Skipper Paul Turnbull’s dramatic 89th minute drive earned Macclesfield all three points against fellow promotion hopefuls Woking at the Moss Rose.
Macc led at the break through Matthew Barnes-Homer, but after Dean Morgan equalised in the second half, the game looked destined to end a draw before the captain’s late winner sent the home fans wild.
Andy Halls returned at right back for the home side, replacing Alex Grant, to give Macc a first choice back four alongside Pilkington, Hogan and Vanarama Player of the Month Scott Barrow.
It was the second placed visitors who started the game the stronger side and in the opening ten minutes Macc could barely get out of their own half. In the second minute Joey Jones smashed a shot just wide of the near post from 25 yards following a mix-up between Halls and Chris Holroyd.
The away side continued to press, however Macc went in front from their first real attack of the match. Danny Whitaker picked the ball up in space just outside the box, before shifting it onto his left foot and firing in a low effort which was parried out by Ross Worner into the path of Barnes-Homer following up. The striker made no mistake in forcing the rebound in from six yards out for his third of the season.
In the 23rd minute Worner came out for a Turnbull corner and got nowhere near the ball, however Barnes-Homer couldn’t direct his header goal-wards and the keeper was able to punch clear under pressure at the second attempt.
A few minutes later the ball was played into Waide Fairhurst’s feet and his clever flick over the defence put Barnes-Homer into a shooting position – his effort looked destined for the far corner but lacked the power to test the keeper.
On 28 minutes a powerful effort from Morgan was well blocked on the edge of the box by Hogan, but the goal had put an end to the Cards’ earlier dominance and the Silkmen looked more dangerous as the half progressed.
Turnbull’s 25 yard volley bobbled comfortably wide after a throw-in by the corner flag was headed out to him, before Pilkington became the first name into the book when he slid through Morgan.
Woking twice went close in the final five minutes of the half, firstly when Joe McNerney met a free kick with a downwards header which bounced about a yard wide of the far post. Finally Josh Payne’s dipping long range effort swerved just wide when he picked the ball up in space and Macc went in a goal to the good at the break.
On 49 minutes Whitaker lost possession in a dangerous area which gave former Silkman Keiran Murtagh a sight of goal, but he skewed his left footed effort wide from the edge of the box.
The away side levelled soon after when Morgan had the ball at his feet a few yards outside the box and after his initial shot was blocked straight back to his feet, he thumped it back across Rhys Taylor and into the bottom corner for his seventh of the campaign.
On 58 minutes Woking full back Chris Arthur surged forwards down the left and with a few players in support he chose to go for goal and soon regretted it as he sliced the shot so badly it went out for a throw-in.
On the break Holroyd looked to have split the visitors’ defence with a ball for Adriano Moke to chase onto behind the defence, but a heavy touch allowed Mike Cestor to make a superb covering challenge.
The game was now going from end to end and it was the Cards who next came within a whisker of taking the lead when a ball infield from the left was stepped over for Payne, and his blistering effort beat the dive of Taylor but fortunately went inches wide of the post.
Barnes-Homer squandered a brilliant opportunity on 65 minutes when he picked up a badly under-hit back pass from James Clarke, but the striker delayed and took too many touches instead of pulling the trigger and Cestor again stormed back to make the saving tackle.
Waide Fairhurst connected with Halls’ well delivered cross from the right on 67 minutes, however he headed wide from eight yards.
Woking then twice almost found the net when John Goddard got behind the defence on the left of the box, but rather than crossing he ambitiously went for goal from a very tight angle and Taylor was able to palm clear. Macc never properly cleared the danger though and it was fed back to Payne who tried to curl into the far corner from 20 yards but it drifted just wide.
It looked even more likely that they would go ahead on 74 minutes when a long throw from the right came right into the box, and after a goalmouth scramble Taylor lost grasp of the ball on the ground and McNerney’s shot from six yards was somehow blocked behind.
Following a sliding challenge by Pilkington something was obviously said to the referee by Woking’s Morgan as he blew to halt play and book the forward for dissent. From the free kick which was awarded Hogan looked to have been dragged over in the box but despite vociferous protests from the Macc team and bench, play was waved on.
That set the scene for the grand finale when Barnes-Homer got away on the right and after his pull-back was half cleared, the ball rolled into the path of Turnbull who charged onto it and hammered a low drive through the crowd and in at the near post.
Five minutes of time added on were then signalled which drew many a groan from the terraces, however the Silkmen held firm and the tremendous unbeaten home run will now stretch at least until Christmas.