Redcar Athletic hit the road on Boxing Day, facing a first competitive bout with Boro Rangers.
A day so synonymous with the footballing calendar, Boxing Day is renowned for producing the spectacular.
From the wildest of scores in 1963, to the most startling of upsets, the festive aftermath is almost as important as the big day itself for many embroiled in the sporting cult.
This year, Boxing Day has offered the Steelmen the treat of a first competitive bout, and one that could perhaps spark the emergence of a new local rivalry.
Redcar Athletic travel to the infant Phoenix Park, tasked with sinking a spirited Boro Rangers in response to two consecutive home defeats.
What’s asked is far from easy, as the juvenile club is yet to fall from atop the wave of back-to-back promotions.
Here’s everything you need to know about this morning’s Boxing Day affair with a youthful Boro Rangers…
WHO ARE YA?
Formed in 2003, Boro Rangers have occupied the senior footballing pyramid for as little as nine years.
In such time, the club have known nothing but success, clinching promotion to the North Riding Premier Division in their inaugural campaign, and claiming a sensational seven straight league titles once there.
Rangers monopoly over the North Riding met a welcome end last season, as a successful application for promotion propelled the club into the Northern League.
Division Two proved the briefest of stops, as Boro topped the league at the first time of asking, courtesy of a final day victory over title rivals, Horden.
Plying their trade in Division One this season, the club opened their new home on Lacy Road during the month of October.
The ground boasts a £500’000 state-of-the-art 3G pitch, and also houses the well-esteemed T6 academy in which Middlesbrough FC are involved.
DID YOU KNOW: Now relocated to Phoenix Park, the ground is the first to host Northern League football in Middlesbrough for over 100 years.
Whilst admittedly staring down the barrel of one of the favourites for the title, Redcar’s defeat to Shildon marked growing concerns over three straight matches without a win.
The gruelling loss to the Railwaymen came on the coattails of a stinging derby defeat to East Cleveland rivals, Guisborough Town, a bitter evening marred further by flared tempers.
WATCH | Redcar Athletic 1-2 Guisborough Town
As for Boro Rangers, this afternoon marks the second in a festive treble on Lacy Road, all potentially classed as brewing rivalries.
Rangers were held to a four-goal draw by Guisborough Town in the build-up to Christmas, their only points dropped in a four game fruitful streak.
If Saturday bore any success, Gary Forster is free from the headache of any extra suspensions, a distinct rarity in a season plagued by sporadic poor discipline.
Club captain Anthony Bell remains confined to the sidelines, but as far as direct action goes, he is alone on the naughty step.
Injuries may however play a part in the boss’s team selection later this morning, with many ‘touch-and-go’ following Saturday’s game.
Adam Wheatley is certain to miss the Boxing Day affair, facing a prolonged hiatus on account of a broken foot.
The stalwart central defender could be joined by both Oscar Fletcher and James Sayer, both of whom have existing injuries at risk of keeping them out.
Liam O’Sullivan was also absent from the Shildon meeting, a further doubt for the team sheet this morning.
Joining us this Boxing Day? Here’s all the information you need to know about our early morning trip to Lacy Road…
FINDING PHOENIX PARK
A ground still very much in its infancy, Phoenix Park is situation on Lacy Road in Middlesbrough.
The ground is near to James Cook University Hospital, and can be found on a map using the postcode TS4 3JW.
Admission into Phoenix Park is priced at £7 for adults and £5 for concessions, whilst under-16s face a reduced fee of £3.
Gates will open at around 9:30am, an hour and a half ahead of kick off at the earlier time of 11am.
A matchday programme will be available for the fixture.
FOOD AND DRINK
Refreshment facilities are available at Phoenix Park, but may lie outside the pitch enclosure.
Redcar Athletic recommend fans bring cash to all away fixtures, although card payments are usually accepted.