Neighbours' test on day of derbies

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The Independent Online
non-league notebook : While Christmas holiday local derbies are now the exception rather than the rule in the Football League and the Premiership, no such restrictions apply in the semi-professional game.

The pick of the pack of Boxing Day derbies in the Conference sees the leaders, Macclesfield Town, entertain Stalybridge Celtic and their former manager, Peter Wragg, at Moss Rose. Sammy McIlroy's Macclesfield team will be keen to rediscover the winning habit - their 1-0 defeat at Farnborough last weekend brought to an end their record sequence of 10 consecutive victories.

The defending champions, Kidderminster, play Bromsgrove on Boxing Day morning, which should attract a crowd of around 3,000 to Aggborough.

Guiseley, going well in the Northern Premier League, will have a new man in charge for Monday's Yorkshire derby against Frickley: Garry Watson, the former Bradford City full-back, who stepped up from assistant manager to replace Ray McHale following the latter's return to Scarborough this week.

One of the most eagerly awaited games will take place in Devon. Tiverton Town won the Great Mills League without losing a match last season, and were widely expected to retain their title with ease this season.

However, a strong challenge has come from the other team in the town, Elmore, who lead the league by one point from Tiverton and make the short trip to Ladysmead to face "Tivvy" at noon on Monday. Elmore, whose player-coach is the former Southampton midfielder, Eamonn Collins, are unbeaten this season, while Tiverton have lost just once. It may not be a day for neighbourly goodwill.

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