The Non-League Football Paper - - VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Mike Glendin­ning STAR MAN: Danny Whittaker (Mac­cles­field) ATT: 1,635 EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★ REF­EREE: Marc Ed­wards 5/10

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.”

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