Imps cast aside as Macc march on

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS - VA­NARAMA CON­FER­ENCE

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.

Si­mon Pen­drigh

●● Mac­cles­field’s Paul Lewis claims the sec­ond goal in the vic­tory over Lin­coln, with Waide Fairhurst hav­ing to set­tle for another as­sist

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