Congleton 3 – 1 Macclesfield XI (Friendly) 23-9-14

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Game number 24 of the 2014/15 season

A hastily arranged friendly game this time up, as Macclesfield boss John Askey looked to take advantage of a free midweek to have a look at a thrown together mixture of trialists, loanees and fringe players. It was also the first evening where a waterproof and hot drink were a must, with squally wind and rain persisting for virtually the entire 90 minutes.

All the signs were that this might well be a bit of a disappointment, and so it proved as both sides struggled to get any sort of passing football going. The much changed nature of both teams starting line-ups certainly didn’t help, as players from both sides were clearly unsure of where their team mates were moving to next.

Macc started the brighter side and went ahead after around half an hour, as a trialist centre forward (rumoured to be from Wigan) thumped home after being teed up by Dunfield. However the goal belied a strange performance, punctuated by poor first touches and an ability to find himself marked and thus unavailable for a pass for most of the first half. With his 45 minutes ‘work’ done, Lavelle-Moore assumed the role of striker in the second half. Worryingly, his performance was sloppy and disinterested, not something you want to see from a player that now has a contract with the club.

Macc deteriorated badly after the break and Congleton turned the match on its head with three unanswered strikes. The first saw the Silkmen defence part invitingly for the Bear’s centre forward to stroll through and slot past Branigan. The keeper then made a hash of a routine backpass to allow Congleton a free shot from 12 yards, and the third was a twice taken penalty after a ridiculous handball from Cowan.

One positive for Macc was the sight of former player Terry Dunfield in a dark blue shirt, albeit it on trial. The passage of time and a history of knee injuries has restricted his pace and does make for a very distinctive running style. Experience and ability was on show though, as he managed to negotiate a packed midfield and greasy surface to knit together the away side’s play in the first half. A lack of sharpness was to tell and his evening was over after an hour.

Overall a bit of a drab game and one tat will pose more questions than it answers for Askey. What is clear is that many of the players he has accumulated in a bloated MTFC squad appear to be well short of fitness and lacking confidence.

Good work from Congleton as well, who are soon opening a small covered terrace behind the goal, a move which will see cover on all four sides of the Booth Street ground by the end of the season.

Entertainment = 4/10

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