Macclesfield Town made it into the last 32 of the Checkatrade Trophy with victory against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday evening and Joint Assistant Manager Danny Whitaker was pleased to have banked the win despite some “ugly” football at times.
The Silkmen were forced to remain firm in the latter stages of their tie with The Baggies' Under-21’s after going ahead through two quick goals from Ben Stephens and Koby Arthur in a positive first half.
The grit and determination on display in the final moments to secure the three points was a undoubtedly a good sign and something that could provide an important confidence boost in the dressing room.
“That’s what you’ve got to be sometimes, you’ve got to have a dog fight,” expressed Whitaker, who celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday.
“You need to dig in there with clearances and heading the ball away.
“It does get a little ugly that way, especially with your backs to the wall and when you haven’t won for a while - you are just hanging on and hanging on.
“It was a bit scrappy in the second half but sometimes it’s like that. It was nice to get a win no matter how it came.”
On his first start in almost eight months, Elliott Durrell played a key part in the victory - just one of three players to have made comeback appearances in the last two matches.
The returning members will not doubt bring a boost to the squad, as will the well-worked goals from Stephens and Arthur which sealed the win.
“It was an easy finish [for Stephens],” Whitaker said, “but he’s getting into the right positions at the right times, getting in the box late, which we’ve told him to do so well done to him. Koby tucked his finish away quite nicely also.
“It’s good to get bodies back, which we’ve needed. We’ve got Ryan Lloyd who came back on Saturday, but he’s got a little knock, so he was missing tonight.
“It’s nice to get Callum Evans back in the fold. It’s just about getting minutes under the belts, as the more minutes they get, the fitter they get. Hopefully they will be able to start league games soon enough.”
Despite the overriding positives, Whitaker was disappointed with The Baggies’ opener, highlighting that there are still improvements to be made before this weekend’s clash at Stadium MK.
“It was sloppy. We didn’t tell them to play out from the back or play silly balls into midfield, it was a risky pass when we just needed to clear our lines,” Whitaker described.
“But the lads dug in and we got the win in the end.
“Winning games of football does breed confidence, but we are not going to get too carried away because at the end of the day we have a big game Saturday. We are under no illusions that it will be a tough afternoon away at MK.
“But we will go there with a little more confidence than if we hadn’t got a good result. So, we’ll get the lads ready and we will give it a good go.”