1st game of the 2015/16 season
A belated first game of the new football season for me. A trip to Montenego promised both a holiday, and the slim chance of a champions league qualifier; however the luck of the draw was to ensure that my wait to see a game in a foreign country goes on.
This was the third game of the pre-season for the Silkmen, and the first at the Moss in a run of 5 consecutive home fixtures. Whilst games against higher calibre opposition have seen very few Macc wins in recent years, I think that they provide a test which is more suitable preparation for the rigors of a conference season.
The Silkmen started the game with a strong XI, and it is clear to see that the squad is benefiting from the core of last season’s players being retained. They looked like they had played a lot of football together, and there none of the usual pre-season jitters.
Jack Sampson looked a little way short of his best, but will have welcomed the opportunity to have a run out. He created and then missed the best chance of the first half, controlling a long ball well, before playing a neat one-two only to delay his shot too long and fail to present a real test to the visiting keeper.
Rochdale looked neat and tidy throughout, but failed to really open up the home defence. They did cause panic in the home ranks with a couple of well directed set-pieces, but both headers were scrambled clear by the home side.
The second half was still a good watch, but the game lost a little fluency as the substitutions totted up, and several trailists entered the fray. Despite making a few changes, the Silkmen had the best two openings of the half. First it was Dennis, who drifted off his left wing berth and controlled a long through ball well, only to see his lob clip the bar on its way behind. Danny Rowe also had a good effort, with almost the last action of the game, as he exchanged passes with Will Bailey, only to see his low drive met by an excellent stop from the away ‘keeper.
The game offered some important minutes to key players who had yet to feature during pre-season, and the side looked balanced, if a bit pedestrian. However, there must be a slight concern that it is now three games played and no goals. It i vital that John Askey is able to bring in a striker, preferably one with a bit of pace about him, to shake up the attack. It would also be nice to see a forward pairing given a chance to impress, however this goes back to the old debate about whether Danny Whitaker can be accommodated as part of a central midfield two given his advancing years.
It is also positive to see the squad looking pretty well populated, with 15 players (2 loanees) now on the books by mid July, a noted improvement on past seasons! There will need to be additions, either a back up or number one goalkeeper, depending on how Askey rates Branigann, a central midifelder, and either a striker or a winger (depending on what the plans for Holroyd are this season).
The next installment of pre-season will see Macc entertain Bury on Wednesday.
Entertainment = 5/10