A brace from Scott Wilson ensured Macclesfield Town left Meadow Lane with all three points as they recorded a 2-1 victory over Notts County.
The Silkmen had only lost once in their last eight visits to The Magpies and that fine record continued as they dominated throughout to lift themselves off the foot of the Sky Bet League Two table at the expense of their opponents.
Sol Campbell’s side began the encounter brightly, with James Pearson and Tyrone Marsh both enjoying successful runs down the right. Marsh got the better of Notts County full back Daniel Jones two minutes in, however his cross went begging as nobody was there to convert.
The Silkmen settled into the game well and they thought they had taken the lead on the 16 minute mark when Harry Smith headed in Ben Stephens’ in-swinging cross. However, after much deliberation between referee Paul Marsden and linesman Stephen Wayde, the officials ruled that Stephens had stepped offside in the build-up to the goal.
Macclesfield’s tails were up and an incisive pass from Stephens found Smith free out on the leftand the forward carried the ball into the box before firing a tame effort straight at Ross Fitzsimons.
Smith, the centre-point of nearly all the first-half action, then fed Tyrone Marsh into the Notts County penalty area - but Marsh’s first-time effort sailed over the bar.
Organised at the back and patient in their attacking approach, The Silkmen finally got their reward after an incredible piece of individual skill by Wilson. With his back towards goal, the forward turned Magpies defender Jamie Turley before unleashing a thunderous effort with pace and precision into the back of the net.
Confidence grew amongst the Macclesfield ranks and the team saw out their advantage to the break - although Ryan Lloyd nearly doubled The Silkmen’s lead with a venomous volley just before the half-time whistle.
Second-half proceedings started exactly how the first-half ended as Campbell’s side were dominating and creating clear-cut chances in the process. LlLtd fizzed an effort from range and Wilson nearly capitalised on a Jones error to feed Smith a golden opportunity, but the home side were able to clear.
However, The Silkmen’s superiority was undone by a momentary lapse in concentration, and Kane Hemmings equalised for the home side 64 minutes in through uncharacteristic defensive errors.
The goal lifted the home side yet Macclesfield’s solidarity shone through, with O’Hara being on hand to deny Robert Milsom, whilst Nathan Cameron made several excellent clearances.
The game looked to have been sizzling out into a one all draw, but then up popped Wilson in the 82nd minute. The striker collected a Michael Rose pass and eased his way into the penalty area. It had looked to have been a dead end but Wilson sold Shaun Brisley the dummy and poked the ball in at the near post and restore Macclesfield’s advantage.
They say you’re at your most vulnerable when you score and that was almost the case as Nathan Thomas raced through on goal just a minute later - but the striker was denied by a fine piece of goalkeeping from Kieran O’Hara.
The Silkmen remained comfortable entering the dying stages of the game, however fireworks were set off in the 93rd minute when Kristian Dennis made a late, rash challenge on O’Hara. The incident sparked a melee, with the Macclesfield leaping to the defence of their keeper. After everything had simmered down, Smith was sent off after he was judged to have acted inappropriately, and Dennis got away lightly with just a caution.
The action didn’t end their however, and parity was restored amongst teams as Keston Davies was sent off for County after smashing the ball at the face of Marsh – despite winning a free-kick.
Despite the unsavoury scenes late on, The Silkmen held on to claim a vital three points in the fight for survival and move themselves off the bottom of the Football League table.
Macclesfield Town XI: O’Hara, Pearson, Kelleher, Cameron, Fitzpatrick ©, Marsh, Rose, Stephens, Lloyd, Wilson, Smith
Unused substitutes: Hodgkiss, Lowe, Grimes, Welch-Hayes, Maycock, Vincenti, Arthur
Notts County XI: Fitzsimons, Tootle, Brisley, Turley, Jones, Vaughan, Davies, Hewitt, Hemmings, Stead, Thomas
Unused substitutes: Dennis, Etete, Kellett, Milsom, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Pindroch, Ward
By Jaquob Crooke