Styche takes centre stage with hat-trick
MACCLESFIELD ran out comfortable winners over Gateshead on Good Friday after a Reece Styche hat-trick inspired his side to victory.
Styche was lively from the offset, and the first real chance of the game fell to him when a clearance from Gateshead keeper Sam Russell was closed down by the striker, but his follow up was saved.
He made amends moments later though when a long ball over the top once again caused Russell problems, allowing Styche to round the goalkeeper and smash the ball into the empty net.
The Silkmen were now well on top and a flowing passing move saw skipper Paul Turnbull and Jack Sampson combine before Turnbull forced Russell in to a good save.
From the resulting corner, Macc doubled their lead. Danny Rowe whipped in a cross and after the ball ricocheted around the Gateshead box, it fell to Styche who scored to make it 2-0 after just 23 minutes.
The visitors were fully into their stride and Sampson nearly made it 3-0 as his powerful shot forced a good save from Russell.
Gateshead needed to change something and boss Neil Aspin introduced Danny Johnson to replace Michael Onovwigun after just 24 minutes.
Macclesfield were still on top despite the Gateshead change and they nearly got a third when Danny Whitaker headed wide.
Gateshead rarely threatened during the first period but they did have a half chance just before the break.
John McCombe reacted quickly to clear a dangerous attack and from the resulting corner CJ Hamilton smashed an effort over as the Silkmen went in to the break with a two-goal lead.
Macc started the second half in similarly bright fashion with Whitaker going close, but they had to be alert at the other end when Johnson fired over from the edge of the box for the home side.
●● Hat-trick hero Reece Styche celebrates with Jack Sampson