SIR ALEX’S PEP TALK INSPIRES MACC BUT FLEET FLUFF LINES
SINCE Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, John Askey is the only manager working at a ground where a stand bears his name.
And in front of the former Manchester United boss, Askey's Macclesfield troops grafted in the Cheshire torrents to take a fourth-straight victory that keeps them ahead of the pack.
“It was hard work,” admitted assistant boss Steve Watson. “We knew it was going to be tough but we defended quite calmly.
“Sir Alex came in to see the players before the game, he’s a person we all aspire to and to have arguably the greatest club manager that’s ever lived here is inspiring for the players.”
Whatever was said before kick-off did have an effect as Macc were deserved leaders at halftime, courtesy of Mitch Hancox’s strike three minutes before the break. Scott Wilson couldn’t force
home man of the match Danny Whitaker’s low cross, but Hancox was the first to react to the loose ball, slamming into the roof of the net.
Ebbsfleet had had openings too; Sean Shields going closest after a twisting run, Shwan Jalal eventually saving. Jalal also rescued the leaders midway through the second half when Shields was homing in on goal, spreading himself well to make the block.
While Macc relied on efforts from distance, the Fleet pushed hard late on, sacrificing left-back Jack Connors for an extra attacker in Aaron McLean.
But, with centre-backs Keith Lowe and George Pilkington imperious, the Silkmen held out to take the points and keep their place at the National League summit.
Ebbsfleet boss Daryl McMahon admits he cannot wait to have a few more bodies available, saying: “We had a few chances where we probably should have scored and taken something today,” he said.
“I thought we handled them quite well and limited them to shots outside the box, I was pleased with how we played.
“We should have three or four back in this week; we’re missing a lot and we’ve done well to pick up the points we have.”