Too much turkey? Too many mince pies? Still mulling over wine and the content of Edward Snowden's alternative Queen's Speech? No idea. But for the first twenty minutes Salford City players were almost spectators as Ramsbottom United ripped through the defence like a kid clawing wrapping paper on Christmas Day.
Three nil down, thanks to slips, blips and ball watching, Ammies fans feared the worst. Every time Ramsbottom attacked they looked likely to score even more. Then something clicked. This wasn't Barcelona, this was friggin' Ramsbottom with steam trains going past, 1940s carols being played on the pre-match pa, and a nil atmosphere from the home support…
…Mark Battersby, a latter day saviour in a tangerine shirt, brought the Christmas miracle alive… Bang! His shot from the edge of the area rocketed home! 3-1! ... Bang! His shot from the just inside the area rocketed home! 3-2!
…Hark! The feral angels sang: `4-3…We're going to win 4-3'…
And then… And then…It all went sour, as Ammies' left back James Moss fell awkwardly. There was an anxious wait as physios ran on with silver blankets and worried expressions. Moss was carried off with a broken arm. The half withered to a close, soundtracked by the air ambulance helicopter whirring overhead.
It got even worse for Salford early in the second half, Ramsbottom making it 4-2 with a header from a corner. Mark Battersby went close to his hat-trick, stinging the keeper's hands with a close range shot, but the Ammies were always chasing the game with a weakened team.
As the clock ran down, Ramsbottom got a penalty and made it 5-2. And, at the final whistle, keeper Kieran O'Boyle limped off with what looked like another nasty injury.
Not a good day for Salford City. And the run that has taken them to tenth in the table has come to a close. With Darlington away on Saturday and Radcliffe Borough at home on New Year's Day the Ammies will be lucky to patch a team together. Bad Santa, indeed…
Photos by Gareth Lyons
Main photo shows Mark Battersby hammering in the first goal