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On This Day: Macclesfield Town 2 v 2 Stevenage

23 March 2020

Sol Campbell's Macclesfield Town entertained Stevenage a year ago today, for what would prove to be an historic occasion here at the Moss Rose.
Despite the fact that an upturn in fortunes had given Macc a very real chance of EFL survival, we remained in a serious position with just nine games of the season left to play.
Every point was absolutely crucial in that unforgettable run-in and on a warm March afternoon the lads faced our old Conference rivals in what turned out to be a dramatic contest.
Although proceedings culminated with us all off our seats, the game really did not start off in the same vein - as both sides appeared cagey and unwilling to make any unforced mistakes.
Although Macc enjoyed the bulk of possession, the Stevenage defence held firm for the majority of the opening period - as they reduced Campbell's men to an array of speculative attempts which rarely troubled Paul Farman in the Boro' goal.
That was all to change three minutes before the interval, as the game sparked into life.
The deadlock was broken when Michael Rose delightfully thread the ball through to Elliott Durrell and made no mistake in clinically firing the ball home to give Macc the lead.
It was to be short-lived however - just over a minute in fact.
Joel Byrom swung a menacing free-kick into the Silkmen penalty area and this was met by Ben Nugent, who headed home unmarked.
The second half began in much the same manner as the first, with both sides cautiously approaching the other as they fought to gain the ascendancy.
This was all to change in the 52nd minute however, when the visitors were to take the lead in front of the travelling contingent.
Alex Revell nonchalantly knocked down a ball into the box and this was seized upon by Dan Newton, who showed bible footwork to turn and fire the ball past Kieran O'Hara.
Defeat at the hands of the Hertfordshire-outfit did not bear thinking about, as Sol Campbell reacted to the set-back by introducing Scott Wilson to the action shortly after.
Macc continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession, yet in truth Farman was well protected by his defensive colleagues - so much so that he was only tested sporadically and even then, not with the level of danger which would threaten his goal.
Macc needed an injection of creativity, a man to take the game by the scruff of the neck, a hero.
In the 81st minute our Magic Man stepped off the bench, with nine minutes plus injury-time left to conjure up yet another enthralling spell.
Macc immediately looked a different proposition, with a rejuvenated purpose after Danny Whitaker's introduction.
Not only that, the Silkmen faithful knew that if anyone could help us in our hour of need then that man was Danny.
With the seconds counting down, it seemed like all hope had been evaporated by the March sunshine.
Yet three minutes into injury-time, Danny was to provide us all with what turned out to be one last moment of magic.
A pumped ball into the box was headed on by Harry Smith and although it looked odds-on to be cleared by the Stevenage defence, Danny tenaciously took it down before firing into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The celebrations told their own story, as The Silkmen claimed another priceless and defiant point in our quest for EFL survival.
Little did we know at the time that the strike would be Danny's last for the club, but in many ways it characterised the belief, determination and ability that we had all come to know and love since his debut strike against Exeter City over seventeen years prior.
Here are the match highlights from the game -

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