A stunning volley from Danny Whitehead earned a point for the Silkmen against the play-off chasing Imps this afternoon. Lincoln went ahead early on, but the Silkmen were more than a match for the visitors an could have got the win had it not been for an impressive display from the visiting keeper.
Macclesfield started the brighter of the two sides and they were first to fashion a chance. Whitehead did well to find space on the left flank to whip a menacing cross into the area but Kristian Dennis couldn’t get the decisive touch to steer it inside Paul Farman’s far post.
Lincoln responded strongly and almost took the lead if it weren’t for the acrobatic dive of Shwan Jalal to deny Greg Tempest breaking the deadlock. Tempest picked the ball up 25 yards out and his goal-bound effort was tipped over by the Silkmen ‘keeper.
However, Lincoln did break the deadlock in the 16th minute when Terry Hawkridge’s free-kick was well met by Jamie McCombe to head back across goal and out of Jalal’s reach.
The Imps continued to press forward in search of a second and they went close again when Hawkridge was picked out on the overlap but the ‘keeper made himself big to stop the incoming shot with his legs.
On the half-hour mark, a manic ten seconds left the Silkmen faithful wondering how Macc had not restored parity. A cross found Chris Holroyd who opted to play the ball back across goal which eventually found Danny Whitaker but his drive was smartly stopped by Farman. The save was parried only as far as Silkmen top scorer Dennis but his well-struck volley was bravely charged down by the Lincoln defender.
Four minutes later, Jamie McCombe almost netted for the second time when Farman got across his goal quickly to save McCombe’s blushes. An inswinging cross from Whitaker was flicked by the centre-half but the ‘keeper managed to edge it around the post.
Within three minutes of the restart, Lincoln should have doubled their lead when Hawkridge again delivered a searching cross which found McCombe at the back post unmarked. Much to the amazement of all in attendance, he failed to test Jalal with his header going wide, although the goal would have been disallowed for offside.
Minutes later the Silkmen were level as Whitehead equalised with a wonderful volley to cap off a brilliant team move. Whitehead started the move by spreading the play wide to Dennis on the right who in turn cut inside and played a lofted pass into his strike partner, Jack Sampson. Sampson showed good improvisation to chest the ball down to Whitehead to hit first time.
The goal proved to be a big turning point as from then on in, it was all Macc. Silkmen centre-half John McCombe and forward Sampson were the next to have chances as the Silkmen continued to assert their authority on proceedings.
In a rare spell of Imps pressure, Hawkridge drew a smart save out of Jalal at the end of a fast breakaway.
With the scores level, George Pilkington made a miraculous saving tackle just 13 minutes from time when he slid in to stop Maris being able to test Jalal after he had been played in behind the defence.
Up the other end, Pilkington was amongst the action as his head down cued the chance for his defensive partner to shoot but on this occasion, McCombe’s effort was blocked.
Macc continued to impress following the introduction of the energetic Danny Rowe and with the last kick of the game, Club Captain Paul Turnbull’s volley had to be charged down to keep the score at 1-1 as both sides had to settle for a point.
MACCLESFIELD XI: Jalal; Halls, Pilkington, McCombe, Fitzpatrick; Holroyd, Whitehead (Rowe – ’83), Turnbull, Whitaker; Sampson, Dennis
Unused Subs: Branagan (GK), Cowan, Styche, Phillips
LINCOLN XI: Farman; Wood, McCombe, Bush, Beevers; Hawkridge, Power, Tempest (Sparrow – ‘90+3), Caton (Maris - ’71); Muldoon (McDaid – ’79), Rhead
Unused Subs: Grant, Wildin
ATTENDANCE: 1,676 (301 away)