...but for Luton and Scunthorpe the holiday is costly

Chelsea may have held their nerve but outside the Premiership two long-time leaders came down with the decorations as the Holiday period took a toll. On Christmas Eve Luton Town had a four-point lead at the summit of League One, Scunthorpe a seven-point cushion at the head of League Two. Both now lie second after rivals Hull City and Yeovil Town aped Chelsea in taking a maximum dozen points.

Having secured six points themselves Luton are still well-placed but they will be looking over their shoulders at Sheffield Wednesday. Their 10-point haul suggests Paul Sturrock's methods are beginning to take effect. Scunthorpe, however, managed just two points in four games. Perhaps Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at Chelsea has disrupted their focus.

As well as Hull they must now fear Swansea and Southend, who each gained seven points on the former leaders.

In the Championship Preston prospered most climbing five places to the fringe of the play-offs after taking 10 points from their four games.

Leeds United, having won nine points, also moved up five places. They can now start thinking about promotion rather than relegation, but Stoke fell five after winning a solitary point.

At the top Ipswich and Wigan, despite each losing twice, edged further clear having still out-performed their nearest challengers Sunderland and Reading. They both managed just four points from 12.

At the bottom, Cardiff and Brighton picked up an impressive eight points to ease their worries but Nottingham Forest, a point from safety heading into Christmas, are now five adrift.

In all three Football League divisions the same clubs occupy the relegation positions as before the holiday period. With all but Rotherham failing to gain even 50 per cent of the available points there are now gaps of four, three and six points respectively between the drop zone and safety.

Just one club of the League's 72, Cambridge United, failed to gain a single point and they only played three matches due to a postponement. Nevertheless, they now lie bottom of the League.

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