AFC in final as Nomads sent packing
AFC Macclesfield escaped the bad weather on Saturday to come up against the current Cheshire League champions, Linotype Cheadle Heath Nomads, in the semi-final of the Stockport Senior Cup.
It was the third time the two teams had met in the last four years with Linotype winning the two previous encounters.
The game started slow with both teams easing their way into the game.
The game burst into life when Macclesfield’s Jack Banister side stepped his way through two of the opposition players, only to be brought down on the edge of the box; Jonny Cavanagh stepped up to take the free kick but his effort skimmed off the top of the crossbar.
Linotype started to get a foot into the game but they couldn’t find a way through with the Macclesfield defence remaining focused and organised, soaking up anything Linotype could throw at them.
With 44 minutes on the clock, Scott Wright broke out with the ball from defence and played in Jack Banister who brought the ball under control and skipped his way into the opposition penalty box.
The Linotype fullback had no answer to his wizardry and he was brought down. With no hesitation, the referee pointed to the spot.
Skipper Greg Mathers stepped up to the mark and smashed the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
After the break, Macclesfield came out of the blocks quickly knowing a second goal was vital, but it was Linotype who had the first chance but Macclesfield’s keeper Dom Chell, was equal to it.
A quick release by the keeper found Greg Mathers who went one on one with the on rushing Linotype goalkeeper and Mathers delicately chipped the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Inevitably, Macclesfield sat back to defend their lead and their defence stood firm with Mike Byrne and Chris Holland at the forefront of the defensive duties.
Manager Ed Haslam was forced into two changes.
Ash Flood, who with Sam Williamson, had controlled the midfield, picked up a knock and James Wheeler, who’s on going groin problem proved too painful to continue, were replaced by Chris Coppenhall and Harry Wheetman.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Linotype got themselves back into the game when they were awarded a penalty after a challenge by Pat Walker.
Linotype converted the penalty and also the goal they needed to mount a late challenge to try and take the game into extra-time.
Almost from the restart, Jonny Cavanagh went through on goal and with one Linotype defender to beat, he was brought down inside the box, with what looked like a certain penalty.
The referee didn’t agree and he booked Cavanagh for diving!
With only a few minutes left on the clock, Linotype had a huge opportunity to level the game.
The opposition striker managed to weave his way into the box and with the goal gaping, Scott Wright made an unbelievable last ditch tackle to keep the game at 2-1.
The referee added six minutes of injury time and after a nervy last few minutes, Macclesfield made it into their first ever cup final.