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Match Roundups

Sky Bet Football League Team of the Week

31 December 2014

We pick out 11 top performers and a manager from Sky Bet Football League matches over the Christmas period.

Goalkeeper: Joe Lewis (Blackpool)

Lewis’ Blackpool may have taken just one point from a possible six over their two Christmas outings, but the goalkeeper displayed some pure brilliance between the sticks. He saved from the penalty spot against Rotherham to help earn them a point, and pulled off a string of fine stops in the narrow 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

Defender: Keith Lowe (York City)

Lowe helped keep two clean sheets in three days as York recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season, and the defender was the match-winner on Boxing Day when he scored the only goal of the game against Accrington Stanley. His heroics at both ends mean the Minstermen have moved up to 18th in Sky Bet League 2, four points clear of safety. 

Defender: Andy Butler (Doncaster Rovers)

Doncaster have gone undefeated in three fixtures over eight days in the festive period, and Andy Butler has been crucial to their success at the back, where Rovers haven’t conceded a goal. Butler also notched one at the other end for his side last Friday, when he broke the deadlock after just two minutes against Coventry City.

Defender: George Friend (Middlesbrough)

Middlesbrough were one of just four sides to keep two Championship clean sheets in the last week, and George Friend was integral to their solidity. The 27-year-old helped keep out Nottingham Forest and Blackburn, and even got on the scoresheet against the former, with a towering header from a corner.

Midfielder: Bradley Johnson (Norwich City)

Johnson certainly enjoyed a successful holiday period on the pitch for Norwich, after he netted three times in two games. His brace in the 6-1 rout of Millwall at Carrow Road was followed by a consolation in the 2-1 loss to Reading, and he's now scored seven for the Canaries this term, with five of those coming in his last four matches.

Midfielder: Dany N'Guessan (Port Vale)

It's been a happy Christmas overall for Vale's N'Guessan, after he responded to signing a new contract by posting two strong performances. His most notable contribution came in the Boxing Day triumph over Sheffield United, when he created one and scored the other in the Valiants’ 2-1 victory. His performance was praised by manager Rob Page

Midfielder: Harry Arter (Bournemouth)

Arter made it five goals in five games for Bournemouth, who breezed to a maximum points tally for December. His late goal against Fulham confirmed a 2-0 win for the Cherries on Friday, while a strike on the cusp of half-time also proved enough to down Millwall by the same scoreline two days later.

Midfielder: Danny Mayor (Bury)

Mayor continued his strong goalscoring run for Bury with two goals in two wins, against Northampton and Mansfield, including the all-important winner over the struggling Cobblers. Those strikes made it three goals in his last four outings for the Shakers, who now sit outside the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off places on goal difference only.

Striker: Andy Williams (Swindon Town)

Williams took his goal tally in all competitions this season to 15 following his three strikes in two games, against Walsall and Port Vale. His two against the Saddlers rounded off a demolition job from Mark Cooper’s men, while his match-winning header at Vale was crucial to Swindon's title-chasing campaign. 

Striker: Chris Dagnall (Leyton Orient)

Dagnall was instrumental to Orient's strong Christmas period, as his brace against Crawley and opening strike at Yeovil helped them secured back-to-back wins. Success in their last two outings will see them begin 2015 clear of the Sky Bet League 1 drop zone.

Striker: Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town)

Murphy notched three goals in two Championship games this week, as Ipswich registered a maximum amount of points in their final three games of 2014. His strike against Charlton on Tuesday was his 17th of the campaign, and he remains out on his own as the division’s most prolific talisman. 

Manager: Neal Ardley (AFC Wimbledon)

Ardley has steered AFC Wimbledon to a strong run of results throughout December, which has seen his side defeated just once. A 2-0 win at Portsmouth and a 4-1 mauling of Exeter on Sunday were the two latest victories for his Dons, who now sit 11th, only four points adrift of the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off places.

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