A MAN celebrating the last day of work before the Christmas holidays was murdered with a single punch to the face, a court heard.

Daniel Hogan was hit with such force that the nasal bones in his face fractured, Francis McEntee, prosecuting, told a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

At the start of the trial the court was told how Mr Hogan and his colleagues from Saddleworth Plant Hire had finished work for Christmas on December 21 last year and gone out celebrating in Oldham.

"It would seem that by 11pm that evening, like many that day, Mr Hogan was drunk," said Mr McEntee.

"Added to that, he had become separated from his friends."

By the end of the evening 34-year-old Mr Hogan found himself in Uppermill.

"To be frank, members of the jury, he was making something of a nuisance of himself," said Mr McEntee.

The court heard that, in High Street, Mr Hogan was approaching people, asking them if they could supply him with cocaine.

Two men he asked were Michael Nield and Daniel Forster, both aged 24, who then got "embroiled in an argument" with him.

"It was an argument that developed into an assault, during the course of which each of those men punched the unfortunate Mr Hogan," said Mr McEntee.

Forster, of Ashfield Crescent, Springhead, Oldham, hit Mr Hogan over the back of the head. He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

But Nield, of Society Street, Shaw, is said to have punched Mr Hogan in the face. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died the next day. Nield denies murder.

The court heard that, after initially coming across Mr Hogan, the pair had agreed to "batter" him if he continued being "cheeky".

Witnesses coming out of the Commercial pub saw the confrontation between the two men and Mr Hogan outside neighbouring Uppermill Methodist Church.

Mr McEntee told how Nield pushed Hogan, who muttered, "you think you're being clever?" before walking back to the two men, who set about the victim.

"It happened really quickly," said Mr McEntee.

"He was in no fit state to defend himself."

A witness saw the attack.

"He describes the defendant Nield using all his body weight, striking Mr Hogan with his right arm, punching him to the face with a lot of force," said Mr McEntee.

"It was this that caused Mr Hogan to stumble backwards and hit the ground flat on his back."

Nield and Forster then ran off.

The trial continues.