Michael Rose’s superb free-kick wasn’t enough for all three points at Boundary Park as Macclesfield were defeated 3-1 at the hands of Oldham Athletic.
Sam Surridge’s first-half strike gave the Latics the lead before a cruel deflection in the second-half saw the hosts double their lead.
Macclesfield fought back bravely, and Michael Rose’s free-kick pulled one back before the hosts sealed the victory late on through Ishmael Miller.
Mark Yates made one change to the team that knocked Bradford City out of the League Cup with Koby Arthur coming into the starting XI replacing Scott Wilson.
Danny Whitaker had the first chance for the Silkmen. Malachi Napa did well to pin himself against Oldham’s centre back Peter Clark and lay off Danny Whitaker for a shot just outside the area, however Latics goalkeeper Iverson was equal to the effort.
Whitaker had another chance only two minutes later when Koby Arthur whipped a cross into the box which the veteran midfielder latched onto from close range, but once again Iverson saved.
The deadlock was broken in the 17th minute when Sam Surridge beat the defensive line to go one on one with Taylor and the striker duly tucked the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to Oldham.
However, despite going one goal down, Mark Yates’ men didn’t sit back and accept defeat. Michael Rose fired a shot over the bar from outside the box just a minute later and Koby Arthur came close to equalising just before the half-hour mark, but he dragged his shot wide of the target.
Malachi Napa was causing the hosts problems down the right wing and he tested Iverson again five minutes from half-time. A brilliant passing move saw Fitzpatrick, Whitaker and Arthur link up – finding Napa in space on the wing, but he could only fire straight at the goalkeeper and the half-time whistle blew with the score at 1-0.
In the second-half the Silkmen were attacking the end which housed the travelling supporters and they would be happy with the attacking intent the team were showing in the early stages of the half.
Harry Smith and Koby Arthur both put the hosts’ defence under pressure as Macc tried to find a way to level the scoring.
However, against the run of play Oldham doubled their lead on 54 minutes. Michael Rose was caught in possession and Johan Branger-Engone fired a shot towards goal, but his drive took a heavy deflection off Jamie Grimes and wrong-footed Rhys Taylor.
Once again, that didn’t put Macc off and the Silkmen pulled a goal back deservedly on the hour mark. Koby Arthur jinked in and out of the Latics defence and drew a foul from a defender to win a free kick just outside the area.
Michael Rose stepped up to take it and drilled the ball under the wall and into the bottom left corner leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. 2-1.
Rose’s set-pieces were causing the hosts havoc! Five minutes after the goal, the midfielder whipped in a corner which Oldham failed to clear. Fiacre Kelleher headed the ball towards goal, but it was frantically cleared off the line but not to safety, leaving Danny Whitaker with an opportunity to shoot but this time Oldham cleared.
Rhys Taylor was then called into action, diving down to his right-hand side to palm away Surridge’s effort.
With ten minutes on the clock, Macc were throwing everything at the hosts. Koby Arthur’s long-range shot rose over the crossbar and Nathan Blissett was winning every ball in the air, but the ball didn’t end up in the net.
Again, Macc threw the kitchen sink at Oldham but right at the death they were caught on the break. Ishmael Miller ran on to a long punt forward by defender George Edmundsson and managed to turn and run towards goal. He curled the ball past Taylor and claimed the three points at the very death against the run of play.
It was a valiant performance by Macclesfield, but it wasn’t to be.
Full Time: Oldham 3 Macclesfield 1
Attendance: 4,330 (495 Macclesfield)
Macclesfield: Taylor, Fitzpatrick ©, Kelleher, Grimes, Smith, Welch-Hayes (81’ Pearson), Napa (55’ Blissett), Maycock (73’ Wilson), Arthur, Rose, Whitaker
Subs Not Used: O’Hara, Lowe, Marsh, Evans, Pearson
By Andrew Gate