Off and run­ning

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - VANARAMA NA­TIONAL LEAGUE

MAC­CLES­FIELD kicked off their Na­tional League 2017/18 sea­son with a 1-0 vic­tory over Wrex­ham at the Race­course Ground on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The Silk­men worked hard to se­cure the points af­ter tak­ing a rel­a­tively early lead with a stun­ning Noe Baba strike, rid­ing their luck at times but putting in a solid de­fen­sive per­for­mance for the en­tire game.

Wrex­ham’s had the first chance of the game af­ter Ge­orge Pilk­ing­ton was pe­nalised for bring­ing down Paul Ruther­ford on the right-hand side. The sub­se­quent free kick was headed away by Pilk­ing­ton how­ever, who was keen to make amends for his mis­take.

Former Mac­cles­field man Chris Hol­royd was then put through on goal a cou­ple of min­utes later with a long ball over the top, how­ever his op­por­tu­nity was sniffed out by Keith Lowe who came across with a fine tackle.

The first goal of the game soon fol­lowed. With Wrex­ham ar­guably the stronger side of the open­ing min­utes, Noe Baba found him­self free in the mid­dle of the park with an eye for goal. His strike from 25 yards was driven hard, and beat the out­stretched Chris Dunn at his near post through sheer power.

With the hosts rocked Macc con­tin­ued to probe. El­liott Dur­rell did well to test the back­line on the 24th minute, with an in­ven­tive run down the right-hand side re­sult­ing in a whipped ball across the box that nar­rowly missed the head of Ryan Lloyd, be­fore fall­ing awk­wardly for the lurk­ing Ty­rone Marsh and bounc­ing out of play.

Hol­royd’s reunion with his former side was cut short af­ter suf­fer­ing what looked to be a tweak to the calf on the 34th minute. He was re­placed by Ntumba Mas­sanka.

The home side pushed hard for an equaliser as the first-half came to a close, with Keith Lowe be­ing forced into tak­ing com­mand­ing ac­tion on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions. He stood strong along­side Pilk­ing­ton though, and the two sides brought play to a close with Mac­cles­field lead­ing by a goal to nil.

Wrex­ham got the se­cond-half un­der­way but the pace of the game was short to that at the end of the first. Sam Wedg­bury went into the ref­eree’s note­book for a pass­ing col­li­sion with Burgess in the mid­field near the 50 minute mark, but frus­tra­tions be­gan to grow for the home crowd as the Silk­men con­trolled much of the game.

The fire burn­ing in the Dragons was strong though, and the in­ter­change from the for­wards only got bet­ter. The home side earned a cor­ner on the 65th minute which was nar­rowly cleared, and it was ev­i­dent Macc needed to take the game by the scruff once again.

With the vis­i­tors des­per­ate to add a bit of se­cu­rity to their lead, El­liot Dur­rell de­liv­ered a peach of a cross first time across the Wrex­ham box hav­ing re­ceived the ball on the right-hand touch­line. Marsh met the cross with equal qual­ity as he put the ball in the back of the net with a top qual­ity vol­ley, but he was ruled off­side and Mac­cles­field’s lead re­mained a slen­der one.

The ruled out goal was enough to lift the tails of the trav­ellers though, and an ex­tended pe­riod of pass­ing play in the 73rd minute saw Macc cre­ate a num­ber of chances. First Dur­rell de­liv­ered from the right to see his cross cleared, be­fore Baba struck from dis­tance to claims of hand­ball, and fi­nally Burgess put the ball over the bar with a curled ef­fort from just out­side of the box.

Lowe con­tin­ued his su­perb per­for­mance at the back as the ten­sion built to­wards the end of the game, with a num­ber of fine head­ers see­ing the Silk­men to safety.

The ref­eree’s de­ci­sion to show four min­utes of added time drew some ques­tions, but none that wouldn’t be matched by the Mac­cles­field de­fence as they saw out a suc­cess­ful start to the new cam­paign.

WREX­HAM:

Dunn, Jen­nings, Smith, Pear­son, Wedg­bury, Hol­royd (Mas­sanka 34’), Car­ring­ton ( Wright 87’), Ruther­ford (Mack­reth 75’), Kelly, Roberts, Bo­den. Subs: Dib­ble, Hurst, Mack­reth, Mas­sanka, Wright.

Jalal; Yates, Lowe, Pilk­ing­ton, Fitz­patrick; Burgess, Baba, Whi­taker; Dur­rell (Richards 81’), Marsh ( Wil­son 87’), Lloyd. Subs: Wil­son, Richards, Kennedy, Han­cox, Arthur.

6,118

MAC­CLES­FIELD: AT­TEN­DANCE:

Peter Hil­ton Pho­tog­ra­phy

Keith Lowe wins the ball from Chris Hol­royd

Peter Hil­ton Pho­tog­ra­phy

Noe Baba chal­lenges Scott Bo­den

Ty­rone Marsh cel­e­brates but the goal was dis­al­lowed

Peter Hil­ton Pho­tog­ra­phy

Macc sup­port­ers cel­e­brate the win

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