Sol Campbell’s inaugural match at the Moss Rose ended with a 2-0 victory against Crawley Town, as goals from Elliott Durrell and Harry Smith gifted the former England international with his first win in management.
The victory makes it three wins in four league matches for the Silkmen who now lie only four points from safety following an inspired revival of form.
Elliott Durrell opened proceedings with a wonder-strike from 25-yards to send the Moss Rose into delirium, before Harry Smith’s guided headed into the bottom corner five minutes from time ensured Campbell got off to the perfect start in front of his new supporters.
Macclesfield started the affair promisingly; enjoying lots of possession and an array of slick intricate passing. Joe Maguire picked up an early booking following a clash with Elliott Durrell that got the home supporters fiery despite the freezing cold conditions.
Michael Rose took the set-piece and unleashed a teasing effort into the Crawley box. The ball eluded every waking body before forcing Glenn Morris into a save clawing the shot away for a corner.
Durrell was enjoying acres of space down that right-hand side causing The Reds all sorts of problems with his pinpoint range of crosses.
Kelleher almost found an opening after being left completely unmarked in the opposition box. However, the defender’s header lacked conviction and comfortably fell into the hands of Morris.
Durrell once again came surging down that right-hand side and looked to find Smith towards the back post, but, yet again the ball was comfortably collected by the Crawley keeper.
The opening for Campbell and his troops finally came on the stroke of the half-hour mark and it was some strike to get the Premier League winning defender’s EFL tenure underway.
A looping ball fell into the path of Durrell from 25 yards out, and the winger thundered a venomous half-volley into the bottom right corner to engulf Moss Rose into ecstasy as well as fire his Durrell his first Silkmen goal of the season following a lengthy injury on the sidelines.
The hosts began to ooze confidence following their early lead, and the Silkmen almost had a second when Danny Whitaker picked up the ball on the edge of the box before seeing his strike blocked and go behind for a corner.
The visitors may have endured little of the action in the first period, but, The Reds had a glorious opportunity to level the scoring after Grego-Cox delivered an excellent cross onto the head of Gambin who headed agonisingly wide.
The second-half eventually got underway following several issues with the floodlights that meant kick-off took place 15 minutes later than expected.
The visitors began with intent and almost levelled proceedings when Poleon lashed an effort past a helpless O’Hara that just went shy of the post much to the delight of the home supporters.
Another vast opportunity went begging for Gabriele Cioffe’s side when Grego-Cox spurned a glorious chance wide following a nice set-up from Poleon who became a real menace after the break.
The Silkmen were feeling the heat of a resurgent Crawley in the second period, and Macc had their goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara to thank when Gambin unleashed a venomous left-footed strike towards goal that was parried away brilliantly by the Manchester United loanee shot-stopper.
Durrell continued to torment the Reds back-line with yet another surging run down the Crawley by-line. The 29-year-old trickster had options in the box, but his pull-back was blocked for a corner.
Time was ticking, and the hosts finally wrapped up the points with five minutes to play with a beautifully orchestrated team goal. Ben Stephens and Smith enjoyed some intricate one-touch passes between the pair before Stephens cut it back to Rose who whipped in an inch-perfect cross that found the head of Smith who guided in that all-important second goal.
The Silkmen striker slid to his knees in front of the jubilant home supporters before being mobbed by his Macclesfield teammates who knew full well how important that win was today.
Despite consecutive wins at the Moss Rose for the first time this season, Campbell and his troops will already have one eye fixed on another crucial home tie in a week’s time when Port Vale make the short trip to Cheshire.
Macclesfield: O’Hara, Pearson, Kelleher, Cameron, Fitzpatrick (Welch-Hayes 70), Durrell, Rose, Whitaker, Lloyd (Ponticelli 55) , Stephens, Smith
Crawley: Morris, Francomb, McNerney, N’Gala, Maguire (Doherty), Gambin, Bulman, Payne, Camara, Grego-Cox (Nathanial-George 69), Poleon