Macclesfield Town were brought back down to Earth after Northampton Town put five past the Silkmen at Moss Rose, despite some special saves from goalkeeper Rhys Taylor.
Macc were looking for a second consecutive win after the jubilation of Saturday afternoon, but a Matt Crooks first half hat-trick amongst Daniel Powell’s strike put the Cobblers 4-0 up at the interval. Aaron Pierre then made it five in injury time.
Joint caretaker managers Danny Whitaker and Neil Howarth made no changes to the side that notched the Silkmen’s first victory this campaign, meaning Peter Vincenti and man of the match Michael Rose both retained starting spots.
The Silkmen were the brighter side in the first ten minutes, but the Cobblers have enjoyed good fortunes under new manager Keith Curle and soon found their rhythm. Sam Foley and Aaron Pierre both squandered early opportunities.
But the Silkmen could not make them pay as Northampton eventually found the breakthrough in the 23rd minute. Matt Crooks drove at the Macc defence and whipped a curling effort past Rhys Taylor from outside the area.
Yet the Silkmen stopper recovered well to magnificently parry away Andy Williams’ shot that seemed destined for the top corner.
The Cobblers’ then quickly tripled their goal tally by scoring two goals in as many minutes. Jack Bridge crossing to Crooks who tapped in for his second, before Daniel Powell slotted into the net whilst unmarked in the area.
Taylor produced some more goalkeeping heroics to tip away Jonjo O’Toole’s effort, but Crooks banked a 20-minute hat-trick with a curling effort from outside the area that would have put many ‘keepers on the rocks.
Half-time: Macclesfield Town 0-4 Northampton Town
Whitaker and Howarth made a double half-time change in a bid to orchestrate a stunning comeback, with Nathan Blissett and Malachi Napa giving way for Harry Smith and Ben Stephens.
The substitutions immediately made a difference as Macclesfield began the second half with a positive spell of their own.
Ben Stephens showed a fantastic turn of pace to dart down the left flank and into the penalty area, before hitting the turf under a Cobblers challenge. Referee Seb Stockbridge waved play on, leading to Michael Rose forcing a routine save from David Cornell.
Callum Maycock, looking for his first goal as a Silkmen, then struck the inside of the crossbar in the 73rd minute with an effort that gave Cornell no chance. Unfortunately though, it was not Macc’s night.
Taylor then bagged a hat-trick of his own, making a third spectacular save by beating away Williams’ curling effort from distance.
Determined to keep a second-half clean sheet, Taylor threw out a strong hand to palm away Kevin van Veen’s shot from a tight angle. But despite the efforts, Aaron Pierre found the net to make it five in the last minute of added time.
Full-time: Macclesfield Town 0-5 Northampton Town
Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Hodgkiss, Fitzpatrick Lowe, Grimes, Marsh, Blissett (Smith 45’), Napa (Stephens 45’), Maycock, Vincenti (Wilson 74’), Rose.
Unused subs: O’Hara, Kelleher, Welch-Hayes, Pearson.
Northampton Town: Cornell, Buchanan, Foley (Williams 73’), Williams, Powell (van Veen 64’), Pierre, McWilliams, Turnbull, Bridge, O’Toole, Crooks (Waters 56’).
Unused subs: Ward, Odoffin, Hoskins, Whaler.
By Matt Bates