Nor­burn keeps

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - RUS­SELL EDGE

FA TRO­PHY SEMI-FI­NAL FIRST LEG MAC­CLES­FIELD .............. 1 TRAN­MERE ROVERS ..... 1

THE cup dream is still alive for Mac­cles­field Town, as they came from be­hind to se­cure a 1-1 draw at home to Tran­mere Rovers in the first leg of the FA Tro­phy semi-fi­nals.

Ol­lie Nor­burn’s sec­ond half strike can­celled out Tran­mere’s early goal and en­sured that the Silk­men visit Pren­ton Park on level peg­ging with their op­po­nents, who might feel for­tu­nate to have left Moss Rose with a draw.

Town man­ager John Askey named an un­changed team from their 2-0 win over Dul­wich Ham­let, but saw his side get off to the worst pos­si­ble start in front of a crowd of 2,358.

In the open­ing minute, Neill Byrne was ad­judged to have brought down James Nor­wood in the box and ref­eree Peter Wright had no doubts in point­ing to the spot, much to the de­light of the 903 trav­el­ling fans.

Lee Hughes stepped up and although his spot kick hit the in­side of the left­hand post, it looped into the net to give Rovers a very early lead.

The vis­i­tors dom­i­nated the open­ing pe­riod as Mac­cles­field re­cov­ered from the blow of the early goal, and a cross from the left saw Adam Bux­ton’s ef­fort cleared by Ge­orge Pilk­ing­ton.

How­ever, Town be­gan to find a foothold in the game, and were un­lucky not to see them­selves level on ten min­utes.

David Fitz­patrick’s cross was headed onto the un­der­side of the bar by Rovers de­fender Steve McNulty and ref­eree Wright de­cided that the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

As the 20-minute mark ap­proached the Silk­men be­gan to dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion and the Tran­mere de­fence had to be res­o­lute to re­pel a se­ries of crosses and cor­ners which pep­pered their box.

Mac­cles­field too had to be wary as Tran­mere them­selves threat­ened, Nor­wood head­ing over from a nar­row an­gle following a cross from deep which evaded the heads of the Silk­men de­fend­ers.

Ten min­utes be­fore half time, Kings­ley James slipped a ball through to Chris Hol­royd and his ef­fort from a nar­row an­gle dipped un­der Rovers keeper Scott Davies, but was cleared as it rolled to­ward the goal.

The half ended in feisty fash­ion with three yel­low cards shown in as many min­utes, all for sep­a­rate in­ci­dents.

Tran­mere’s Michael Ihiekwi was first in the book for a trip on the right wing, Andy Halls joined him a minute later for a rash chal­lenge in mid­field and Steve Jen­nings earned his for a high boot on Luke Sum­mer­field as tem­pers threat­ened to boil over.

The sec­ond half be­gan in less dra­matic fash­ion than the first, nei­ther side find­ing the time or space to set­tle on the ball to cre­ate any mean­ing­ful chances.

Mitch Han­cox had the first ef­fort af­ter 53 min­utes, his curl­ing ef­fort beat­ing both keeper and post as it drifted just wide of the left hand up­right.

Tran­mere threat­ened with a low ef­fort from for­mer Mac­cles­field loa­nee Con­nor Jen­nings, but just min­utes later the Silk­men grabbed the goal they de­served.

A long ball into the Rovers box wasn’t cleared and the ric­o­chet fell to the feet of Ol­lie Nor­burn, who slid the ball un­der Davies from 12 yards to level the scores, his fourth goal of the sea­son.

Tran­mere could have taken the lead on the hour mark had it not been for Town keeper Flin­ders, who made a smart save to deny Nor­wood, hav­ing bro­ken through one-onone.

The fi­nal twenty min­utes saw both sets of play­ers seem­ingly tire on a well-worn pitch, and

Conor Mol­loy

Rhys Browne is blocked off by Michael Ihiekwe

Conor Mol­loy

Kings­ley James gets in a cross

Conor Mol­loy

Ol­lie Nor­burn cel­e­brates

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