entertaining first-half played in almost constant rain, striker Paul Heffernan gave the Ayrshire side the lead in the sixth minute before Hibees hit-man Eoin Doyle levelled in 26 minutes with his third goal in two games.

While Killie defender Robbie Fowler made a goalline clearance from Paul Cairney just after the break, excitement levels dipped and thereafter neither side did enough to claim all three points.

However, both sets of players deserve
credit for playing in some miserable conditions, as did the 4,023 fans
who braved the conditions.

Out in front: Heffernan celebrates opening the scoring

Out in front: Heffernan celebrates opening the scoring

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels made one enforced change to his side with James Dayton coming into midfield to replace the suspended Liam Kelly.

The visitors, without skipper James McPake through suspension, showed two changes to their starting line-up with Lewis Stevenson coming in at left-back and midfielder Gary Deegan replacing Jorge Claros, who started on the bench.

Pat Fenlon's men, captained by Paul Hanlon and playing in all-yellow, found themselves behind early in the game after defender Alan Maybury had fouled Dayton 25 yards from goal when it looked as if he was favourite to clear Heffernan's poor cross.

Ben Williams made a fine save from Borja Perez's powerful free-kick but the Leith side failed to clear their lines and when Killie defender Michael Nelson put Heffernan in the Irishman skilfully lobbed the Hibs keeper from inside the box.

Stunned Hibs battled back but it was Killie who had the next chance in the 14th minute when Dayton's fine cross from the left found Heffernan but his header from eight yards slipped past the far post.

Moments later, Hibs striker Leigh
Griffiths fired a free-kick from 30 yards over Cammy Bell's crossbar,
before his low drive from similar distance sped past the post with the
Rugby Park keeper scrambling to cover.

Equal terms: Doyle celebrates (below) after bringing the two sides level

Equal terms: Doyle celebrates (below) after bringing the two sides level

Equal terms: Doyle celebrates (below) after bringing the two sides level

However, the visitors got themselves back on level terms after Heffernan lost possession in the centre circle with the ball breaking to Cairney.
The Hibs midfielder sent Griffiths racing down the right and his driven cross arrived at Doyle who did well to turn it at the far post.

Moments later, Heffernan had a drive deflected past for a corner from which the home side failed to capitalise before Doyle had a decent effort from 25 yards saved by Bell.

It was developing into an open game and in the 32nd minute Heffernan cleverly set up Jeroen Tesselaar inside a packed Hibs penalty area but the left-back's left-footed drive from 14 yards missed the target.

Four minutes from the break Killie escaped following a David Wotherspoon corner when Bell punched the ball in an attempted clearance and breathed a sigh of relief as it cannoned off Hanlon and back over the bar.

Ho, ho, ho! A first-aider gets into the Christmas spirit

Ho, ho, ho! A first-aider gets into the Christmas spirit

The Easter Road men should have taken
the lead just over a minute into the second-half when Doyle set up
Cairney in the box but his chip over Bell – when it looked like he would
have been better off blasting it – was headed off the line by Fowler.

There was little between the two
sides but Bell found himself called into action again when he had to
push a long-distance drive from Griffiths round the post for a corner
which, once more, came to nothing.

It looked as if something special
would be needed to find the winner and Kilmarnock defender Mohamadou
Sissoko almost provided it when he ventured up the park to have a go
from 35 yards but watched as the ball fizzed just past Williams' left-hand post.

Moments later, as the game continued
to flow from end-to-end, Cairney picked up a booking from referee Bobby
Madden for simulation after going to ground inside the box when taking
on Nelson.

In the 76th minute Chris Johnston
came on for Heffernan and Ivan Sproule replaced Wotherspoon as both
bosses looked for some inspiration.

However, while play was stretching by
the minute as the match entered its final stages, there was no clues as
to which side were most likely to find the winner.

In the 85th minute Williams spilled
Dayton's 25-yard free-kick before the Hibs defence eventually cleared to
safety but in the end both sides looked as if they had run out of steam
and thus, a draw was probably a fair result.

David Luiz free-kick joins David Beckham and Roberto Carlos on list of greats

Bolt from the Blue! Luiz joins Becks, Carlos and co… but which free-kick is the best

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UPDATED:

18:04 GMT, 23 December 2012

David Luiz silenced Aston Villa this afternoon with a spectacular free-kick, bundling lightening precision, the perfect dip and total confidence into his execution.

Appearing to almost side-foot it over the wall and forcefully into the back of the net, Luiz’s free kick is a must-watch.

His technique and finish are likely to be talking points for the festive week’s highlights, but did it take our breath away in the same fashion as Roberto Carlos against France or Cristiano Ronaldo against Portsmouth

Here is Sportsmail's picks of the free kicks.

Bolt from the Blue: Luiz scored a stunning free-kick

Bolt from the Blue: Luiz scored a stunning free-kick

Roberto Carlos v France (Tournoi de France, 1997)

Possibly one of the greatest ever goals –
never mind free-kicks – Carlos’s heartbreaker against France prompted
endless scientific analysis to evaluate whether or not the stunning
outside-of-the-boot, left-footed rocket was a fluke.

Physicians
determined he meant it, the violent swerve into the net to bounce in off
the post and everything, so nobody questioned it ever again.

VIDEO: Bend it like Carlos…

Jose Luis Chilavert v Argentina (World Cup qualifier, 1996)

Unsurprisingly the only goalkeeper on our list, Jose Luis Chilavert’s beautiful dispatch against Argentina for Paraguay in 1996 is sublime – if not one for the purists.

Maybe it’s also the bulldog on his jersey, and his lack of goal celebration practice, which makes this so entertaining.

VIDEO: Forget the free-kick, check out the celebration!

Michel Platini v Spain (Euro 1984 Final)

If only his politics could be quite so direct. Platini at his peak was something else, and his free-kick against Spain in the final was near-perfect, and when goalkeeper Luis Arconda spilled his effort, all it took was for Bruno Bellone’s late chip to secure the trophy.

VIDEO: Platini heaps pain on Spain…

Cristiano Ronaldo v Portsmouth (Premier League, April 2008)

His look-at-me, screaming celebration was replicated on calendars, t-shirts, mugs, more t-shirts… You name it.

Nobody wanted to forget the incredible way this masterful player lined up his shot from 30 yards, lashing the ball into the very top corner, the fact it earned him a brace within three minutes or his victorious reaction.

VIDEO: Cris of death from Ronaldo…

David Beckham v Greece (World Cup qualifier, 2001)

Called upon to avoid a Greek tragedy at all costs, Beckham’s 30-yard free-kick will always have a place in the history books. Curling it lethally past Antonis Nikopolidis, Becks not only booked England into the 2002 World Cup, avoiding a play-off, but perhaps achieved the zenith of his amazing career.

When he finally calls time on football, this footage is guaranteed to appear over and over again.

VIDEO: Becks spares England from Greek tragedy…