Macclesfield Town increased their advantage at the top of the National League table to three points with a 2-2 draw away at Maidstone.
After going into the interval 1-0, Macclesfield responded to lead 2-1 with 15 minutes to play, but Ross Lafayette’s late strike shared the spoils for the hosts.
Earlier in the day, John Askey faced a selection dilemma and took the decision to bring in Callum Evans after his recent return from injury. He came in for Scott Wilson, whilst Kieran Kennedy also replaced George Pilkington.
Knowing that a win would move them five points clear of Sutton in second, Macclesfield Town started the brighter. Elliott Durrell so unlucky not to open the scoring after just five minutes, as he saw his long-range effort come back off the post.
However, despite some promising early play from The Silkmen, they would fall behind after 19 minutes. A long-range free kick from Stones top scorer Stuart Lewis produced a smart save from Shwan Jalal initially, but Alex Wynter was on hand to stab home the rebound.
The ever-lively Durrell was determined to get Macclesfield back into the match, but he cleared by De Havilland at the back post. Mitch Hancox also went close from distance shortly afterwards.
Nathan Blissett couldn’t believe his luck on the stroke of half-time, as he saw his goal-bound header come back off the bar. After Keith Lowe’s appeal for a penalty was turned down by the referee, the ball was put back into the area by Mitch Hancox and Blissett rose highest above everybody else before cannoning his effort off the woodwork.
No changes were made at the halftime break, and Macclesfield began the second half strongly. Danny Whitaker winning a corner with the first attack and Blissett putting a header just over the bar just four minutes later.
It was that man, Whitaker, who would bring the away side back into the contest after 52 minutes. A mix-up in the Maidstone penalty area allowed the midfielder to pick up possession and he made no mistake in putting the scores level from close range.
Callum Evans came close to further extending Macclesfield’s goal return on the night, as he saw his long-range shot blocked shortly afterwards. Blissett also went close once more.
However, the league leaders did go on to extend their lead and it was Durrell who provided the magical touch. The wide man picked up the ball on the right-hand side and, with the help of the post, curled home a delightful effort with the outside of his foot to double his sides tally for the evening.
Maidstone, though, would leave with a share of the spoils and it was Ross Lafayette who grabbed the equaliser. He reacted quickest to a bouncing ball in the area and slotted it powerfully under the hands of Jalal.
Both teams threw everything at each other in the closing stages, with Macclesfield showing their impressive fitness, but the referee’s whistle meant the points were shared at The Gallagher Stadium.
Macclesfield Town line-up:
1 - Shwan Jalal
2 - Jared Hodgkiss
3 - David Fitzpatrick
4- Keith Lowe
7 – Elliott Durrell
13 - Nathan Blissett
15 – Kieran Kennedy
16 – Mitch Hancox
17 – Callum Evans
18 – Danny Whitehead
23 – Danny Whitaker
Substitutes Not Used:
Ramsbottom, Pilkington, Wilson, Marsh, Burgess.
By Steven Dale.