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On This Day: Macclesfield Town 1 v 0 Chester

2 April 2020

Macclesfield Town moved nine points clear at the top of the National League on this day back in 2018, as a solitary Danny Whitehead strike gave John Askey's men victory against Chester at the Moss Rose.
It proved to be a real team effort, as for much of the morning the game was in some doubt after persistent downpours had waterlogged areas of the pitch.
Yet Head Groundsman Gary Lewis assembled an army of volunteers to remove as much water as possible and after several hours battling against the elements, the game was finally given the green light.
Macc came into the contest after an inspired 3 - 2 victory at Woking three days earlier - yet with our Cheshire neighbours battling against relegation, everyone know that Chester would be a tough proposition to overcome if we were to register back-to-back victories over the Easter period.
Indeed, it was the visitors who arguably started the brighter of the two sides - with Harry White looking particularly menacing in front of goal.
With just three minutes having elapsed, White stormed through on goal - yet Shwan Jalal was able to make a comfortable save from what was an effort which lacked conviction and belief.
The home side were unquestionably shaken into life and slowly but surely, they settled into playing the expansive brand of football which had given them at least one foot in the EFL.
Skipper Jared Hodgkiss fizzed a twenty-five yard effort marginally wide of the far post with ten minutes on the clock and less that sixty seconds later, Whitehead's low drive across the Chester six-yard line agonisingly evaded Tyrone Marsh at the far post as Macc began to move through the gears.
White continued to be Chester's most potent offensive threat however, as he lashed a venomous twenty-yard drive inches over Jalal's bar on the half-hour mark and whilst the visitors only threatened sporadically, they did so dangerously and effectively.
Danny Whitaker then forced Andrew Firth into an acrobatic save as the first period ebbed towards it's conclusion, before Keith Lowe tried his luck with a delicate chip which dipped fractionally over the bar.
After imparting his words of wisdom during the interval, John Askey saw his side begin the second period in defiant mood. With the rain now coming down in biblical proportions, the hosts began to lay siege on the Chester goal as they looked to make the breakthrough.
The first chance of the half was to fall to Magic Man Whitaker, as he connected well with Whitehead's cross from the right - yet he could only direct it over the bar and into the Star Lane End faithful.
That said, we did not have to wait much longer for the stalemate to be broken as in the 53rd minute George Pilkington launched an incredible sliding tackle to win the ball back thirty-yards out and after Mitch Hancox had stormed down the left to deliver a pin-point cross, Whitehead was on hand to convert with a cool finish.
As you would expect with a team fighting against relegation, falling behind did initially galvanise the visitors into a response and on 65 minutes, Jalal produced a world-class save to tip James Jones' thunderous volley over the bar.
The latter stages were characterised by a war of attrition in the midfield, as both sides fought to alter in dynamics of the game. Speculative efforts were chanced by both sides, yet in truth John Askey's men were never unduly tested as they edged closer to a remarkable EFL return.
Here are the match highlights -
Macclesfield Town: Jalal, Hodgkiss, Lowe, Pilkington, Fitzpatrick, Evans, Whitehead (Burgess 59), Whitaker, Hancox, Marsh (Kennedy 80), Blissett.

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