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On This Day: Exeter City 1 v 3 Macclesfield Town

2 May 2020

Twenty-two-years ago today, 1,200 Silkmen fans made the long journey to Devon as we concluded our inaugural season in the Football League by facing Exeter City.

Sammy McIlroy's side had already secured promotion to the third tier seven days earlier, yet the party would continue at St James' Park as everyone wanted to enjoy the remarkable achievement for as long as possible.

The game itself started at a blistering pace, with both sides intent on attacking the other. Ryan Price was called into action within the first minute, as he denied Barry McConnell from close-range and from the resulting counter-attack, Stuart Whittaker's teasing cross fractionally evaded Phil Power at the back post.

Price then showed his agility in the seventh minute, as he somehow managed to scoop Darren Rowbotham's looping header out from under the crossbar and he then foiled McConnell once more two minutes later.

Yet the deadlock was to be broken in the 12th minute, when a free-kick from Whittaker was neatly flicked on by Peter Davenport and Steve Wood fired a half volley into the net.

Exeter were clearly not on their summer break just yet and they undoubtedly played their part in what proved to be a mesmerising final day contest.

The home side would restore parity a minute after the restart, when Rowbotham flicked the neatest of passes to Paul Birch, who crashed a twenty-yard shot into the top corner of the net.

Yet Sammy's illustrious team refused to give in and in the 52nd minute, Whittaker's fizzing shot could only be parried into the path of Peter Davenport - who converted from close-range to claim his hundredth Football League goal.

The contest was ended six minutes later, when a superb cross from Whittaker opened up the Exeter defence and Tony Philliskirk despatched the easiest of chances to give Macc a two-goal cushion.

Both sides had opportunities to add to the scoresheet during the remaining period, yet as the full-time whistle blew both sets of fans united to pay tribute to a side that had secured a remarkable feat against all the odds.

Macclesfield Town: Price, Tinson (Edey 71), Davenport (Mason 76), Payne, Howarth, Sodje, Askey (Philliskirk 26), Wood, Sorvel, Power, Whittaker.

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