Ben Stephens’ first-half strike wasn’t enough for the Silkmen as they bowed out of this years' FA Cup in a 2-1 defeat to the hands of Maidstone United.
Stephens gave Macc the lead fourteen minutes into the game as Whitaker and Howarth’s men controlled the first-half.
However, second-half goals from Jack Powell and a Blair Turgott penalty subjected Macclesfield to defeat.
Going into the game, Danny Whitaker and Neil Howarth made four changes to the side that lost to Bury last time out. Most notably Ryan Lloyd took his place in the starting eleven for the first time since returning from injury and Elliott Durrell was also fit enough to take a place on the bench.
Macclesfield started the game the better out of the two sides and came close to opening the scoring two minutes in. Peter Vincenti found Ben Stephens in the box, but the forward couldn’t connect with the ball after trying an acrobatic effort.
However, the forward wasn’t to be denied a goal for long. On fourteen minutes, Malachi Napa showed Maidstone’s Simon Walton a clean pair of heels before finding Stephens in the box, who duly smashed the ball home to make it 0-1.
Chances were few and far between in the first-half but the Silkmen were still looking dangerous. Maidstone goalkeeper Grant Smith had to be on his toes to stop Peter Vincenti’s cross from finding its target in the box and Harry Smith sent a long-range effort just wide of the mark.
HT: Maidstone 0 Macclesfield 1
Maidstone found themselves level just after the break. Peter Vincenti gave away a free-kick on the left-hand side and Jack Powell fired the set-piece into the top-right hand corner.
If the first-half was a quiet affair, the second-half was proving to be the complete opposite. Maidstone thought they’d taken the lead after Walton’s shot cannoned back off the post on fifty-three minutes.
However, the Silkmen countered and Ben Stephens came agonisingly close to putting Macc back in front, but Grant Smith made a fantastic double save to deny the young striker.
The hosts were growing into the game. Blair Turgott fired a shot over the bar and Kieran O’Hara was kept on his toes after he saved a shot from a tight-angle from Jake Cassidy.
Although on sixty-eight minutes Maidstone did take the lead. Jamie Grimes was adjudged to have fouled a Maidstone player in the box and referee Neil Hair pointed to the spot.
Blair Turgott stepped up to take and placed the ball past Kieran O’Hara. 2-1.
Whitaker and Howarth substituted on Nathan Blissett and Elliott Durrell made a return to first-team action, as Macc looked to take the game back to the Moss Rose to a replay. However, it wasn’t to be as Maidstone attempted to kill the tie off.
Blair Turgott had two efforts at goal, the first a shot that was sent wide of the mark, the second a free-kick hit straight at O’Hara into stoppage time but the score stayed the same.
FT: Maidstone 2 Macclesfield 1
Macclesfield Starting XI: O’Hara, Hodgkiss, Fitzpatrick ©, Kelleher, Grimes, Smith, Lloyd (80’ Durrell), Stephens, Napa (72’ Blissett), Vincenti (65’ Welch-Hayes), Rose.
Subs Not Used: Lowe, Wilson, Taylor, Arthur.
By Andrew Gate