Despite a spirited performance, Macclesfield Town Under 21s suffered a slender 3 - 2 defeat against league leaders Stockport Town this afternoon.
Played in largely inclement conditions, it was the visitors who started off in the ascendancy, as they looked to take the game to Paul McGuire's side right from the off.
With just three minutes on the clock, Stockport carved out the first real chance of the game when Wilf Riley stormed through on goal - only to see his low drive smartly saved by Ricardo Longato.
Unperturbed by this, the hosts looked to create chances of their own and could well have taken the lead a minute later, when Rocco Fragapane's deep cross from the left was headed narrowly over the bar by Riche Makelele.
By this stage it was clear that the contest was set to be a full-blooded and fast-paced one and on eight minutes, the deadlock was broken.
Sam Deering created space twenty-yards out and used it to great effect as he played Riley through on goal - who confidently despatched the ball, despite Longato managing to get a foot on it.
Not content with claiming the lead, Stockport immediately set their sights on a second goal and just two minutes later Longato was called into action once more, as he emphatically denied Deering's venomous half-volley from an acute angle.
After weathering somewhat of a storm, Macc re-grouped and began to take the game to the visitors once more.
On 14 minutes a slick move down the right-hand side saw the ball break to Callum Evans at the far post, yet he could only direct it wide of the target.
Eight minutes later Macc threatened once more, this time Trevor Kyobe's tenacious play down the left saw him cut in from the touchline, before smashing the ball into the side-netting.
Despite a vibrant reaction to going behind from the hosts, Stockport were to double their lead on 23 minutes when Deering was unleashed down the left-hand side, before his tantalising ball into the box was smashed home by Riley on the edge of the six-yard box.
Liam Ellis and Amin Ahmed both had chances to reduce the arrears before the half-time interval, yet with a two-goal deficit to contend with it was imperative that the young Macc side came out for the second period in defiant fashion.
And the lads did just that.
In what proved to be a ferocious battle, those wearing the hallowed blue shirts gave their all to find a way back into their game and it wasn't long before they claimed their reward.
Ellis picked up the ball on the edge of the Stockport area, before feeding it in to substitute, Tyler James. He magically played the ball back to the advancing Riley, who calmly finished to give the young Silkmen side renewed hope.
Stockport were to re-gain their two goal cushion within a minute however, as a corner from the right caused pandemonium in the Macc area and it was eventually smothered home by Charlie Hill.
There is no doubt that many teams could well have capitulated at this point, yet the battling spirit which Paul McGuire has installed in his side shone through.
Straight from the re-start, Macc threw everything they had at the visitors and clearly believed that the comeback was still on.
Wave after wave of Silkmen pressure was repelled by the league leaders, yet on 63 minutes Macc would secure a breakthrough in the most unlikely of circumstances.
The hosts were awarded a free-kick in the centre-circle and up stepped Dan Dolling, who launched a long, high drive into the box. Confusion infiltrated the Stockport area, as the ball skimmed off the wet surface and nestled into the corner of the net without any further touches being needed.
There was now a tangible sense that an equaliser would come, as Macc looked to play the sort of attacking, expansive football which they are becoming renowned for.
On 78 minutes Tyler James laid the ball back to Cavan Holford on the edge of the area, yet he could only send it agonisingly wide of the far post.
Stockport retained their potent threat right until the end - particularly through their rapid counter-attacks which the Macc defence did well to nullify on a variety of occasions.
The most dangerous of these came on 80 minutes when Riley showed a lightening turn of pace to break through the Macc defence - yet after rounding Longato he was heroically dispossessed by Dolling, just before he was about to roll the ball into an empty net.
As the clock ticked down to it's impending conclusion, Macc's feisty quest to restore parity continued with heart and belief.
A flurry of corners deep within injury time exemplified the fact that the lads were giving absolutely everything they had to salvage a point from the game and right on the stroke of full-time it looked very much like they had achieved just that.
A teasing corner was floated in from the right and Tyler Beck rose highest to power a thunderous header towards goal. Dimeji Willian had other ideas however, as he stopped the ball right on the goal-line to ensure that his side held on to take maximum points.
After the game, Paul McGuire insisted that his side gave themselves a round of applause for the way that they had conducted themselves during the second period in particular and there is no doubt that despite the defeat, many positives were elicited from the game ahead of the home clash with Barnton next Sunday.
Macclesfield Town Under 21s: Longato, Butterworth, Fragapane, Dolling, Beck, Evans, Ahmed, Holford, Ellis, Makelele, Kyobe.
Subs: Price, James, Teixiera, Holland.