Macclesfield Town Under 16s were in action last night, as Paul McGuire's evolving side took on Cheshire neighbours Crewe Alexandra.
After encouraging performances against Morecambe and Derby County over the course of the season, the lads were handed another stern test against a Crewe side who had progressed through the illustrious academy at Gresty Road.
The Railwaymen took an early lead courtesy of a clinical set-piece, yet the game then developed into one conducive to the attacking, expansive play that both sides committed themselves to right from the off.
Arron Stockton made as series of stunning saves throughout the contest and although the woodwork denied Crewe on more than one occasion, Macc had more than their fair share of opportunities at the other end.
The pace of Lewis Price, Josh Clegg and Ramani Manning proved to be a constant threat and they were supported by Sean Holland and Tyler James who orchestrated the midfield for large periods.
In addition to the fast pace of our offensive play, the hosts also proved to be defensively resilient against the talented Alex side. Skipper Rocco Fregapane gallantly lead the line and together with his defensive colleagues Femi Johnson, Adam Owen and Conor Seymour restricted the visitors to largely speculative efforts.
As the game progressed, Macc began to apply copious amounts of pressure on the Crewe goal and although the richly-deserved equaliser proved to be elusive, the commitment and defiance of the youngsters is something which shone through and elicits much optimism for the future.
Macclesfield Town Under 16s Starting XI: Stockton, F.Johnson, Owen, Seymour, Fregapane, Holland, James, Clegg, Price, Manning, Logan.
Subs: K. Johnson, Patel, Jones, Mealing, Gwyther, Osipitan