Game 16 of the 2014/15 season
Another stern test for Macclesfield, still unbeaten but off the back of three consecutive draws, against big spending Eastleigh. The home side were still missing first team players Danny Whitaker and Chris Holroyd, but were able to fill the subs bench, a welcome sight for the Silkmen faithful.
Eastleigh started like a train, and put the home side under pressure from the start, without creating a clear chance however. Their pressure was rewarded when a soft penalty was awarded after a challenge from George Pilkington. Rhys Taylor continued his impressive form as he flung himself to left to keep out Midson’s effort from the spot.
The new look front pair of Waide Fairhurst and Domaine Rouse gradually began to impose themselves, making the most of some quality service from the wings, and support from central midfield areas. The two played a key role in the opener, with Fairhurst’s clever hold up play, allowing Scott Barrow to play in a measured cross, which Rouse dispatched from six yards out.
Eastleigh were hurried in possession as Turnbull and Lewis in midfield were able to get in peoples faces and regularly turned over the ball. Macclesfield themselves were able to maintain controlled possession, with both full-backs and wingers getting forward regularly, and to good effect. Waterfall and Pilkington were also resolute in defence; making numerous blocks and dominating aerially all game long.
Eastleigh began to lose their discipline, committing a series of rash fouls and allowing Macclesfield to create some dangerous situations from the ensuing set pieces. One such free-kick was fired across by Turnbull, straight onto the head of Paul Lewis, who stole in from the centre of the goal, inside the six yard box and guided home a second headed goal to give the home side a two goal cushion.
Just a side point, but after a fracas involving Andy Halls and Stuart Fleetwood, the referee was forced to consult both his linesmen and fourth official at length. To me this seemed like a sensible decision, a sign of trust in his fellow officials, but most fans took it as a sign that ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’. How about equipping the officials with mics, like those at the top level? It would certainly allow linesmen to help out referees more often instead of only giving ins and outs.
With a two goal lead, the Silkmen relaxed and allowed Eastleigh more possession in the last fifteen minutes. However, they were harassed at every turn, with Constable and Odubade unable to trouble Taylor from inside the area. Clever play from Gnahoua and Moke allowed Macc to keep their width and take advantage of the gaps left by Eastleigh as they poured forward.
Entertainment = 7/10 (missed quite a bit of the first half sorting out programmes so may well have been closer to an 8 otherwise).