Macc out of luck
EMIRATES FA CUP FIRST ROUND PORTSMOUTH ................. 2 MACCLESFIELD .............. 1
MACCLESFIELD Town came up short in the FA Cup first round after suffering a defeat at League Two side Portsmouth.
Adam McGurk’s brace secured Pompey a tie in the second round, despite a resilient effort by the visitors.
His goals inside the opening couple of minutes and just before the interval were enough to hold off John Askey’s Macclesfield who were unlucky to not earn at least a replay.
Kristian Dennis’ strike gave the travelling support some hope after a misjudged throw in by Enda Stevens, but that wasn’t enough to see the Silkmen pick up a draw.
Portsmouth started the game well and McGurk made the breakthrough on three minutes when he latched onto a through ball and slotted past Shwan Jalal comfortably.
The Silkmen’s first chance came eight minutes in after a short spell of possession, with Paul Turnbull seeing his driven effort well saved by Brian Murphy.
Macc continued to push though and their hard work was rewarded when they drew level on 15 minutes.
Enda Stevens’ attempt to throw to Murphy was quickly closed down by Dennis, with the Portsmouth goalkeeper smashing the clearance against the striker, meaning it rebounded into the top corner to make it 1-1.
As Macclesfield looked to take the advantage in the game, Chris Holroyd found Danny Whitehead in space, but his longranged effort saw Murphy redeem himself as he pulled off a brilliant save.
Gareth Evans came close to giving the hosts a 2-1 lead when he tried his luck after creating room for himself in the area, with his effort cleared off the line by David Fitzpatrick.
Challenges were starting to fly in as the half progressed and Pompey received the first yellow card of the game after a very late challenge by Kyle Bennett on Holroyd.
It looked like the two teams would head into the interval all square but McGurk doubled the lead for the home side in first half stoppage time.
Stevens played a driven cross inside the area and the ball found its way to McGurk, who smashed home to make it 2-1 to Portsmouth at the break.
Danny Whitaker almost brought Macc back into the game just minutes into the second half as a cleared corner fell to him outside the area, but his Bcurling effort was parried over the bar by Murphy.
Moments later Dennis had a glaring opportunity to bring the Silkmen level again as a deflected clearance fell kindly to him. Unfortunately his halfvolley from just inside the box flew over Murphy’s goal, with the home side continuing to live a charmed life.
Jack Sampson and Paul Lewis replaced Whitehead and Turnbull as Macclesfield piled on the pressure. Sampson almost made an immediate impact after a deep cross by Fitzpatrick was headed into the side netting by the substitute.
As the game drew to a close, Pompey substitute Marc McNulty came close to adding a third, however his header from sevenyards out flew straight over Jalal’s net.
In the last minute of the game the Silkmen had a glaring opportunity to make it 2-2 when the ball fell kindly to Whitaker just inside the area but his effort went the wrong side of the crossbar.
It meant Portsmouth managed to hold on, con- demning Macclesfield to defeat and knocking them out of the cup.
Jalal, Halls, Pilkington (Byrne 45’), Diagne, Fitzpatrick, Whitaker, Whitehead (Lewis 75’), Turnbull (Sampson 74’), Holroyd, Rowe, Dennis Subs not used: Branagan, Cowan, Meikle, Churchman
●● David Fitzpatrick looks dejected after Pompey’s first
●● David Fitzpatrick keeps close tabs on Gareth Evans
●● Macc players celebrate Kristian Dennis’ goal at Fratton Park on Saturday