Imps cast aside as Macc march on
MACCLESFIELD’S incredible season goes on, with a second-half performance seeing Lincoln overrun and manager John Askey purring. And well he might. His side despatched Lincoln City to take second in the title race, an injury-time third seeing Bristol Rovers overhauled by the merest of margins.
Strikes from Denny Johnstone, Paul Lewis and Matthew Barnes-Homer exacted some revenge for defeat in the reverse fixture and moved Askey’s men level on with the Pirates but looking down on them by virtue of scoring more goals.
Askey was forced to replace the injured Danny Whitaker, Will Haining starting in the midfield. Otherwise it was ‘as you were’ from the previous week’s fine win at Kidderminster.
For their part, Lincoln came to the Moss in good form but couldn’t match up to a sterling secondhalf show from their hosts.
They fielded five former Silkmen in the ranks, including Nat Brown and Hamza Bencherif at centre-back, charged with marshalling Macc’s lone striker, Johnstone.
The two familiar foes traded blows throughout the first half but were unable to create any serious hardship for the goalkeepers. That was until seven minutes before the break.
At that point Adriano Moke elected to take matters into his own hands. His shot on goal was deflected handily into the path of charging rightback Andy Halls.
When he chanced his arm his low effort was turned in by the lively Johnstone, who’d finally evaded the attentions of his markers.
Lincoln had perhaps had the most possession to that point but although Delano Sam- Yorke turned Jake Caprice’s cross wide of the near post and also saw a curling effort go over the bar, they turned around a goal in arrears.
And that deficit was doubled seven minutes into the second half.
Macc skipper Paul TTurnbull’s corner caused havoc in the Lincoln defence and although last week’s halfway line hero Waide Fairhurst thought he’d netted a more routine – and for ‘routine’, you may certainly read ‘scrappy’ – goal Lewis got the final touch from virtually on the goalline.
Both players, staked their claim for the goal, sprinting off in opposite directions with arms raised but the young midfielder was credited with his fourth of the season.
That seemed to spell the end of the Imps’ challenge, although Brown headed one chance onto the top of the bar.
Lincoln’s best chance also fell to an ex-Silkman, Ben Tomlinson, but he lost a crucial one-on-one battle with Rhys Taylor.
Robinson’s pass split the defence for the first time but Taylor, making his 100th appearance for the club, charged out to make a great block.
And his opposite number Paul Farman then kept Lincoln in it with an inspired double save, parrying Johnstone’s pointblank range header and saving Barnes-Homer’s follow-up.
Farman’s efforts proved in vain though, and Barnes-Homer slid in a third to not only add insult to injury for Lincoln, but also move Macc into second place in the table.
“I was pleased with the performance, we battled when we needed to battle and then when the game
Topened up we got the ball down and created a lot of problems for Lincoln so it was as good a performance as we’ve had all season,” said a delighted Askey, who remains cautiously optimistic of hunting down the leaders, eight points ahead after their win over Southport.
And if Barnet think the title’s wrapped up then that’ll suit Askey just fine.
●● Macclesfield’s Paul Lewis claims the second goal in the victory over Lincoln, with Waide Fairhurst having to settle for another assist