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
Macc players prepare for a set-piece
Macc celebrate Mitch Hancox’s winner
Macclesfield keep up the pressure on Ebbsfleet’s goal during Saturday’s victory