EMIRATES FA CUP FIRST ROUND WALSALL .......................... 0 MACCLESFIELD .............. 1
MACCLESFIELD Town produced a stunning upset to defeat League One side Walsall at the Banks’ Stadium and move into the second round of the FA Cup.
John McCombe’s firsthalf header was enough to earn the Silkmen the victory against a side two divisions above them.
Macc were the only non-league side to beat an EFL team over the weekend, with John Askey’s side now set to take on Oxford United at the Moss Rose in the next round.
Walsall went close in the opening stages of the match when right-back Joe Edwards threatened on two occasions.
First he saw a long range effort go well wide of the goal, before then forcing a save out of Macclesfield goalkeeper Craig Ross a few minutes later.
The Silkmen were just as dangerous at the other end, and they almost made the breakthrough when Jack Sampson got on the end of a pass from Andy Halls, but he couldn’t get a shot on target.
Macc continued to push forward though and their hard work was rewarded when they managed to open the scoring after 23 minutes.
Paul Lewis was fouled outside the box, allowing Danny Whitaker to fire a free-kick towards the near post, where McCombe was on hand to head in and make it 1-0.
That goal appeared to give Macclesfield a boost and they nearly doubled their lead when Danny Rowe’s powerful effort was superbly kept out by Etheridge.
David Fitzpatrick was the next Macc player to have an attempt on goal, but once again Etheridge managed to make the save and keep the scoreline the same.
Askey’s men had to be alert at the other end, as Ross punched away Erhun Oztumer’s strike on 38 minutes.
Scott Laird then smashed a shot wide for Walsall just before the interval as Macclesfield carried their lead into the second half.
Macc made a change during the interval, with Mitch Hancox coming off the bench to replace Neill Byrne.
It was almost a perfect start to the second half for the visitors as Sampson capitalised on a mistake from Etheridge, but his shot hit the post.
Walsall almost got back on level terms just before the hour mark, but Simeon Jackson and Jason McCarthy were both denied by Ross to keep his side in front.
Macclesfield nearly doubled their lead when Paul Lewis fired a longrange effort wide, while Oztumer also hit a shot off target at the other end.
Ross then kept out a shot from Laird, before substitute Amadou Bakayoko saw his effort from distance drift wide of the post.
The Silkmen had chances to put the match beyond doubt in the closing stages, as Whitaker’s right-footed shot was narrowly off target.
Kingsley James then almost scored a speculative effort for the away side in stoppage time, but it wasn’t to be.
It didn’t matter in the end, as Macclesfield managed to hold on to pick up the superb victory and earn themselves a place in the second round of the FA Cup.
Ross, Halls, Fitzpatrick, Byrne (Hancox 45’), Pilkington, McCombe, Lewis, Sampson, Rowe, James, Whitaker. Subs not used: Branagan, Mackreth, Holroyd, Sutherland, Roberts, Madeley.
Paul Lewis takes one on the knee during Macclesfield’s FA Cup first round win at Walsall
Macclesfield players applaud the fans following the FA Cup first round win against Walsall
Macclesfield supporters celebrate the FA Cup win against Walsall