The Silkmen were left to rue a string of missed chances as they were condemned to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Grimsby Town this afternoon.
Jordan Cook’s stunning first-half strike split the sides in the opening 45 minutes and just when Macclesfield looked odds on to secure a precious equaliser, Charles Vernom struck late on hand Grimby the points.
It was the visitors who started the game brightly, as Jake Hessenthaler delivered a sumptuous ball that looked to have met the head of Cook - but Fiacre Kelleher was on hand to deny the former Luton Town striker.
The opening stages proved to be a test of resilience for the Silkmen, a test that Jared Hodgkiss passed with flying colours with a heroic goal-line clearance from Danny Collins’ half-volley.
Macc grew into the game and as a result confidence blossomed, this was epitomised by Harry Smith’s audacious 30-yard effort where he looked to lob the Grimsby keeper James McKeown.
Smith, on the back of his prolific pre-season, was looking hungry for goals and with his back to goal, took one touch out of his feet before curling a delicious effort that skimmed the far-post.
The visitors responded well and it took a brave display of defending from Jamie Grimes to deny Cook from burying a chance from 15-yards out.
However just moments later it was Cook who made the Silkmen pay. Latching onto a lay-off from JJ Hooper, the Sunderland academy graduate rifled in an unstoppable effort into the top right-hand corner to give Grimsby the lead.
Despite the setback, Mark Yates’ side responded well. The presence of Smith caused the Mariners defence numerous problems, but his cross proved to be a fraction too high for the oncoming Tyrone Marsh.
Marsh was attacking another cross just seconds later, but the forward just couldn’t quite direct his header towards the feet of Koby Arthur who was all set to restore parity.
The Silkmen began to ask more questions of their opponents as the game ventured past the 35-minute mark. Yet another inviting Hodgkiss cross was deflected behind and the resulting Danny Whitaker corner was looping towards the top-right corner before being headed away from Alex Whitmore.
Following his terrific performance last week, Rhys Taylor was on hand yet again to display his impressive reflexes as he managed to divert a thunderous Cook effort just over the crossbar.
Macc were fast out of the traps in the second-half as they questioned the Grimsby defence for an equaliser, but the visitors were able to withstand the bombardment of crosses from the Silkmen’s left hand-side.
Yates’ team suddenly had their tails up. A lofted ball from Callum Maycock sent Fitzpatrick storming down the left and the left-back turned the defender before delivering a cross that was a fraction too high for Smith. The ball fell to Arthur and the former Birmingham winger sent the ball back into the mixer where Smith could only head narrowly wide.
The game then altered in the Silkmen’s favour, as a late challenge from Mitch Rose on Arthur resulted in the ex-Newport County midfielder being dismissed and leaving Grimsby down to ten-men.
The following free-kick looked to have provided Macc with that elusive equaliser when the ball fell to substitute Malachi Napa, but the forward’s effort, much to the disbelief of everyone inside the Moss Rose somehow managed to evade the back of the net.
Then the unthinkable happened… a goose invaded the pitch. The bird made an impressive claim for a first-team place as well, as he displayed some excellent agility to escape two chasing groundsmen.
Flying back into the action, the Silkmen continued to press their opponents with full-backs Hodgkiss and Fitzpatrick supporting the attack at every opportunity. But the final ball always seemed to be lacking for Yates’ team and Macc couldn’t quite make their superiority count.
As the final stages approached, Macc’s dominance finally looked to have paid dividends when the ball fell into an open space in the Grimsby penalty area. Kelleher and Grimes frantically tried to get their boot to the ball, before Smith smashed an effort that was unluckily deflected into the Star Lane stand.
Scott Wilson proved to be a menace for Harry Davis and Alex Whitmore after he came on the field and thought he had snatched an equaliser for Macc, but McKeown denied the home side yet again as he managed to block the striker’s effort.
For all the intensive Macclesfield pressure, it was Grimsby who grabbed the second of the game as substitute Vernom won possession deep in Macc half before rifling the ball past Taylor to ultimately seal the three points for the visitors.
The Silkmen must now focus their attentions to Tuesday night, where a First Round Carabao Cup tie against Bradford City awaits.
Macclesfield Town: (4-4-2)Taylor, Hodgkiss (Blissett, 84) Kelleher, Grimes, Fitzpatrick, Arthur, Whitaker, Maycock (Napa, 60), Rose, Marsh (Wilson, 60) Smith
Unused subs: Lowe, Lloyd, Welch-Hayes, Simpson
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Davis, Whitmore, Collins, Dixon, Welsh, Hessenthaler, Woolford, Rose, Hooper (Robles, 89), Cook (Vernam, 84)
Unused subs: Wright, Clifton, Hall-Johnson, Rose, Russell