Lichfield City will end 2023 third in the league, after racking up three more points at home against Tividale.
Dan Smith and Jordan Clement both scored to take Lichfield within eight points of the top spot in the league as they head into the new year.
Ivor Green made three changes to the starting 11 from Tuesday’s defeat away at Dudley. Kieran Francis, Matt Hunt and Alex Ryder came in to replace Lewi Burnside, Jamie Elkes and Jude Taylor.
Lichfield’s latest recruit, Louis Baker, made the bench.
16th place Tividale won their last fixture at home against Wolverhampton Casuals and are in desperate need of points if they are to stay clear of the drop zone before the end of the season.
Lichfield, on the other hand, looked to use today’s game to cement their position in the playoff places.
Both sides tested one another during the first half, but neither were able to find an opener.
Luke Childs’ early run from left back allowed the ball to be sprayed out wide to Kirton, who won Lichfield their first corner of the game, which was then cleared by the visitors.
Soon after, Jack Edwards volleyed his effort over the bar, as he tried to make the most of a ball into the box from the left.
James Beeson was forced to produce a massive save after just 10 minutes, when he tipped a powerful Tividale effort over his own crossbar; and was then called into action again as a yellow shirt struck the ball goalwards from the edge of the box.
Dom Lewis’ headed effort narrowly missed the bottom right-hand corner of the Tividale goal before the referee blew his whistle for half time.
Jordan Clement came on after the interval, with the intention of offering more stability in the middle for Lichfield.
City finally found the opener that they had been searching for, as Dan “Wonder” Smith etched his name on to the score sheet for the 22nd time this season. Kieran Francis stepped forward from right back and hit his cross right onto Smith’s boot for him to caress past the keeper.
City then came close again to doubling their lead, but Lewis’ run in behind was deemed offside by the linesman.
Jack Edwards was also denied just a few minutes later, as his shot was blocked in front of goal.
City then defended two more corners well, as Hunt and Josh Wykes showed their dominance in the box.
Ivor Green called for the numbers board to signal a change with 15 minutes to go, and Smith made way for Baker to make his Lichfield City debut.
Tividale were able to break down the right in search of a late equaliser and won themselves a free kick just outside the box, but Lichfield were able to defend their lines yet again.
Baker showed glimpses of the quality that he can provide for City, as he broke in behind the Tividale defence on several occasions and managed to bag himself the assist for Lichfield’s second.
In similar style to the first goal, Francis hit his cross into the box from the right, into the path of Baker. His touch set up Clement, for him to strike home from the edge of the six-yard box.
The second goal all but confirmed the win for City, as they finished 2023 on a high.