Play-offs drift­ing

Macclesfield Express - - SPORT - VANARAMA NA­TIONAL LEAGUE

ASH THORNTON-JONES

MACCLESFIELD Town’s run without a league win stretched to seven games af­ter they were held to a goal­less draw at rel­e­ga­tion- threat­ened Altrincham.

The re­sult left John Askey’s men 12th in the Na­tional League, 11 points off fifth-placed Tran­mere Rovers and in­creas­ingly un­likely to con­tent this sea­son’s play­offs.

It was a quiet match, with the teams have just two shots on tar­get be­tween them, mean­ing they had to set­tle for a share of the spoils.

Af­ter head­ing into the game in poor form, trep­i­da­tion among John Askey’s men should’ve per­haps been ex­pected, but against equally out-of­form op­po­nents, the trav­el­ing Silk­men would’ve hoped to have seen their team test the host’s re­silience more.

Paul Turn­bull hit the bar and Kris­tian Dennis forced a smart save from the oth­er­wise untested Tim Deasy, but the vis­it­ing con­tin­gent – who re­mained in good voice de­spite the lack of en­ter­tain­ment in win­try con­di­tions – had lit­tle else to shout about.

Altrincham teenager Josh Gin­nelly did his best to get the home fans on their feet from the off, but de­spite get­ting the bet­ter of Andy Halls for much of the game, his pace and ath­leti­cism was not matched with a fin­ish­ing touch.

The 18-year-old was equally as ca­pa­ble go­ing down the line or cutting in­side, but when he did the lat­ter on 12 min­utes, his long-range ef­fort was de­flected wide harm­lessly.

Soon af­ter on the other flank, Ryan Crowther danced through the Macc back four, but his goal­bound shot was blocked by a sea of bod­ies to the re­lief of the beaten Sh­wan Jalal.

It was not all one-way traf­fic though, and when Dennis’ header was han­dled by Mar­cus Hol­ness on the edge of the box, the vis­i­tors were given their best chance of the half to open the scor­ing.

Turn­bull al­most de­liv­ered with a sweetly taken free-kick, but his ef­fort was just a few inches too high as the cross­bar came to the hosts’ res­cue.

Dennis then had a chance to add to his 22 league goals al­ready notched this sea­son, but the Stock­port loa­nee’s turn and shot was palmed around the post just be­fore the break.

Seem­ingly con­tent with their sides’ open­ing half, nei­ther man­ager made changes at half-time, but a rare beam of sun­shine did greet the play­ers on their re-en­try to the pitch.

The change of fore­cast was not sym­bolic of what was to come though as nei­ther side were able to dom­i­nate the game from the restart.

When the benches were called upon, it was at­tack­ing changes that were made; firstly Damien Reeves fresh­en­ing up the home side’s at­tack on the hour mark, and it had the de­sired ef­fect.

Within sec­onds, he had a chance to score, but when sent through on goal, the 30-year-old hes­i­tated amidst the ex­pectancy of an offside flag.

It didn’t come, and Jalal was af­forded enough time to re­spond to the sub­sti­tute’s ad­vances on goal.

Macc then re­sponded by bring­ing on Chris Hol­royd, but he was wasted as a wide man in a front three, whilst much of Dennis’ ef­forts con­tin­ued to go into chas­ing down long balls.

Whether that was how Askey planned to utilise his star man from the off,

Simon Pen­drigh

●● Paul Turn­bull went close to break­ing the dead­lock

PHPHOTOGRAPHY

●● Ac­tion from Macclesfield’s game against Altrincham at the week­end

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