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On This Day: Macclesfield Town 3 v 0 Barnet

24 March 2020

After a Good Friday defeat at near-neighbours Stockport County, Keith Alexander's Silkmen side bounced-back with a rampant victory over Barnet at the Moss Rose twelve years ago today.
Alexander had been drafted into the managerial hot-seat less than a month prior - with his sole objective being to steer the club away from the League Two drop-zone.
A massive stride towards that was taken against The Bees, at a sun-drenched Moss Rose where 1718 spectators saw the hosts secure a spirited victory.
After a tentative start from both sides, Alexander's men began to gain a foothold in the game as they started to stamp their authority on it.
The first real chance of note came just before the twenty minute mark, when Francis Green's effort rebounded into the path of Jamie Tolley - yet he could only fire straight at 'keeper Lee Harrison.
The deadlock was broken on 31 minutes however, as Neil Ashton's deep free-kick into the Barnet penalty area was met by winger Danny Thomas at the far post and he clinically headed home from close range.
The breakthrough inspired the home side to search for more goals, with Gareth Evans and Terry Dunfield both having chances to extend our lead in the immediate aftermath.
A deserved second goal did arrive four minutes before the interval though - and once again it came from an Ashton free-kick out on the right. This time, the curling ball evaded everyone in the area and nestled into the far corner of the net without gaining a touch from anyone.
Harrison then made a world-class stop to deny Ryan Cresswell's venomous header right on the stroke of half-time, yet there was little doubt that there was much to be optimistic about as Keith imparted his fifteen-minute words of wisdom.
With a two-goal cushion in what was ultimately a critically important game for Alexander's men, it would have been easy and perhaps even understandable if the second period had been one which lacked the tempo of the first.
Yet nothing could have been further from the truth as Macc sought to add to their tally right from the restart.
In fact it took only three minutes for our lead to be extended. Gareth Evans beautifully laid the ball off for Francis Green and after turning inside a Barnet defender, he fizzed the ball past Harrison to claim his eleventh goal of the season.
In addition to an exemplary performance in his defensive capacity, Macc-lad Shaun Brisley was also proving to be a menace at the other end of the pitch too. Shortly after the third goal, Brisley looked to have been impeded in the area by Bees defender Kenny Gillet - yet the Referee waved away the appeal with little more than a cheery smile.
The commanding defender also saw a twenty-yard thunderbolt whistle past Harrison's near post in the dying stages of the game, as Macc claimed a precious three points in emphatic style.

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