UTRECHT, December 19 (Eredivisie) - FC Utrecht finished 2004 on a winning note as they saw off Den Bosch thanks to a solitary goal from Hans van der Haar.
Van der Haar struck nine minutes into the second half to lift Utrecht up to sixth place heading into the winter break, level on 28 points with fifth-placed Heerenveen.
For Den Bosch, the defeat is yet another setback in what has been a disappointing campaign so far and they will enter the festive period third from bottom and still searching for their first away win.
Utrecht have endured mixed fortunes of late and they came into the match having suffered their fourth consecutive UEFA Cup defeat in midweek.
And they seemed to be suffering a hangover from that 2-1 home defeat to Austria Vienna at the start of this match as Den Bosch enjoyed the better of the early skirmishes.
After five minutes Peter Uneken saw his header from Charlie van den Ouweland's free-kick saved by home goalkeeper Rene Ponk before Koen van de Laak fired an effort just wide of Ponk's goal seven minutes later.
Marcel Cas went even closer after 15 minutes when he struck the Utrecht woodwork following a cross into the area.
Utrecht finally managed to mount an attack on the Den Bosch goal in the 21st minute, when they created two chances in as many minutes through Dave van den Bergh and Van der Haar, whose spectacular overhead kick flashed inches over the crossbar.
Van der Haar can consider himself unlucky not to have scored with that effort, but there was no denying him at the start of the second period.
The much-travelled striker turned Uneken inside the area before firing the ball past Martijn van Strien and into the back of the net via the inside of the far post.
Uneken had a chance to draw his team level just after the hour mark but he hit the crossbar from 10 yards out, summing up another miserable afternoon for Henk Wisman's side.