Whit hits winner to cheer new year
VANARAMA CONFERENCE GRIMSBY TOWN ........... 1 MACC TOWN .................. 2
DANNY Whitaker kicked off the new year with Macclesfield merrily on a high, netting a late winner to down Grimsby Town.
The midfielder struck in the dying minutes to add to Denny Johnstone’s firsthalf goal and avenge the Silkmen’s Boxing Day defeat.
Johnstone had capitalised on his opening on the half-hour and although Macc were pegged back before the break Whitaker’s late goal for his hometown team gave them a victory that takes them past manager John Askey’s 50-point target – with 17 games still to play.
Although George Pilkington almost edged the visitors in front 19 minutes in, his goalbound header came off the still-outstretched arm of goalkeeper James McKeown, who’d misjudged his punch from a Paul Turnbull free-kick.
At the other end Daniel Parslow failed to hit the target when he was unmarked in the box and Jon-Paul Pittman also wasted a great chance, steering the ball wide after his strike partner Lenell John-Lewis had picked him out from the byline.
And moments after that miss Macc did find a goal. Perennial assister Waide Fairhurst once again had a hand in it, as his ball across was palmed by McKeown to the feet of Johnstone. He made no mistake, crashing in from eight yards for his second Silkmen goal.
However, the lead lasted just seven minutes as the Mariners cashed in on a slip from Turnbull. The Macc captain – who missed Sunday’s defeat at Bristol Rovers through illness – lost his footing as he tried to clear his lines, and the ball fell for Pitt- man, who drilled it beyond Rhys Taylor and into the bottom corner of the goal.
The upturn in wind and rain after the break saw a downturn in the freeflowing football and fewer openings. The game looked to be heading for what would perhaps have been a fair share of the spoils but with four minutes of normal time left, Whitaker pounced.
Adriano Moke fired a low ball across goal and once again McKeown gave the visitors a helping hand, sending it to Whitaker, who’d left his marker in his wake and he finished neatly from a tight angle.
Turnbull almost sealed the win with a third inside four minutes of injurytime but although McKeown stretched high enough to snatch his chipped effort out of the air Macc saw out the win for a welcome first three points of 2015.
Taylor, Halls, Grant, Pilkington, Barrow, Moke, Turnbull, Whitaker, Gnahoua (Rowe 71), Fairhurst (Barnes-Homer 79), Johnstone (Haining 89).
MACC: SUBS NOT USED: GRIMSBY:
Branagan, Cowan. McKeown, Bignot, Pearson, Parslow, Thomas, Mackreth, Brown, Clay (McLaughlin 87), Arnold, Pittman (Hannah 67), John-Lewis ( Watson 76).
SUBS NOT USED:
●● Denny Johnstone (above, right) celebrates with Paul Turnbull and Adriano Moke after his opening goal but it was left to Danny Whitaker (below) to score a late winner at Grimsby