The Silkmen suffered a harsh opening day defeat, after conceding two penalties in the dying minutes of a pulsating game at The County Ground
Two injury-time penalties left the Silkmen heartbroken as a Michael Doughty hat-trick cancelled out a Koby Arthur brace to condemn Macclesfield to a harsh opening day defeat
The 25-year-old Swindon Town midfielder converted two injury-time spot kicks to deny Macclesfield victory - despite the visitors leading for the majority of the game.
The defeat leaves the Silkmen reflecting on what might have been after leading up to the final moments of the game; however, Yates’s side showed real character to take a promotion-chasing Swindon Town right to the very wire.
Kory Arthur scored the club’s first goal in over 2100 days away from the Football League, when his ferocious shot into the bottom right-hand corner opened the scoring 46 seconds into the second half.
The hosts responded immediately to equalise through a Michael Doughty header; however, Arthur once again took the game by the scruff of the neck when his audacious chip over Chilean keeper Lawrence Vigouroux turned the game on its head to regain the visitors the lead.
Macclesfield looked to be on the verge of history on their comeback to the fourth tier, but it was football that had the final laugh as the beautiful game served up one of the most miraculous turnarounds ever seen.
The chaos unfolded on the 93rd minute when talented Fulham loanee Elijah Adebayo went down in the penalty as the linesman looked to have flagged for offside. After a lengthy discussion with his official, the Referee pointed to the spot to hand the Robins an opportunity to salvage something from this game.
Doughty converted after his spot kick was tipped onto the inside of the post by Silkmen keeper Rhys Taylor, but it wasn’t enough to deny the former Peterborough midfielder as Swindon found that late equaliser.
This incredible match was not finished there as Taylor pointed to the spot to hand Doughty the opportunity to grab his third of the match as well snatch all three points for Phil Brown’s side.
Swindon’s no.3 converted emphatically to win the game for The Robins to register a historic comeback for the club as they hunt for a promotion charge after finishing ninth in the league last season.
The result leaves the Silkmen deflated after a spirited showing, but it will give the promoted side confidence that they can make an impact in this division after so nearly leaving the County Ground with all three points.
The opening minutes of the game saw Yates' side on the backend of possession, although the Silkmen did threaten early on when Tyrone Marsh was unleashed down the right-hand flank before placing a teasing low cross towards the Swindon six-yard that was cleared for a corner.
The set-piece was one straight from the training ground as summer signing Callum Maycock found player-assistant manager Danny Whitaker with a darting run to the near post, but the 37-year-old’s shot went blazing over and failed to trouble the Swindon keeper.
However, the hosts immediately found their rhythm after Whitaker’s early scare when a loose ball fell to Jermaine McGlashan who sprinted through the defensive Macclesfield line before blazing his effort high and wide over the crossbar.
The Robins continued to grow into the game and began to assert their dominance, some intricate passing opened up the Macclesfield defence once again, and it was talented Adebayo who found some free space before his effort was superbly denied by Taylor
The floodgates began to open for Swindon, and they smelt blood. The hosts should have been in front after 16 minutes when Doughty was left in free in acres of space and forced another smart save from Taylor.
The crossbar came into effect twice for the Silkmen before half-time after a Matty Taylor cross hit the woodwork before another Adebayo effort went agonisingly close but the Silkmen were let off once again.
The second-half immediately fired into life when Macclesfield broke the deadlock, as Arthur was played through by Tyrone Marsh, and the former Birmingham City forward thundered a low effort into the bottom right-hand corner before being mobbed by his players in front of the jubilant Macclesfield supporters.
Yates' joy only lasted seconds however, as the Robins fought back a minute later when a teasing cross from Kyle Knoyle found Doughty unmarked in the box and the former QPR midfielder made no mistake in slotting home the equaliser as suddenly the hosts were level again.
Ten minutes into the second half and the County Ground Stadium was treated with three goals in the space of ten minutes as Macclesfield defied the odds once again to retake the lead.
A scramble between the Swindon defence saw Arthur once again creep in-between the back-line and find himself one on one with Vigouroux. The 22-year-old was ice cool when called upon and beat the Chilean goalkeeper with the most audacious chip to fire the Silkmen into a 2-1 lead.
Swindon supporters grew frustrated with the host's inability to finish chances, and their misery was compounded in the 88th minute when substitute Jack McCourt failed to convert a golden opportunity in the dying moments of the game.
There was a penalty shout for the Robins late on when Adebayo went down in the area after being brought down in the area. Referee Robert Lewis had a lengthy discussion with his official before pointing to the spot to give the hosts one last opportunity to salvage something from this game.
Doughty converted his penalty before being called to the spot once again after Keshi Anderson went down in the 98th minute to hand Doughty the chance to seize his hat-trick and give the hosts the victory on the opening day of the season.
Macclesfield will have to pick themselves up for their debut home game of the season as they host Grimsby Town on Saturday and hope for a turn of fortune at Moss Rose next week.
Swindon: Lawrence Vigouroux, Kyle Knoyle, Michael Doughty, Olly Lancashire, Jermaine McGlashan, Keshi Anderson, Steven Alzate (Scott Twine), Martin Smith (Jak McCourt), Elijah Adebayo, Dion Conroy, Matty Taylor
Macclesfield: Rhys Taylor, Jared Hodgkiss, David Fitzpatrick, Fiacre Kelleher, Jamie Grimes, Tyrone Marsh (Malachi Napa), Harry Smith, Callum Maycock, Koby Arthur, Danny Whitaker, Michael Rose