Neil Howarth’s and Danny Whitaker’s first game in charge ended in defeat as Accrington Stanley ran out 4-1 winners at the Wham Stadium.
Peter Vincenti’s first Macclesfield goal was not enough to secure a result in the Checkatrade Trophy fixture, with Accrington displaying a clinical performance to move them top of the Northern Group C.
The Silkmen were competitive for the majority and managed to pull themselves back into the game through Vincenti, however goals from Offrande Zanzala, an own goal from David Fitzpatrick and a fine individual finish from Dan Barlaser gave John Coleman’s side all three points.
The Silkmen made a positive start to proceedings in an energetic opening five minutes, with Tyrone Marsh cutting inside before unleashing a shot that Jonny Maxted was able to get both hands too.
Macclesfield were still looking to maintain a high tempo through the first 15 minutes, and were rewarded with a free-kick in Accrington territory. Michael Rose stepped up to take the set-piece, and drilled in a teasing cross that Fiacre Kelleher tried to flick on but his header was deflected wide.
Stanley responded positively and Rhys Taylor, making his first appearance since the 1-0 away defeat to Stevenage, had to be alert 18 minutes in as an on-rushing Matt Platt struck a ferocious effort from a Stanley corner, however the Silkmen keeper was able to parry the ball away from danger.
Piero Mingoia was the next Stanley player to test Taylor, rifling an optimistic strike from distance that the 28-year-old managed to acrobatically tip over.
But the hosts made their breakthrough after 35 minutes, when Zanzala managed to race across the Silkmen byline before smashing an effort that was deflected and looped over to an unmarked Sam Finlay, who headed in from just a yard out.
The Silkmen were dealt with an injury blow moments before half-time as Koby Arthur was forced off with a slight niggle, although his replacement Vincenti almost made an immediate impact when he teed up Wilson to strike an effort that needed a bit more venom to test Maxted.
Macc started the second-half brightly, with Neil Howarth and Danny Whitaker seemingly keen to reiterate the importance of keeping possession.
The Silkmen enjoyed more positive spells of possession and found themselves exploring dangerous area, but John Coleman’s side proved to be compact and difficult to break down.
However Macclesfield themselves were proving to be resilient. Zanzala looked to add another for the hosts by creating some space on the edge of the box, but a flurry of Silkmen players were alert to block the strikers effort.
Their resilience paid dividends as just a minute later, Macc had their equaliser. A long free-kick from Rose was greeted by the head of Vincenti, and the substitute powered his header past Maxted to restore parity.
However, Accrington found themselves retaking the lead five minutes later, when a Barlaser free-kick from the right found Zanzala who rose high above everyone else to fire past a stranded Taylor.
The goal was an undeserved sucker punch for Macclesfield, but the visitors responded well and looked to up the intensity in a bid to find an equaliser. Napa, with his natural ability to beat defenders at will, raced down the left flank and beat Platt with ease before delivering a sumptuous cross that Richards-Everton managed to clear with Harry Smith lurking behind.
The game developed into an end-to-end style, and the Silkmen were able to contain their opponents whilst causing danger themselves. Substitute Smith was causing the Stanley back four issues, and he held the ball up well before feeding Vincenti who’s effort was cleared.
Accrington went down the other end and Taylor was this time tested by Jordan Clark, but the keeper made a comfortable save and immediately launched a Silkmen counter. The ball landed at the feet of Smith 25-yards out, but the strikers audacious effort sailed high and wide.
It proved to be another missed chance to rue for Macclesfield as Accrington punished them with 10 minutes remaining. The substitute Clark played a through ball to Connor Hall, who tried to square it across for Zanzala but found the ball being turned into the net by Fitzpatrick.
Keith Lowe proved to be at his heroic best five minutes later, when Zanzala raced through and squeezed an acute effort past Taylor that Lowe managed to lump clear before it crossed the line.
The hosts sealed their victory in the dying moments after patient build-up play from Accrington provided Barlaser time to run at the Silkmen defence, and the midfielder wriggled his way through before unleashing a stunning strike and round up the win.
The result leaves Macclesfield now 3rd in the Checkatrade Group, with a home tie against West Bromich Albion to play next month.
Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Hodgkiss, Lowe, Kelleher, Fitzpatrick ©, Rose, Maycock, Arthur (Vincenti, 41), Napa, Wilson (Blissett, 58), Marsh (Smith, 68)
Unused substitutes: Simpson, Grimes, Stephens, Pearson
Accrington Stanley: Maxted, Platt, Sykes ©, Richards-Everton, Anderton, Mingoia, Finley (Nolan, 82), Barlaser, Hall, Mangan (Clark, 75), Zanzala (Scott, 90)
Unused substitutes: Warner, Ihiekwe, Mohammed, Kee
By Jaquob Crooke