Macclesfield Town’s nine game unbeaten run came to an end against National League champions, Cheltenham Town, today after a 1-0 defeat at the Moss Rose.
A first half goal from Dan Holman was enough to earn the Robins their 29th win of the season, whilst a loss for the Silkmen saw them drop to 10th going into their final game of the campaign.
Cheltenham started on the front foot as James Dayton was looking to thread together delicate passes in Macclesfield’s final third. He finally got some space to dribble into the box himself but his low shot was saved comfortably by Ritchie Branagan at the near post.
The Silkmen replied straight away as Danny Whitaker got on the end of Paul Turnbull’s lofted pass into the area, he tried to shoot across goal but Daniel Parslow sliced the ball over the bar.
In the opening 20 minutes it was a real battle for possession, Dayton and Holman were trying to pull the strings for the away side, whilst Macc’s best chance fell to Rowe who went for the spectacular with a dipping volley from outside the area.
Parslow had a great chance to give his side the lead with a diving header, it appeared to be arrowing into the bottom right hand corner, but Branagan got down quick to gather the ball.
Cheltenham then broke the deadlock after 25 minutes through Holman, Dayton picked him out with a reverse pass on the edge of the box and the striker had plenty of time to turn and fire his shot past Branagan.
Macc tried to get themselves back into the game immediately as Rowe and Holroyd were both looking to get in behind and put dangerous balls into the box.
Paul Turnbull had a chance to deliver a set-piece with just over half an hour gone, the cross was scrambled away from the six-yard box but only as far as Rowe who saw his shot rebound away to safety.
David Fitzpatrick then picked out Holroyd with a deep ball, the winger took it under control with a neat touch but he was unable to get a clean shot away.
Holman and Dayton linked up once again on the edge of the Macc area, this time Dayton was open to take a shot but it deflected away for a corner and the first half came to a close with the score 1-0 to the Robins.
Rowe gave the home fans something to cheer about at the start of the second half, his run ended with a stinging shot from the right hand side but zipped past the far post.
With 55 minutes gone it was Jack Sampson who nearly got the Silkmen back on the level terms, Rowe started a counter attack and tried to pick Sampson out at the back post, however the forward was inches away from getting a foot on it as he slid in.
Neill Byrne then came close to getting the equaliser after getting his head onto Fitzpatrick’s free-kick, however his effort went just over the bar.
Kyle Storer whipped in a free-kick with 15 minutes left to play, it eventually dropped to the goal scorer, Holman, but his shot was deflected out for a corner which was dealt with by Branagan.
Substitute Kristian Dennis then came close in the 84th minute, Holroyd won a free-kick on the right hand side of the box, Dennis fired it through the wall but Robins keeper, Jonathan Flatt, latched onto it.
Rob Dickie picked up a booking for a foul deep in the Cheltenham half just as stoppage time began, Turnbull delivered but it came to nothing. The visitors then caught Macc out on the counter and it eventually came to Pell who struck it high and wide.
Despite their best efforts, John Askey’s side were unable to breakthrough the away side’s defence late on and Cheltenham picked up a narrow 1-0 victory.
Macclesfield Town: Branagan, Halls, Byrne, McCombe, Fitzpatrick, Turnbull, Holroyd, Whitaker (Sutherland 79), Rowe, Styche (Dennis 59), Sampson
Subs not used: Jalal, Cowan, Diagne
Cheltenham: Flatt, Barthram, Storer, Parslow, Pell, Waters (Morgan-Smith 57), Burgess, Cranston (Rowe 57), Dickie, Dayton (Munns 71), Holman
Subs not used: Kitscha, Hall