Harry Smith’s first-half strike wasn’t enough to give Macclesfield all three points, as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat away at Northampton Town on a frustrating Good Friday afternoon.
Smith’s expertly executed lob cancelled out Dean Bowditch’s opener. However, as the Silkmen pushed for a second-goal in the next 45, goals from Daniel Powell and Junior Morias consigned Sol Campbell’s men to defeat.
Sol Campbell made two changes to the starting eleven with Danny Whitaker and Brice Ntambwe replacing Michael Rose and Reece Cole.
The Silkmen started the match in the ascendancy. Ntambwe wasted no time in making his presence felt in the game, heading just wide from an Elliott Durrell corner with only four minutes on the clock.
Only four minutes later and Ben Stephens was next to test David Cornell in the Cobblers’ goal. Harry Smith capitalised on a misplaced ball from the Northampton defence and found Stephens just outside the box, but the young forward’s looping effort landed in Cornell’s arms.
Northampton then started to push for an opener themselves. Daniel Powell’s marauding run saw him take aim at goal from 25-yards, but his fierce drive didn’t trouble Kieran O’Hara.
The Cobblers’ took the lead soon after. Jordan Turnbull received the ball on the left-wing for the hosts before finding Dean Bowditch in the box with a pin-point cross and the forward made no mistake, leaving O’Hara with no chance with his first-time volley finding the bottom corner.
The goal didn’t demoralise the Silkmen and it was so nearly level just four minutes after the goal. Durrell’s pinpoint free-kick from a tight angle was flicked into the net by Harry Smith but the celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee’s flag.
However, the striker wasn’t to be denied for long. Ben Stephens played a delightful ball over the Northampton back-line, Smith picked up the ball and lobbed the ball over the onrushing Cornell and into the net to equalise.
The hosts came flying out of the traps after the interval.
Nathan Cameron produced some superb last-ditch defending to deny Daniel Powell with the forward bearing down on goal. His sliding challenge was timed to perfection to deny Northampton a second.
Kieran O’Hara was also called into action. George Cox was played through on goal by Bowditch, but O’Hara’s outstretched leg expertly denied the youngster.
However, there was little the goalkeeper could have done to deny Daniel Powell from putting Northampton back ahead on 55 minutes. Powell capitalised on a loose ball from the Macc defence before racing into the box and placing the ball into the net whilst one on one.
Once again Macclesfield went searching for an equaliser. Reece Cole’s jinking run through the hosts’ defence resulted in his curling effort flying into the hands of Cornell. Whereas the Northampton number one was called into action again tipping Elliott Durrell’s goal-bound free-kick wide.
The match was settled in the 91st minute. Kieran O’Hara rolled the ball out to Elliott Durrell as Macc prepared a last-ditch assault on goal. However, he was dispossessed by goal scorer Powell who calmly ran through on goal and squared the ball for team-mate Morias for a tap-in.
Things got worse deep into stoppage time with Nathan Cameron struggling to complete the match with an ankle injury but now attentions turn to Easter Monday’s clash at home to Newport.
By Andrew Gate
Attendance: 4,925 (283 Macclesfield)
Macclesfield Starting XI: O’Hara, Fitzpatrick, Kelleher, Durrell, Smith (Wilson ’87), Welch-Hayes (Martis ’77), Stephens (Cole ’59), Whitaker, Cameron, Jules, Ntambwe
Subs Not Used: Grimes, Marsh, Evans, Idem