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23 March 2019 Venue Moss Rose Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Macclesfield Town v Stevenage

23 March 2019

The Silkmen return to the Moss Rose this afternoon, as we renew our acquaintances with Stevenage in what represents another crucial Sky Bet League Two fixture.

Sol Campbell's side will go into the game looking to build on the momentum of last weekend, with the inspirational victory at Yeovil Town leaving The Silkmen just three points from safety with a game in hand.

The Manager has spoken numerous times about the importance of character in the season's climax and there is little doubt that each and every one of us need to stand up and be counted if our survival quest is to be successful.

The EFL status which we fought so vehemently to achieve is something which is greatly cherished by us all and as we enter the closing chapter of the campaign, it is vital that we all stay together and give everything we have - both on and off the pitch.

Despite all that has gone before this season, the next nine games could well write another incredible odds-defying page in our history and that is something which we are all unwaveringly committed to achieving.

Before the game, we caught up with Sol as he gave us his pre-match thoughts -

With the exception of Jamie Grimes (groin) and Rhys Taylor (hip), the former Arsenal and England star has the luxury of a full squad at his disposal this afternoon.

Our visitors currently reside in tenth position, having accumulated 53 points from their 38 games played.

Dino Maamria's side are within five points of the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off positions and there is little doubt that they will be making the long journey up from Hertfordshire intent on de-railing our survival bid.

In terms of their away record, Stevenage have played 19 games on the road so far this season and have retuned back to the Lamex Stadium with maximum points on just five occasions.

Six contests have seen the spoils shared, whilst eight defeats have been suffered to complete their record.

Maamria's side have not won on the road since they beat Morecambe back in mid-January - with the last three trips to Lincoln City, Oldham Athletic and MK Dons all ending in draws.

Speaking before the game, here is what the Stevenage boss had to say -

"I think we have just got to focus on one game at a time. The most important one is Macclesfield and then we will look at the others behind them. Sometimes you start looking too far ahead at this stage of the season. 

"We know what we have got -very few games left and we have to take them one at a time.

“We have got to focus on our performances. We will try to push the players as much as possible to get as many results as we can, but our focus in the last three games has been on the level of performance and it has been very, very good.

"The return of points is not what we hoped but overall I am very happy with the performance level of the last three games and if we produce similar and be more clinical in front of goal, then we will probably win the game on Saturday. It is about trying to keep the good habits that we have been doing and adding a few bits for the next game.

“We have been defending really well as a group and as a unit and if we are lacking anything, it is being clinical in front of goal. We have got to sense those moments in games and take the chances that we have.

"It is going to be a difficult game, I think Sol Campbell has done a good job. They looked dead and buried for the first part of the season, but he has now galvanised them, signed a few players and watching their recent performances they have been good  - especially the last two.

"They were unfortunate to lose to MK Dons and then they beat Yeovil with ease. They are certainly a team on the up and I think they are in a good position to kick-on, but hopefully after Saturday."

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Match Reports

Match Report: Macclesfield Town 2 v 2 Stevenage

23 March 2019

It was a case of better late than never for the Silkmen as Danny Whitakers' 94th minute strike secured a point against play-off chasing Stevenage. 
 
Elliott Durrell got Macclesfield off to the perfect start when he ran through on goal and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net, but the lead didn’t last long as Ben Nugent headed Stevenage level two minutes later. 
 
Early in the second-half, the visitors took the lead when Dan Newton fired past Kieran O’Hara but Whitaker’s strike at the death gave Macc a vital point in the quest for survival.
 
Coming into the fixture, Sol Campbell made no changes to the side that secured a vital three points away at Yeovil Town. However, Shamir Mulings replaced Liandro Martis on the substitutes bench.
 
The first 30 minutes of the half was a quiet affair with both teams struggling to control the midfield.
 
Nathan Cameron came closest for the Silkmen when he directed a header just over the bar on ten minutes, whereas Alex Revell’s snapshot for the visitors six minutes later was the closest the Moss Rose crowd had to a goal for the first half an hour. 
 
However, with fifteen minutes to go in the half the game sprung to life. Stevenage were struggling to deal with the balls from the midfield and Macc should’ve made the away side pay. Harry Smith down the right and squared to Stephens, but the chance fizzled out with the goal gaping.
 
Elliott Durrell then dispossessed his man and found Ben Stephens who layed the ball off to Reece Cole, but he couldn’t find the net once again. 
 
Although Macc did find the net just minutes after when Elliott Durrell latched on to a fantastic chipped ball by Michael Rose and ran through one on one with the goalkeeper and he duly slotted the ball past Farman. 
 
The lead didn’t last long though, Stevenage were awarded a free-kick just two minutes after the opener. Midfielder Joel Byrom put the ball into a great area for unmarked defender Ben Nugent who headed the ball into the net. 
 
Half-Time: Macclesfield 1 Stevenage 1
 
The second-half got off to a much quicker start. Unfortunately for Macc though it was Stevenage who benefitted from the second-half. 
 
Half-time substitute Dan Newton picked up the ball on the edge of the area and fizzed the ball past Kieran O’Hara from a difficult angle to put the visitors ahead. 
 
From then on, the game became a scrappy affair. Stevenage’s defensive partnership of Scott Cuthbert and Ben Nugent were keeping Harry Smith at bay but the Silkmen refused to be deterred as they continued to knock at the away side’s door. 
 
In fact, it took until injury time for the Silkmen’s pressure to pay off and deservedly so. Sol Campbell’s decision to bring on Danny Whitaker proved to be a masterstroke when in the 94th minute of four minutes added on Macc stole a share of the spoils.
 
Whitaker picked up the ball on the edge of the area and cleverly turned his marker allowing him to power a shot across goal and despite Farman’s best efforts he couldn’t keep the ball out of the net and Macc secured a vital point. 
 
There wasn’t time for a reply by Stevenage, but the result exemplified the never say die attitude the Macclesfield players have shown of late. 
 
Full Time: Macclesfield 2 Stevenage 2
 
Attendance: 1,866 (127)
 
Macclesfield Town Starting XI: O’Hara, Fitzpatrick, Kelleher, Durrell, Smith, Stephens, Pearson, Rose (Whitaker 81’), Cameron ©, Cole (Wilson 59’), Jules
 
Subs Not Used: Idem, Marsh, Welch-Hayes, Evans, Mullings
 
By Andrew Gate 

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