By Lymeview
Thursday 12 Jan 2017 18:40:00
Browse all MATCH REPORTS articles

The Silkmen travelled to Prenton Park; home of Tranmere Rovers Football Club, badly needing a win to close a worrying 8 point gap behind the play-off places. With this in mind ‘Sir John' went for an ambitious 4-4-2 formation but there was no place for former Rovers wide man Jack Mackreth. There was a place in the starting line-up however for on loan striker Richard Brodie, at Macc on the latest leg of his UK tour with Macclesfield being the 29 year olds 14th club. Brodie had locked horns with Tranmere earlier in the season with his parent club York City and on that occasion he had been involved in an incident with Tranmere player Jeff Hughes, resulting in Hughes getting a 6 game ban.

The home side were quickly into their stride, playing some stylish, fluent football, however they were well marshalled by the superb George Pilkington and the Macc defence withstood Tranmere's early barrage. Craig Ross saved smartly from Mangan twice in the opening 20 minutes while Rovers didn't help their cause with some wayward shooting, notably from Ben Tollitt who nearly picked me out twice in Row M behind the goal!

While Tranmere's attacks foundered repeatedly on the rocks of George Pilkington and his fellow defenders, the Silkmen were able to launch the odd counter attack. The best of these saw David Fitzpatrick test Scott Davies in the Tranmere goal with a skidding drive after an enterprising run from midfield.

With Tranmere firmly in the ascendance, ‘Sir John' went for a change of formation with an extra man in midfield. This simple move immediately stifled the home side who had previously been finding too much space between the Silkmen's lines.

The contest then became much more even, with if anything Macc getting the better of the exchanges, albeit without often proving a serious goal threat.

In the end the result hinged on two incidents late in the game. Firstly, Danny Rowe, who has been such an influential player for us all season missed an absolute sitter. He robbed Lee Vaughan in the penalty area, easily jinked past McNulty and with the goal at his mercy 6 yards out, he did not trust his right foot and by the time he had changed feet, the angle was too tight and he stabbed the ball wide.

Then with 6 minutes left, Ridehalgh whipped a curling ball into the box and it looked a routine save for Craig Ross. In the pre-match warm up, ‘Rossy' had dealt with a dozen such crosses and looked like he could catch a pound of wet cod if it were fired at him from a cannon. This time though, under challenge from Hughes, he somehow dropped the ball behind him and Pilks just failed to hook it off the line. It was a scruffy old goal and once again we were punished for what was really our only defensive blemish.

All in all another frustrating day where we have played well in most departments but have come away with nothing.

Boxing Day ratings;

Craig Ross 6.0: Made some good saves in the first half but looked at fault for the goal.

Andy Halls 7.0: Andy had a steady game in a solid back 4.

John McCombe 7.0: ‘Boom boom' continues to form an effective partnership with ‘Pilks'.

George Pilkington 9.0: George put on a display that stood out even above the general excellence of our defence.

David Fitzpatrick 8.0: ‘Fitz' stands comparison with our best left backs of years gone by when he is on this sort of form. Looked assured both going forward and in his defensive work.

Mitch Hancox 7.5: Got in a crucial block in the opening minutes and generally did an effective job in front of the defence.

Kingsley James 6.0: A hard working performance from Kingsley who is still not quite reproducing his early season sparkle.

Chris Holroyd 5.0: Struggled to get involved in the game, playing in a slightly unfamiliar role.

Richard Brodie 7.0: Our on loan striker impressed me. He held the ball well and showed some skilful touches. He is clearly not just an old school big centre forward. Let's hope we can hang on to him!

Danny Whitaker 7.0: Good on the ball as ever and some thoughtful distribution. His free kicks and corners were disappointing though.

Danny Rowe 5.0: So often the star turn this season; he just had one of those days when nothing seemed to go right.

Paul Lewis and Richie Wellens were late substitutions.

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Current overall rating after 4 votes: 9.00
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