TADCASTER Albion and Pickering Town are preparing for an intriguing New Year’s Day showdown.

The two Northern Premier League north/west division sides go into the contest off the back of somewhat differing form, Pickering sitting at the foot of the table and Taddy chasing a play-off spot.

But the Pikes have enjoyed a small resurgence of late, winning three of their last five in all competitions. Their two league wins in two weeks were more than they had mustered in the previous months since the start of the season.

Their Boxing Day trip to high-fliers Marske United was postponed due to areas of the pitch being unplayable, so have had one more day’s rest than the Brewers, who went fourth following a 0-0 home draw with Brighouse Town last time out.

One man who is keen to test Pickering’s new-found mettle in the “big” games is boss Denny Ingram.

He said: “They don’t come any bigger than Marske and Taddy.

“They’re two local teams with local pride, and they’re strong teams to test yourselves against.

“They’re the games you want to be involved in - you want to be playing the big games.”

Ingram has been both a player and assistant manager at Taddy, before following then boss Paul Marshall from Albion to Pickering.

Pickering enjoyed a good pair of results last season against Taddy, who also spent last season chasing a play-off place. Josh Greening’s 77th-minute finish gave the Pikes a 1-0 win at Ings Lane and they were only denied a league double over the Brewers by Aiden Savory’s late equaliser in Ryedale. Danny Earl had opened the scoring six minutes from time, but he has family commitments over the festive period.

For Taddy on Thursday, boss Paul Quinn took no chances with Andy Milne, who is recovering from a knee injury and kept him on the bench.

The opening 20 minutes saw both sides cautiously testing one another, with Tad looking as though they had higher gears to reach.

The first chance fell to Brig before a Jack Walters long clearance was moved onto by Jake Day, but Donald Chimalilo could not capitalise.

Alex Wiles put Lebrun Mbeka through on the quarter-hour but keeper Jordan Porter got to it first.

Midway through the first half, Taddy had their theretofore best chance. Alfie Beestin’s corner was met with a bullet header from Jack Vann but a Brighouse head got in the way and the ball was eventually collected by Porter.

A miscued clearance from Porter gave Beestin an opportunity from the halfway line, but he put it just wide.

Jake Day headed wide under pressure from Walters free kick and from a long Ingham clearance, helped along by Mbeka, was through for a one on one but Porter again got their first. Beestin launched a speculative effort from 20 yards but Porter was ready and waiting.

Following an explosive restart from the Brewers, Wiles was through for a one-on-one, which Porter kept out against the odds.

The tenacious former Hyde United man Adam Porritt battled hard and found Beestin, who moved the ball on to Day, but the shot was over the bar.

Porritt then robbed a Town defender near the corner post but his dangerous cross eluded the front runners and another chance went begging.

On 55 minutes Walters pulled off a brilliant block as Khan teed up a close-range shot and Joe Jagger had a good effort ruled offside.

On 70 minutes, Brighouse had their best chance to break the deadlock when substitute, Alhassane Keita dribbled beyond two Brewers defenders and, with Ingham to beat from close range, side-footed it wide.

From a Beestin cross, Chimalilo found Mbeka on a run into the box but the shot was well over. Chimalilo had a chance with six minutes of normal time remaining but Santos’s cross was too high for him to control.

As the final whistle beckoned, Day did well to collect a long Ingham clearance and set up Santos but the shot was weak. Wiles set up Beestin for a 20-yard effort, pushed away by the apparently unbeatable Porter around the post. From the second successive corner Jack Vann headed for goal but the Town keeper had other ideas.

After having enjoyed a bright start to term, Selby Town's standing in Northern Counties East League division one is now down to eight place following a 0-0 stalemate at table-toppers Skegness Town.

It was a well-deserved point that the much-changed Robins battled to, but the last game of the centenary year - and the decade - was hardly a classic.

The Selby back four acquitted themselves magnificently and ensured keeper Pete Lawrie was rarely called upon throughout.

At the other end, the Robins used their pace to good effect, the chief blight on the game being the injury to Charlie Clamp.

Selby next play host to fifth-placed Glasshoughton Welfare on Saturday, January 4.