Macclesfield Town had to fight back from a goal down to claim a 1-1 draw with National League Wrexham AFC on Tuesday evening, after a Harry Smith equaliser saw Mark Yates's side avoid defeat against Sam Rickett's Red Dragons.
After a promising showing against Premier League side Burnley on Friday evening, The Silkmen were full of confidence for their next test and despite a number of changes from Yates, there was a tangible belief that the side would forge their second victory of the pre-season campaign.
However, a disappointing first-half display left Yates' side trailing at the break and the Silkmen Manager was left ruing what might have been after Macclesfield failed to secure victory in their penultimate pre-season fixture.
The game may have represented some much needed minutes for the team, but Yates will have wanted to see a bit more from his side.
“Yeah, it’s another game ticked off, more minutes into the boys.
"The harsh reality is I’ve got to pick a team on August 4th, and that’s not disrespecting the players who started the game today but you compare Friday's performance to tonight’s first-half performance and it just wasn’t the same.
"It wasn’t what we were after and that’s just the way it is sometimes - it just shows a few of the boys have got a little bit of work to do to get in the team." Yates explained to The Silkmen TV.
The final 35 minutes of the match saw a significant improvement from Macclesfield and Smith's clever headed finish was a testament to the quality Yates wanted to see more of in the first-half.
Also, Macclesfield may have started the opening 45 minutes in the ascendency, but Yates will feel that his side could have done more to win the game - the fixture was the perfect opportunity for some of the players to stake a claim for a starting role when the Silkmen kick off their League Two campaign at Swindon in just over a weeks time.
"Nothings picked yet, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re as strong as we can.
"I think that in the last 35 minutes we were excellent, much more where I want to be - but that represents a learning curve.
"I’ve picked what I thought was a strong team against Burnley on Friday night and I’ve given everyone else a run-out tonight.
"That’s nothing other than me picking two teams, but you know what they can do - they can make it work for themselves and make sure that they perform to the best of their ability to make sure that they force their way into the First Team.”
“This group have been used to winning, so it’s important that we try to carry that on and looking at pre-season you’re thinking it’s not quite happening for us.
"But I’ve been delighted that I’m getting game time into them and to be honest I've not really thought tactically too much - we’ve literally played to a shape, gone out, worked hard and they are learning all the time about what I want from them.
"I know I’ve got good players.”
The result may not tell the true story of the game, but the Silkmen are getting increasingly close to their return to the promised land of the Football League and Yates feels that his squad is just two or three players away from being ready for the challenge.
“I am still looking for more, I think we’ve got nineteen at the moment but I’d like another two or three - we need another 'keeper, and I’ve got to decide what we’re doing there.
"Another couple of players would be a welcome addition to what we’ve got. We need competition for places, we need to make sure we’ve got cover all the way up to January and I think another couple more bodies would certainly help.”
By Joshua Kerr