Askey’s lead­ers

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - VANARAMA NA­TIONAL LEAGUE SHELDAN KEAY

MAC­CLES­FIELD Town re­main top of the Na­tional League ta­ble after a hard­fought vic­tory at home to Ebb­s­fleet United.

Mitch Han­cox got the only goal of the game shortly be­fore half-time to earn the Silk­men all three points at the Moss Rose.

Macc are now one point clear of sec­ond placed Dover Ath­letic in the ta­ble, and as­sis­tant man­ager Steve Wat­son is very pleased with the team.

“The most pleas­ing thing for me is that at the mo­ment is that last sea­son we had spells where we’d man­age two wins but we would still fail to get a run of form go­ing. Now we’ve got that run go­ing, the lads are con­fi­dent,” he said.

“Hope­fully they go into these games now be­liev­ing that they’re go­ing to win. With­out be­ing overly con­fi­dent it’s very good to have that be­lief that any game you go into you could win.”

Ebb­s­fleet had a su­perb away record head­ing into the game, hav­ing not lost an away game since Box­ing Day.

With that in mind, the vis­i­tors started the match well and went close after six min­utes when Danny Mills was de­nied by Sh­wan Jalal.

Macc be­gan to take over from that point on­wards, with Ge­orge Pilk­ing­ton and Han­cox both hav­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties as the half pro­gressed.

Jalal had to re­main alert at the other end though, and he was re­quired again to keep out a good ef­fort from Sean Shields.

It looked like the match would re­main goal­less at the in­ter­val, but Han­cox had other ideas as he made the break­through for his side on 42 min­utes.

Danny Whitaker’s cross into the box even­tu­ally fell to Han­cox, who smashed it home from close range to make it 1-0 to Mac­cles­field.

They al­most man­aged to dou­ble their lead mo­ments later when Whitaker fired a vol­ley to­wards goal, but his long-range ef­fort was caught by Nathan Ash­more.

The hosts had to set­tle for a 1-0 lead at the break, with both teams then hav­ing chances at the start of the sec­ond half.

Danny White­head fired an ef­fort straight at Ash­more, be­fore Shields was put through one on one at the other end, but Jalal made a bril­liant save to deny him and keep his side’s lead in­tact.

Ebb­s­fleet con­tin­ued to throw bod­ies for­ward as they tried to find an equaliser, with Jack Pow­ell’s free-kick go­ing nar­rowly wide of the goal.

The Silk­men man­aged to counter at­tack sev­eral times due to Ebb­s­fleet’s search for a lev­eller, and on one oc­ca­sion David Fitz­patrick’s shot was par­ried out by Ash­more, but White­head couldn’t tuck home the re­bound.

De­spite the Ebb­s­fleet on­slaught, Mac­cles­field’s defence held firm in the clos­ing stages as they pre­vented their op­po­nents from find­ing a goal, mean­ing they ran out 1-0 win­ners.

‘With­out be­ing overly con­fi­dent it’s good to have be­lief any game you go into you could win’

MAC­CLES­FIELD START­ING XI:

Jalal, Hodgkiss, Fitz­patrick, Lowe, Pilk­ing­ton, Dur­rell (Burgess 69’), Wil­son (Marsh 69’), Lloyd, Han­cox, White­head, Whitaker. Sub­sti­tutes not used: Rams­bot­tom, Kennedy, Arthur

Peter Hil­ton Pho­tog­ra­phy

Macc play­ers pre­pare for a set-piece

Peter Hil­ton Pho­tog­ra­phy

Macc cel­e­brate Mitch Han­cox’s win­ner

Peter Hil­ton Pho­tog­ra­phy

Mac­cles­field keep up the pres­sure on Ebb­s­fleet’s goal dur­ing Satur­day’s vic­tory

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