Dan shows he’s the man that can
DANNY Whitaker admits he’s not quite sure why he was on hand to score Macclesfield’s winner at Grimsby, but he’s glad he could earn his side a much-needed win.
The Wilmslow midfielder struck late in the day at Blundell Park to get 2015 going on a high and end what had been a fruitless Christmas run, squeezing in an 85thminute winner after Adriano Moke’s ball from the right had been handily parried into his path.
And after his late charge resulted in that vital goal, the veteran couldn’t say why he’d abandoned the notion of shoring up the middle and seeing out a creditable draw.
“I don’t know why I was up there for the goal, I’d just left my man and the rest is history really,” said the 34-year-old after the 2-1 win. “It was a good cross from Mokes and I made my run, he’s not stayed with me and I got it, that was it really.
“It’s a good start to the year, definitely – we needed a result at the end of the day, after the last two results we’ve had and we’ve gone and done that today.
“We knew we had to work hard and we knew we could more than match them and we’ve proved that.”
And his manager John Askey says that, while he’d have been happy to bring home a point, he knew there was a great chance of all three once that loose ball fell to Whitaker.
“Danny is a really good finisher, not only did he get the winning goal, he was terrific throughout,” said Askey of the local lad, who returned to his hometown team in the summer of 2013.
“He is a really good player and he’s one that we’re lucky to have – if he wasn’t living in Macclesfield we probably wouldn’t have him, I think we’re very fortunate.”
Although the Silkmen had fallen to a 4-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers in 2014’s final fixture they were perhaps more frustrated by their Boxing Day loss at home to Grimsby.
Then, former winger Jack Mackreth struck with what was just about the Mariners’ only chance of the game to end Macc’s invincibility at the Moss Rose.
And while the three points on the east coast provided sweet revenge for that loss, Whitaker feels it could have been four – or even six – points from the home and away clashes with their fellow play-off contenders.
“We deserved something in the first game,” he added.
“It was one of those games where there was nothing in it and if it was 0-0 everybody would have been happy with that but unfortunately it wasn’t.
“And there was nothing in the first half against Bristol until just before half-time and once they got that first goal it was always going to be a hard game to get back into.
“Unfortunately it proved to be that way, but we’ve come here and put a great shift in against Grimsby.
“The timing of the first goal at Bristol killed that game, we more than matched them, it was a set-piece that cost us and from then on it was always going to be tough.”
Many may have feared a point-free festive season when the fixtures had landed the two games against Grimsby – in fourth spot – sandwiching that unenviable trek down to second-placed Rovers.
And now that Macc have come through that three-game period relatively unscathed Whitaker remains confident that the 2014/15 season can still end in promotion glory that few, if any, could have foreseen before the campaign got under way.
“Christmas has been up and down, we knew it was going to be tough and obviously those two results weren’t great but we just got on with it and got the three points in that third game,” said Whitaker, who moved to Port Vale in 2006 but delighted the club’s supporters when he made his unexpected prodigal return ahead of last season.
Not quite as sprightly as the man that left the Moss Rose for the Valiants Whitaker was relishing the prospect of some rest and recuperation before their bid for a Football League return restarts on January 17 at Kidderminster Harriers.
“We’ve started the new year with three points and hopefully we can kick on, the play-offs are a possibility, definitely,” he said.
“There’s no team in this league that’s miles better than us, I’d probably say Barnet are a little bit stronger but apart from them all the teams can beat each other.
“I’m definitely looking forward to a break now, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We can get a few lads back who’ve been injured and the gaffer can maybe bring one or two in to boost us and then we can rest and go again.
“We’ve got Paul Lewis coming back and Will Haining has come on for a few minutes, he’ll be back in contention and it makes us a stronger squad all round.”
We needed that result at the end of the day
THE latest £100 winners of the Super Silk Lotto over the Christmas period have been announced.
The December 26
●● Danny Whitaker wheels away after scoring the winner at Blundell Park