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On This Day: Macclesfield Town 1 v 1 Leyton Orient

14 April 2020

Macclesfield Town edged a point closer to a fairytale return to the EFL back in 2018, as we took a share of the spoils against Leyton Orient here at the Moss Rose.

Played in front of the BT Sport cameras, John Askey's side knew that victory against the East Londoners, together with second-placed Tranmere Rovers dropping points at home to Aldershot Town would see us crowned champions.

With so much at stake, it would have been understandable if the home side had displayed a few nerves - certainly within the opening exchanges as we settled into the game. Yet nothing could have been further from the truth, as we stormed out of the blocks and looked to lay siege on the Orient goal right from the off.

Within the first two minutes, skipper Jared Hodgkiss sent a pinpoint cross into the area and when Nathan Blissett rose to connect sweetly with the ball, everyone anticipated that the net was about to ripple. As it was, the Plymouth-loanee could only direct his header over Dean Brill's bar and away to safety.

Danny Whitehead then hit a venomous twenty-five yard volley which a well-positioned Brill did well to hold on to, before our hearts raced a little quicker when Orient had the ball in the back of Shwan Jalal's net - only for the Assistant Referee to raise his flag for offside.

The deadlock was broken in the 17th minute, when Mitch Hancox laid the ball off to Danny Whitaker and our Magic Man fired home to claim his hundredth career goal.

It was now more than Askey's men had deserved and shortly after our lead could well have been doubled, as Blissett connected with a Callum Evans delivery but Orient 'keeper Brill was able to make a comfortable save.

In supplying the cross for that move, Evans took a knock and was replaced by Scott Burgess.

Macc seemed to temporarily lose their rhythm somewhat after the change, with Macauley Bonne seeing his header cleared off the line in the 40th minute.

The subsequent corner wasn't dealt with effectively and Josh Koroma slammed the ball home from close-range to restore parity in front of a stunned Moss Rose faithful.

As the Silkmen fans waited for the return of their heroes during the interval, there was still much to be optimistic about despite Koroma's leveller - particularly in light of the fact that Askey's said seemed to be at their most potent during the second period of matches.

That said, chances were few and far between after the break - with Macauley Bonne and Jobi McAnuff going close for the visitors in the early stages.

Danny Whitehead then fired a rasping twenty-five yard drive inches wide of Brill's near post as Macc looked to claim victory late on - yet we were indebted to David Fitzpatrick a minute from time, as he launched a phenomenal goal-line clearance after David Mooney had rounded Jalal and looked certain to claim the winner.

Second-place Tranmere then ensured that the champagne would be kept on ice a little longer, as they secured a 2 - 0 victory against Aldershot Town later that day - but there was no doubt that the dream was quickly turning into reality right before our very eyes.

Here are the match highlights -


Macclesfield Town: Jalal, Hodgkiss, Pilkington, Lowe, Fitzpatrick, Whitehead (Kennedy 90’), Whitaker, Evans (Burgess 25’), Hancox, Marsh, Blissett.

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