A real hair-raiser

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS -

VA­NARAMA CON­FER­ENCE MACC TOWN .................. 2 AL­TRIN­CHAM ................ 1

IT may have been third time lucky for Macclesfield but their victory over Al­trin­cham came at the ex­pense of thou­sands of watch­ers’ fin­ger­nails.

Macc had coasted to a two-goal lead but once Al­trin­cham got back into it only a man­ful rear­guard ac­tion pre­served their three points, cour­tesy of strikes by Matthew Barnes-Homer and Adri­ano Moke.

Manager John Askey had rested his cap­tain Paul Turn­bull but a three­man mid­field of Lee Bell, Paul Lewis and Danny Whi­taker ran the open­ing 45 min­utes. But since they never fully cap­i­talised they were left cling­ing on at the end, with Askey vis­i­bly re­lieved af­ter the ‘hair-rais­ing’ fi­nale.

Al­trin­cham barely made it over the half­way line in a first half dom­i­nated by Macc. The only sur­prise when the half-time whis­tle blew was that they held only a one-goal lead.

That came from the head of Barnes-Homer, half an hour in. The striker evaded his mark­ers and nod­ded in a per­fect­lyflighted cross from Scott Barrow.

Be­fore that point Alty had been hold­ing out – just – as Macc saw Lee Bell drive wide of the mark, keeper Stu­art Coburn some­how deny Barrow’s shot on the run and Gian­luca Hav­ern turn a fierce ef­fort from Whi­taker over the bar.

Whi­taker, don­ning the arm­band in Turn­bull’s ab­sence, had a big hand when Macc did dou­ble the lead, four min­utes af­ter the restart.

Rowe, Macc’s bright­est spark of the night, fed Barnes-Homer, who in turn gave the ball to Whi­taker in a crim­i­nal amount of space.

Although he could have gone for goal him­self he in­stead opted to lay a per­fectly-weighted pass for Moke, who buried his first-time fin­ish with­out break­ing stride.

No one could have pre­dicted just what a turn­around in em­pha­sis that would trig­ger though.

Moke’s goal – his third of the sea­son – should have been game over but the Robins ral­lied and halved the lead just af­ter the hour mark, sub­sti­tute Kyle Perry forc­ing over the line af­ter Shaun Dens­more’s free kick had caused havoc in the box.

That goal sig­nalled a fran­tic fin­ish, with Alty ap­ply­ing ev­ery bit as re­lent­less pres­sure as they’d been un­der for the first 50 min­utes.

Perry was only de­nied a sec­ond goal by the off­side flag as Macc des­per­ately strug­gled to clear their lines.

James Lawrie, scorer of Alty’s late win­ner in the first en­counter, left his shoot­ing boots at home, send­ing his open­ings high and wide and far from hand­some, and mo­ments be­fore in­jury-time Tay­lor res­cued his side with a fine stop to deny Damian Reeves at close quar­ters af­ter an­other of Lawrie’s shots fell kindly for him af­ter a block from the streched de­fence.

And that wasn’t the end of the heart-stop­ping mo­ments, as Dens­more was also thwarted by Tay- lor and Simon Rich­man’s poor fin­ish went wide.

But Macc some­how held out to take victory and gain some re­venge for the two pre­vi­ous de­feats to their close ri­vals.

“In the first half we were ter­rific and should prob­a­bly have gone in more than one up,” said Askey af­ter­wards. “At the end we were lucky to hold on to the 2-1 but it’s re­ally pleas­ing to get the re­sult.

“It’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be like that un­til the end of the sea­son. Hope­fully they won’t all be as hair-rais­ing as that but I’m sure it’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing and nail­bit­ing and I hope we can come out on top.”

Tay­lor, Cowan, Grant, Pilk­ing­ton, Barrow, Whi­taker, Lewis, Bell, Moke, Barnes-Homer, Rowe (Hol­royd 78)

Brana­gan, Fairhurst, Lavelle-Moore, Thorne.

Coburn, Dens­more, Hav­ern, Mar­shall, Grif­fin, Lawrie, Wil­liams (Perry 46), Moult, Rich­man, Crowther (Crowther 78), Reeves.

Leather, Par­ton,

MACC:

SUBS NOT USED:

AL­TRIN­CHAM:

SUBS NOT USED:

Swift.

Do­minic Sal­ter

●● Matthew Barnes-Homer (above) scored the opener and Adri­ano Moke (be­low) the sec­ond in Macc’s derby win over Al­trin­cham

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