Melton Town will kick off 2022 looking for three points at party poopers Newark.
The reverse match at the Sports Village - Town’s first home contest since their summer promotion on their new 3G surface - saw the visitors spoil the party in front of a bumper crowd.
Despite Melton enjoying the better of the contest, Danny Meadows grabbed a late winner to secure Newark three points.
Town haven’t played since December 11’s 1-1 draw with league leaders Long Eaton due to cases of Covid in the squad.
But manager Tom Manship can’t wait to get going again on Monday (KO 3pm).
“We’re looking forward to it,” he said. “Hopefully the lads are fully recovered.
“We played really well (against Newark) and didn’t get the result - that’s football. It’ll be an interesting game between two good teams.”
Melton ended 2021 ninth in the United Counties League Premier Division North, with games in hand on a number of teams above them.
With the side at the halfway point of their first season at step five, Manship is happy with where the club are - but wants them to finish strongly.
“We’re in a good place,” he said.
“Performances are good and we’ll go into every game feeling confident.
“It’s a good league, its competitive. You don’t get any gimme games, you can’t just turn up to win - it’s not like that in this league.
“Every game’s a test and every game you have to be on it. If you’re not on it you get punished. It’s what we’ve learned this year.”
Manship added: “I’m happy, especially with playing away for 12 or so games, getting used to a new league, the highest standard Melton’s seen.
“All those things, to be where we are in the table at the halfway stage is pleasing.
“Moving forward, we want to improve on what we did in the first half of the season.
“If we can beat that points tally (26 points from the opening 17 games) it’s an improvement.
“We know more about the other teams now, but that works both ways.
“They’ll be more used to how we play as well.”