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On This Day: Macclesfield Town 1 v 0 Gateshead

27 March 2020

The Silkmen returned to the National League summit two years ago today, as Nathan Blissett's late strike saw John Askey's men secure maximum points against Steve Watson's Gateshead.
Coming into the game, Macc trailed Sutton United by virtue of goal average - yet had a game in hand over Paul Doswell's side which was contested on a warm spring evening at the Moss Rose.
An nervous undercurrent was tangible as the two sides prepared for kick-off and after a cagey start, this did little to counter-act the sense of importance which surrounded the contest.
Slowly but surely, the champions-elect began to get into their rhythm. Tyrone Marsh warmed the palms of visiting 'keeper James Montgomery when he perfectly connected with Elliott Durrell's cross from the right and the former Dover Athletic striker then went on to send a teasing cross into the area himself - which Mitch Hancox was agonisingly close to converting at the back post.
Macc retained the ascendancy, yet an incredible defensive showing from The Heed proved to be frustrating for large parts as Watson sought to claim at least a draw from his former employers.
Marsh then had an effort cleared off the line, with Durrell, Blissett and Hancox all having chances to secure the breakthrough for Askey's men during the first period.
After being a potent threat for much of the first period, the Silkmen faithful then witnessed the concerning sight of Durrell being withdrawn through injury and being replaced by Callum Evans.
Skipper Jared Hodgkiss then tested his luck, as he fizzed a twenty-five yard effort towards goal and was unlucky to see it fly just wide of the near post in what proved to be the last real chance of the opening half.
The second half saw Macc attacking The Star Lane End and as such, a large amount of expectation accompanied each and every attacking move.
Former Silkman Scott Barrow did have the first chance after the re-start however, as he forced Shwan Jalal into a smart save to his left, but in truth the visitors seemed content to allow Macc to press.
Marsh, Whitaker and Fitzpatrick all went close, yet as we entered the last minute of normal time the deadlock remained.
If there was one thing which that illustrious team were known for though, it was their unbelievable defiance when the odds were against them. 
With literally seconds on the clock, it was safe to say that they odds were firmly against Askey's men - and yet somehow they managed to find a way through.
Danny Whitaker's cross from the right-hand side was deflected up into the air by Kieran Green and as the ball descended, Blissett was on hand to steer it over the line in front of the jubilant Star Lane End faithful.
Its wasn't the best goal in the world - but nobody cared, because what it symbolised was that in the face of all adversity dreams were coming true.
Here are the match highlights -

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