Macclesfield Town moved six points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League with a 1-0 victory over Sutton United at the Moss Rose.
An early Danny Whitaker penalty was enough for John Askey’s side who played a large period of the second-half with ten men after Shwan Jalal was dismissed.
But despite their man advantage Sutton weren’t able to break through as John Askey’s side ended 2017 in style in-front of 2,246 at the Moss.
The Silkmen made one change to the side that beat FC Halifax Town on Boxing Day with Elliott Durrell coming in to the side for Scott Burgess.
Sutton made a bright start to the game and Jared Hodgkiss had to defend well early on to prevent Ross Lafayette getting in behind the Macc back four.
But after only 10 minutes the decisive moment of the game came. Whitaker latched on to a neat ball from David Fitzpatrick and when he cut back inside he was clearly blocked by Kenny Davis giving the referee little option but to award a penalty. Whitaker stepped up and stroked the ball home to give the Silkmen a dream start.
Durrell found his way into the book shortly after the Macc opener but the winger nearly made a second for the Silkmen but his cross just alluded Scott Wilson on 18 minutes..
Macc were looking impressive but Lafayette nearly leveled the game on 23 minutes with a stunning volley from distance that hit the woodwork.
At the other end Whitaker and Durrell both had chances from corners as the Silkmen looked for a second goal before Kieran Kennedy had a goal disallowed for a handball in the Sutton box.
The league leaders were handed a blow on 40 minutes though as skipper Hodgkiss was forced off through injury and replaced by George Pilkington who stepped in at right-back.
Despite that set-back it was the Silkmen who had the best chances as the first-half came to a close. First Durrell volleyed over after good work from Ryan Lloyd before Danny Whitehead flashed an effort wide from distance as the home side went in to the break 1-0 ahead.
The second half started in a similar vein with the Silkmen pressing for a second goal although a Nicky Bailey free-kick did pose danger to John Askey’s side. Thankfully it went harmlessly over Jalal’s goal.
But on 64 minutes the game suddenly changed. Lafayette latched on to a long ball before Jalal rushed from his goal to clear. Jalal looked to have played the ball first but the referee thought otherwise and gave the keeper his marching orders.
Scott Wilson made way for Sam Ramsbottom before Elliott Durrell was replaced by Mitch Hancox as Macc reorganised following the red card.
Despite their man disadvantage it was the Silkmen who had the next real chance as a dangerous cross flashed across the Sutton goal.
At the other end Ramsbottom made a good save to deny Tom Bolarinwa. Soon after a deflected cross drifted across the home goal before Sutton sub Josh Taylor looped an effort high over the Macc goal.
Sutton through everything at Macclesfield in the closing stages but the Silkmen defence stood firm to gain a massive three points and extend their lead at the top of the National League.
Macclesfield: Jalal, Hodgkiss (Pilkington 40), Lowe, Kennedy, Fitzpatrick, Durrell (Hancox 68), Lloyd, Whitaker, Whitehead, Wilson (Ramsbottom 66), Marsh.
Subs Not Used: Arthur, Burgess
Attendance: 2246 (113 away fans)
Goal: Whitaker (10)
Yellows Cards: Durrell (12), Hancox (78)
Red Card: Jalal (66)