The Silkmen slipped to defeat at Spotland this afternoon as two first half goals and an injury time third handed league leaders Rochdale all three points.
The Silkmen did have a good early chance after 10 minutes as Ricky Sappleton raced on to a throughball only to be scythed down. The player looked through on goal, but a yellow card was the only punishment. But Ricky's game was over as he limped through the next few minutes before being replaced by Ben Wright.
His first action was in front of Jon Brain's goal, heading a corner clear. Junior Daniel's turn and shot was then deflected wide, but shortly afterwards the Silkmen lost another key player.
It was a clumsy tackle from behind which sent Hamza Bencherif sprawling and the player immediately looked in a lot of pain. With jeers ringing around the stadium from 'Dale fans, he was stretchered off the pitch with what was later discovered to be a badly broken ankle.
This clearly unsettled the Silkmen and within five minutes the home side were 2-0 ahead. First a ball over the top was chased down, and Paul Morgan charged off the ball before a low cross let Atkinson put the ball away.
The second goal, three minutes later had a huge slice of luck as Brisley's clearance cannoned off a Dale forward, and couldn't have fallen kinder for Wiseman, who made no mistake from close range.
The Silkmen had a chance at the other end when Sinclair lifted the ball past his marker, but hit his shot too close to the 'keeper.
With the home side enjoying a comfortable position, the second half was lacking in incident but Sinclair should have put the Silkmen a goal closer to parity as he beat the offside trap, but misjudged his header and nodded into the arms of the 'keeper instead of lifting it over him.
The Silkmen were down to 10 men with 20 minutes to play as Shaun Brisley was the last man, fouling a home forward. It was a very similar situation to the foul that had seen Sappleton limping out of the game, but this time the official showed a red card.
Emile Sinclair then took a kick and was limping before being replaced by Matthew Tipton, again to the jeers of the home crowd and Jon Brain had to be on form again as a cross from the left was met by a close range shot, but the Silkmen stopper was up to the task.
But the third goal finally came, again from a left-wing cross which left Taylor with a close range chance to make it 3-0 with the last kick of the game.