Silkmen left to rue missed chances
MACCLESFIELD Town suffered a narrow defeat on their travels to Braintree’s Cressing Road as Sammie Szmodics’ goal was enough to claim all three points for the home side.
The first half of the game was a back-and-forth battle from the first whistle, and Macc produced plenty of goal scoring opportunities but were unable to convert their chances.
However it was Danny Cowley’s team who prevailed through Szmodics’ second half strike, which pushed the Iron up into the play-off spots.
The Silkmen began the game in a compact and composed manor as they searched for a way to carve out a chance on goal. Their patience was nearly rewarded on a number of occasions as Kristian Dennis looked to run in behind.
With 18 minutes played, Macclesfield were into their groove as top scorer Dennis came close to putting the Silkmen ahead.
A lack of concentration from the Braintree defence saw Dennis win possession, however his shot was parried away by Will Norris from close range.
Macc continued to press forward as the ball came to Dennis in the box soon after, yet this time he lost his footing just before he could deliver the end product.
With just under half an hour played, Braintree had their first dangerous counter attack. The ball broke through to Szmodics, but Shwan Jalal rushed out to clear the danger.
The Iron then came close a minute later as Chez Isaac unleashed a stinging shot from distance, but Jalal was equal to it with a smart save down to his right hand side.
With 32 minutes gone the game was beginning to open up with more chances and this time it was Danny Whitehead who came agonisingly close to giving Macc the lead from distance, as his strike flashed past the far post.
Paul Turnbull found himself in a dangerous area as the first half came to a close. He managed to thread a pass into Dennis who went down in the box, however the referee saw nothing in it and the first half ended with the scores at 0-0.
Braintree came close to starting the second half with a bang as Szmodics’ cross was bundled in, however the linesman flagged for offside.
Turnbull then had two chances to break the deadlock in quick succession. Neat work from Lindon Meikle on the right hand side set the attacks in motion, however both of Turnbull’s attempts were lashed over the bar from the edge of the box.
With 15 minutes left in the game, Szmodics chased down a loose ball and forced Jalal into a mistake, allowing the Braintree attacker to slot the ball into an empty net.
Macc’s best chance to equalise fell to Whitehead inside the box, good work from Danny Whitaker set Whitehead free, but Nor- ris was quick to react and was able to block his driven effort.
The Silkmen continued to press throughout the four minutes stoppage time but unfortunately they were unable to find what would’ve been a deserved goal.
Jalal, Halls, Pilkington, Diagne, Fitzpatrick, Holroyd (Lewis 77), Whitaker, Turnbull (Styche 78), Whitehead, Meikle, Dennis. Subs not used: Branagan, Cowan, Churchman
●● Shwan Jalal’s slip let in Braintree’s Sammie Szmodics for the winning goal at Cressing Road