York out to replicate results
MACCLESFIELD Town may have finished 12 places above their FA Trophy final opponents – but York City will still take confidence from the season’s record going into the game.
The Silkmen finished off in a respectable 9th place, while the Minstermen suffered relegation to the Conference North despite picking up a point against now promoted Forest Green Rovers on the final day.
But in the two games between the teams in the league season, York have come out on top – here we reflect on how they did the double over Macc: TUESDAY, August 9: York 1-0 Macclesfield
You have to back to York’s home debut to find the first time that these two came together in the Conference.
Recently-relegated York came out on top but it was a game where Town could have come away with a point or more.
Matt Fry scored the decisive goal in the match, but he knew very little about it as an attempted clearance cannoned off him and into the net early in the second half.
Danny Rowe, Danny Whitaker and Jack Sampson all could’ve given the Silkmen the lead in the first half.
John McCombe came close to equalising in the second half against his former club but having beaten the goalkeeper, he was denied by the post.
Chris Holroyd and Jack Mackreth couldn’t get past York ‘keeper Scott Flinders late on before Simon Heslop nearly added what would’ve been a cruel second in stoppage time. TUESDAY, March 28: Macclesfield 1-3 York
While August’s result against York was slightly harsh on Macclesfield, the return leg loss at Moss Rose could leave them with no complaints.
Heslop put the visitors in front early on with a sensational strike from 25-yards.
York were 2-0 up within 15 minutes as Vadaine Oliver got in on the act. Macc were given a lifeline in the second half when a penalty was slotted by Whitaker, but a long throw was scrambled in by Jon Parkin.
KINGSLEY James will be hoping to lift the FA Trophy for the second season running after he enjoyed success in the competition last year.
James was part of the Halifax side that beat Grimsby 1-0 in the 2015/16 final, before then making the switch to Macclesfield in July.
Last year’s final was memorable to James for several reasons, and he’s desperate to come out on top once again.
“It was a great achievement last season. It came the day after m y wedding day so it was a great weekend,” James told the Macclesfield Express. “Unfortunately I didn’t start the game and instead just played the last 30 minutes, which I was disappointed with as I’d practically played every minute of every game up to that point. “This year’s match has fell on my anniversary so my wife will be joining me at Wembley. I’m excited to be in the final again and we’re going down there to win it.” It was a mixed campaign fo r James’ Halifax side last season, as while they may have lifted the FA Trophy, they suffered relegation from the National League. It’s the same scenario that Macclesfield’s opponents, York City, find themselves in this weekend, with the team already preparing for life in the National League North after finishing in the drop zone. With that in mind, James believes he has a good idea how the York players will be feeling ahead of the game at Wembley. “It can go one way or the other. You can be really down and disappointed and come with no energy and be lethargic or you can come and not care what happens and just enjoy the occasion,” he said.
“It worked in our favour last year as we went and enjoyed it and we lifted the trophy. It was overwhelming as the stadium was a lot bigger than I thought it would be but the atmosphere was really good.
“Going in and seeing the stadium the day before and taking it all in will benefit you. I wasn’t able to do that last year as I had my wedding but the other lads took it in and it led to us winning.”
James’ experience at Wembley could prove crucial to Macclesfield in the game, and he has revealed that some of his team-mates have been quizzing him on what to expect.
“They’ve asked a few questions but there’s not much I can say to prepare them as it is just so overwhelming,” he said.
“Everybody will underestimate how big it is and the atmosphere and the pitch, so they’ll forget everything I’ve said by the time we’ve stepped out.
“We just need to call on the experienced players to lead by example. The likes of Danny Whitaker, George Pilkington, John McCombe and Scott Flinders have all played at a higher level so are used to the big crowds, big stadiums and big atmospheres.
“I think with their experience they will help the other players around them relax and find their feet a bit. Danny Whitaker’s experience will especially come in handy as he’s ancient so he’s probably played at the old Wembley!
“We’ll need everybody in the team performing though. All 11 players that are out there will need to work hard as a group to win us the trophy, it won’t be one individual that will win it.
“When we’ve games comfortably won this season it’s when we’ve all worked hard and put everything in, so we need to do that again.”
Macclesfield have an impressive history in the FA Trophy, having won the trophy on two previous occasions in 1970 and 1996.
They were also beaten finalists in 1989, with current manager John Askey part of those squads in 1989 and 1996.
James is well aware of the Silkmen’s previous successes in the competition, and he hopes to make it another memorable day this weekend.
“We know all about the club’s history in the FA Trophy, so it’s important for us to realise that in years to come people will still be talking about this moment if we bring it back,” he said.
“It means a lot to the club and the players and it’s going to be a great day for everybody involved.
“The fans deserve it and people at the club deserve it too as there are some great people here.
“We’ve all worked really hard this season to get to this point. It’s been intense and we’ve played a lot of games because of the cup runs we’ve had, so it’s going to be a good way to end the season.”
Macclesfield had to battle hard to reach the final of the FA Trophy, beating the likes of Forest Green and Tranmere along the way, but James has revealed the win against lower league side Dulwich Hamlet was just as satisfying.
“The Dulwich game was a tough fixture. They’ve got some good players and it was hard going down there,” he said.
“It was really windy and they had a good crowd so to get through that and get them back at the Moss Rose made it a big game.
“When we played Tranmere in the semi-finals I thought both games against them we deserved to win.
“Even in the first game I thought we deserved to win. They got a dubious penalty that got them off to a great start but I thought we controlled the game from then on.”
Along with their FA Trophy run, Macclesfield also had a decent season on the league front, having finished in ninth place.
One of their final league matches of the season came against champions Lincoln City at Sincil Bank, with more than 10,000 fans in attendance.
Midfield star Kingsley James in action for Macclesfield