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Match Report: Sandbach United 5 v 3 Macclesfield Town XI

29 August 2020

Boasting players from the Silkmen Elite Development Squad as well as the Club's Academy, a Macclesfield Town XI made the short trip over to Sandbach this afternoon to contest another pre-season encounter - this time against The Ramblers' First Team.
The match started at a frantic pace, with both sides looking to stamp their authority on the game right from the first whilstle. 
Tyler James had the first real chance of the game in the 6th minute, when he bore down on goal - yet Dan Hamlett made a brave stop to preserve the immediate deadlock.
Whilst the visitors enjoyed much of the early possession, it was the home side who quickly nullified the threat and started to create chances of their own.
Bobbie McDonnell and Cal Evans were both denied by the agile Riccardo Longato, yet he was powerless to stop Kieran Garner-Knapper from opening the scoring in the 25th minute with a clinical strike which flew into the back of the net.
In some respects, the opening goal catalysed both sides into a concerted period of offensive play - with Garner Knapper retaining his potent threat for the hosts and livewire James always seeking to capitalise on every opportunity.
On 38 minutes, the electrifying pace of Amadou Doumbouya threatened to yield dividends - as he surged down the left before seeing his venomous attempt at goal blocked at the last second by a Sandbach defender.
After a triple change by the hosts, the fluidity of the game was slightly compromised for a period - as both sides took stock of the increasingly tactical battle which was being played out.
That said, James unleashed a magical solo run three minutes before the interval as he skipped past three Sandbach defenders and yet with the goal at his mercy, could only slot the ball agonisingly wide of the post.
The second period was barely four minutes old when James did strike however, as some nimble footwork and an astute finish restored parity for the young Silkmen side.
It could have got even better for the vistors sixty seconds later, when a tantalising cross from the left was latched onto by James - yet his low drive could only be directed narrowly wide of Hamlett's upright.
By this point, The Silkmen were enjoying almost total dominance and on 53 minutes had the ball in the back of the net for the second time of the fledgling half - only to see Callum Knight's strike marginally ruled out for offside.
Sandbach looked to respond and spurned two glorious chances within quick succession, as the action-packed second period showed no signs of letting-up.
Just before the hour mark, James was once again on hand in order to finish a flowing Silkmen move and complete an inspiring comeback. It was no more than the striker deserved, after being a consistent thorn in Sandbach's side throughout and the joy on his face as the ball rippled the back of the net told it's only story - friendly or no friendly.
Our advantage was to last just two minutes however, as Garner-Knapper pulled the two sides back level with a ferocious strike and shortly after, The Ramblers were to regain the lead when a teasing cross into the box was headed home from close range by Tom Wakefield.
Sandbach were to open up a two-goal cushion on 64 minutes, when Garner-Knapper sped through the Macc defence before confidently finishing past Longato to replicate the hat-trick he claimed against The Silkmen back in 2019.
Trevor Kyobe then replaced Dario Germano for the visitors, before the deficit was halved in the 70th minute. James did magnificently well to round Hamlett in the Sandbach goal and he then unselfishly laid the ball off to Keelan Summerfield who tapped home.
Yet once again the hosts responded, as Bobbie McDonnell majestically controlled the ball in the 79th minute and subsequently unleashed an absolute worldy to claim Sandbach's fifth of the afternoon.
After another devastating performance, Tyler James was replaced by Luke Draysey in the 82nd minute and shortly after, Aaron Stockton marked his introduction with an incredible point-blank save to deny Sandbach adding a sixth.
All in all, a great workout which elicits much optimism for all those on show this afternoon.
We would like to thank our friends at Sandbach United for their consummate hospitality and wish them well for the forthcoming season.
Macclesfield Town Starting XI: Longato, Germano, Fregapane, Beck, Lukatome, Makelele, Sealey, Knight, James, Clegg, Doumbouya.
Subs: Kyobe, Stockton, Draysey, MacDonald, Soares, Summerfield, Trialist.

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