MACCLESFIELD Town moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy after picking up a big win against Forest Green Rovers.
Danny Whitehead’s deflected effort was the only goal of the game to earn the Silkmen the win at the Moss Rose against one of the favourites for National League promotion.
They now move into the last eight of the competition, where they will take on either Braintree or Dulwich Hamlet, and those two teams were set to meet as the Express went to print on Tuesday.
John Askey named an unchanged team for the game against Forest Green, but it was the visitors who were livelier in the opening stages.
They had a big chance inside the opening 10 minutes when Jake Gosling found space and saw a shot smash against the post, with Kingsley James then on hand to clear the danger.
Forest Green were controlling possession, but against the run of play Macclesfield struck when Whitehead found the net.
His curled shot took a deflection off a Forest Green defender and went into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to the Silkmen.
Macclesfield goalkeeper Scott Flinders had to be alert as Forest Green looked for an instant reply, punching away a long-range attempt from Ethan Pinnock, before then making a superb fingertip save to deny Daniel Wishart.
Mitch Hancox almost doubled Macc’s lead on 36 minutes after getting on the end of a pass from Danny Whitaker, but his powerful shot was punched away by Sam Russell.
The rebound fell to Whitehead, but he shot against the post from close range when he should have done better
Macclesfield’s lead remained intact as the second half got underway, with the home side then turning to their substitute’s bench as Whitehead was replaced by Rhys Browne.
The Silkmen defence was holding firm to deny their opponents, restricting Forest Green to longrange efforts.
One of those came from centre back Mark Ellis, who had a 40-yard attempt go well wide of the goal.
Askey was then forced into another change when Anthony Dudley suffered an injury, with Richie Wellens coming on in his place.
It was another substitute that nearly contributed when Forest Green brought on Keanu MarshBrown, as he was superbly denied by Flinders, who was proving to be the difference for Macc.
The away side continued to pile on the pressure as they looked for an equaliser, but they were struggling to get their efforts on target.
Liam Noble sent a free kick wide on 70 minutes, before Wishart then did the same a couple of moments later.
Chris Holroyd had the chance to wrap up the win for Macclesfield late on when he was through one on one, but Russell managed to deny him with his feet.
Forest Green threw plenty of bodies forward in the final moments as they desperately tried to get back on level terms, but it wasn’t to be as Macclesfield were able to hold on and pick up the 1-0 win.
“I couldn’t ask for any more off the players.
“They worked hard and defended really well against a very good team,” said Askey.
“We were limited to very little chances but we did have the better ones so it’s really pleasing.”
Flinders, Halls, Byrne, Pilkington, Fitzpatrick, Hancox, Whitehead (Browne 58’), James, Whitaker, Dudley ( Wellens 61’), Holroyd. Subs Not Used: Ross, McCombe, Perel
Kingsley James races forward for Macc
Danny Whitehead fires the winning goal
Macc keeper Scott Flinders commands his area under pressure from Forest Green’s attack