Macclesfield kicked off their National League 2017/18 season with a 1-0 victory over Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground on Saturday afternoon.
The Silkmen worked hard to secure the points after taking a relatively early lead with a stunning Noe Baba strike, riding their luck at times but putting in a solid defensive performance for the entire game.
Wrexham’s had the first chance of the game after George Pilkington was penalised for bringing down Paul Rutherford on the right-hand side. The subsequent free kick was headed away by Pilkington however, who was keen to make amends for his mistake.
Former Macclesfield man Chris Holroyd was then put through on goal a couple of minutes later with a long ball over the top, however his opportunity was sniffed out by Keith Lowe who came across with a fine tackle.
The first goal of the game soon followed. With Wrexham arguably the stronger side of the opening minutes, Noe Baba found himself free in the middle of the park with an eye for goal. His strike from 25 yards was driven hard, and beat the outstretched Chris Dunn at his near post through sheer power.
With the hosts rocked Macc continued to probe. Elliott Durrell did well to test the backline on the 24th minute, with an inventive run down the right-hand side resulting in a whipped ball across the box that narrowly missed the head of Ryan Lloyd, before falling awkwardly for the lurking Tyrone Marsh and bouncing out of play.
Holroyd’s reunion with his former side was cut short after suffering what looked to be a tweak to the calf on the 34th minute. He was replaced by Ntumba Massanka.
The home side pushed hard for an equaliser as the first-half came to a close, with Keith Lowe being forced into taking commanding action on multiple occasions. He stood strong alongside Pilkington though, and the two sides brought play to a close with Macclesfield leading by a goal to nil.
Wrexham got the second-half underway but the pace of the game was short to that at the end of the first. Sam Wedgbury went into the referee’s notebook for a passing collision with Burgess in the midfield near the 50 minute mark, but frustrations began to grow for the home crowd as the Silkmen controlled much of the game.
The fire burning in the Dragons was strong though, and the interchange from the forwards only got better. The home side earned a corner on the 65th minute which was narrowly cleared, and it was evident Macc needed to take the game by the scruff once again.
With the visitors desperate to add a bit of security to their lead, Elliot Durrell delivered a peach of a cross first time across the Wrexham box having received the ball on the right-hand touchline. Marsh met the cross with equal quality as he put the ball in the back of the net with a top quality volley, but he was ruled offside and Macclesfield’s lead remained a slender one.
The ruled out goal was enough to lift the tails of the travellers though, and an extended period of passing play in the 73rd minute saw Macc create a number of chances. First Durrell delivered from the right to see his cross cleared, before Baba struck from distance to claims of handball, and finally Burgess put the ball over the bar with a curled effort from just outside of the box.
Lowe continued his superb performance at the back as the tension built towards the end of the game, with a number of fine headers seeing the Silkmen to safety.
The referee’s decision to show four minutes of added time drew some questions, but none that wouldn’t be matched by the Macclesfield defence as they saw out a successful start to the new campaign.
Wrexham: Dunn, Jennings, Smith, Pearson, Wedgbury, Holroyd (Massanka 34’), Carrington (Wright 87’), Rutherford (Mackreth 75’), Kelly, Roberts, Boden.
Subs: Dibble, Hurst, Mackreth, Massanka, Wright.
Macclesfield: Jalal; Yates, Lowe, Pilkington, Fitzpatrick; Burgess, Baba, Whitaker; Durrell (Richards 81’), Marsh (Wilson 87’), Lloyd.
Subs: Wilson, Richards, Kennedy, Hancox, Arthur.