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On This Day: Macclesfield Town 1 v 0 Lincoln City

4 April 2020

Sammy McIlroy's Macclesfield Town took another massive step in pursuit of back-to-back promotions twenty-two years ago today, as they contested what proved to be a dramatic encounter with Lincoln City at the Moss Rose.

With both sides vying for a place in the third tier, an expectant crowd of 3,278 turned up to witness a fiercely competitive battle which began with the hosts firmly in the ascendancy.

The first real chance came in the fifth minute, when Martin McDonald played a short corner to Stuart Whittaker and after storming into the area, he was unlucky to see his low drive towards the near post deflect fractionally wide.

Three minutes later, the visitors were thwarted an incredible save from Ryan Price when Steve Fleming's venomous twenty-five yard drive was acrobatically tipped over the bar.

Macc then began to up the pressure, with Steve Wood guilty of taking his eye off the ball when he mistimed a volley from an Andy Mason cross - in what would surely have been the opening goal.

The ball subsequently fell to Martin McDonald and he launched a pinpoint cross back into the Lincoln penalty area, yet Mason's powerful header was somehow cleared off the line by Steve Holmes.

Darren Tinson then tried his luck from range as Macc laid siege to the victor's goal, yet 'keeper Barry Richardson was able to make a smart save to preserve the deadlock.

Tinson then returned to his defensive duties, as he blocked John Finnegan's fizzing strike on the six-yard line and Price was then called into action once more, denying John Whitney's close-range header.

Just before the half-hour mark, the first controversial moment of the afternoon occurred when John Askey looked to be clean through on goal - only to be impeded by Whitney.

Whilst the referee acknowledged that an offence had been committed by awarding the free-kick, the yellow card which was brandished led to some derision amongst the Silkmen faithful.

Seconds later, Whittaker's teasing corner was met perfectly by an advancing Steve Payne - yet his forceful header was cleared off the line by Holmes once more.

Tempers then boiled over momentarily, when Lee Thorpe locked heads with 'keeper Price in front of the away contingent. After the two were separated, the Macc 'keeper was subject to missiles being thrown from the Imps supporters who were eager to let their opinions known and for this reason alone, the interval came at a poignant time for both sides.

After Roary the Lion had, let's say "entertained" the away fans during the interlude, Macc came out for the second period in defiant mood as they looked so secure another home victory.

Askey looked set to open the scoring moments after play had resumed, yet after breaking free of the Lincoln defence he lost his footing at the critical moment and was subsequently unable to pull the trigger.

There had been an volatile undercurrent brewing for some time by this point and this was to incredibly spill over on the hour mark. McDonald's challenge on Lincoln 'keeper Richardson was fractionally late, yet with the Scotsman on the ground Richardson appeared to administer two kicks at him which sparked a mass brawl.

Midfielder Ben Sedgemore was first to the scene, as he looked to protect his colleague by clattering into Richardson and twenty-two man melee that ensured was only diluted by the swift actions of stewards and the local police.

Richardson and Sedgemore were both then dismissed for their part in proceedings and with the visitors not naming a substitute 'keeper on the bench, John Witney assumed the gloves for the remainder of the contest.

With both sets of fans vehemently willing their side on, the game retained it's highly passionate element - albeit at a reduced level.

Askey, Mason and Whittaker all had chances to score, yet with time running out the game looked destined to end all-square.

Yet as we had seen so many times before, that illustrious side were incapable of just rolling over and accepting what appeared to be their destiny - they were intent in writing it for themselves.

With barely ninety seconds left on the clock, a flowing Silkmen move ended when Askey laid the ball back to Steve Wood and he rifled it into the top corner to claim his thirteenth goal of the season.

The outpouring of emotion infiltrated each and every one of us and as the full-time whistle blew, all anyone felt was an immense amount of pride for a side that never gave up.

Macclesfield Town: Price, Tinson, McDonald, Payne, Ingram, Sodje, Askey (Sorvel 89), Wood, Mason (Chambers 84), Sedgemore, Whittaker (Howarth 89).

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