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Archived News from December 2003

28th December 2003 23:57

two reports from thesilkweb.com

The Blues make the Yellows see red!
By Scooter

The Silkmen showed a battling 'never-say-die' attitude on a cold stormy Cheshire afternoon, to snatch a well deserved point from the hands of Mansfield. The positivity of the players was noticeable, even after going behind to a high-flying Mansfield team.

In a game that was often scrappy and fractious, and always physical, the Silkmen held their own against a side that showed the best spread of ability across the field of any Division 3 team witnessed by this writer this season.

Macc's 4-4-2 formation started the match with determination and fight from the off, rattling the Mansfield crossbar within the first few minutes. But this turned and for the rest of the first half, Mansfield were regular threateners to the Macclesfield goal, with Mendes particularly using his strength and pace to harass the back four.

Regular forays forward by the Mansfield attack caused chaos in the Macclesfield area, with last ditch tackles from Macc players, and great floor level stops from Wilson managing to keep the clean sheet through to half-time. But there were also opportunities for Macc, most of which were nipped in the bud by an assistant referee and his rather late offside flagging.

On the half hour, Priest was felled in the centre circle, and Welch, seeing the goalie off his line, took a quick opportunistic shot on goal which shaved the top of the crossbar. Tipton was being his usual boisterous self, and on 32 minutes he was put clear through, only for another offside decision to drag the play back once more. It's worth noting though that Tipton still buried the ball in the net with a superb finish, albeit disallowed.

Half-time came with Mansfield maybe having had the edge of the half, but Macc having the potential to do damage on the break, if they could beat the offside trap!

By the time the second half started, the sky was black with cloud, snow and sleet was falling, and the wind had got up somewhat. This didn't faze any of the players though, who progressed to provide us with a thrilling 45 minutes of end-to-end football.

Within 10 minutes Mansfield had created some good scoring opportunities, shooting just over after a slip by Welch, and peppering wide of both uprights. Macc were still creating opportunities using the through ball, but just couldn't seem to deliver the final cross or final pass to create the shooting chance. The midfield was increasingly becoming a stamping ground, with neither team commanding, even with Macc playing Whittaker in the centre of the park. This was underlined by a rather late tackle from Chris Priest which earned his name in the book.

On 65 minutes, a good piece of linking play between the two Dannys let 'the one named Adams' put a great cross in from the dead ball line into the 6 yard box. Somehow, Colin Little failed to connect with only the keeper to beat - and it was only 6 minutes later when Mansfield took the lead. A poor clearance from Wilson, when unchallenged, left the defence in disarray when a goal-line cross came in, and Christie turned it in.

Macclesfield continued to battle though, and only a few minutes later John Askey made his only substitution of the game, replacing the impressive Brackenridge with John Miles, to shift to a 4-3-3.

Miles' arrival had immediate impact. There was a marked lifting of tempo for the Macclesfield attack, as the obvious understanding of the striking partnership of Miles and Tipton shone immediately. Carruthers took a shot from inside the box which was saved, Miles was put through and was thwarted only by the Mansfield goalie outside the area, and Macc were finishing the last 15 minutes in command while Mansfield tried to play time down for the win.

The Macc renewed vigour finally paid off in the last minute of the game. Some great play, again on the left from Adams allowed him to play a cross into the six yard box. First Miles, then Little, and then a Mansfield defender tried to score. The rebound from the own goal attempt fell at waist height to Tipton at the edge of the area. He showed true striker quality to get over the ball and bury it inside the post, sending the Macclesfield fans wild. The ball was eventually replaced on the centre spot, and the kick off was met with the referees whistle, and choruses of 'you're not singing anymore!'

Macc were determined and it showed. This was one of the most entertaining matches I have seen at the Moss Rose. The Silkmen have faith, and are now able to draw and win games they would have capitulated in before the new manager took over. John Askey is the man!

Macclesfield Town 1 Mansfield Town 1

By Dave Morris
Date: 28/12/2003

A late, late, late goal by Matt Tipton saved a point for the Silkmen, cancelling out a holiday season present, given to the visiting Stags by the Macc Town defence. Tipton's ninth League goal makes him joint 10th leading scorer in the 3rd Division.

Macclesfield Town's 300th Football League game against the visiting Mansfield Town saw the new London Road lights fully operational on a cold and blustery day that started with sunshine and ended after sleet and snow.

Macc made changes to the line up, Wilson in goal, a back four of Carragher, Welch, Munroe and Adams, a midfield four of Brackenridge, Priest, Whittaker and Little and up front the return of Captain Carruthers alongside Tipton.

Mansfield brought a large following with them. It was the biggest attendance at the Moss Rose for a League game since season 1998-99 in the second division. Mansfield also lined up in 4-4-2 with the free roaming pair of Mendes and Christie up front supported by free scoring Lawrence on the right.

Macc started brightly with early pressure on the Mansfield goal resulting in a goal mouth scramble that was cleared. Mansfield responded with a break down the right, Mendes firing into the side netting. The game settled down, both sides happy to play a possession passing game. Mansfield employing a harsh offside trap, that appeared to benefit from a hair trigger linesman. The only times that Macc were able to beat the flag, Pilkington in the Stags goal was able to get to the ball first. Meanwhile the Macc defence were employing more conventional defensive means to deal with the Mansfield attack and generally looked comfortable, Munroe in particular putting in some solid blocking tackles on Mendes. Only once was the defence beaten, but Wilson saved well.

The second half started as the first had ended, but with the change in the weather, the game became more scrappy. With a greasy surface it looked like one mistake would decide things and around the 75 minute mark, that mistake came. Mansfield broke again down the right, but the Macc defence looked to have dealt with the situation, but then gifted the ball back. Again the situation looked dealt with and the ball looked to be heading away for a goal kick. But as the defence relaxed, Mendes rescued the ball and his cross field pass with knocked in by Christie with the Macc defence motionless.

John Askey responded by sending on John Miles for Brackeridge, who had had a good game, getting involved in most things down that right hand side. With Miles making some runs at the Mansfield defence, Macc applied the pressure for the equaliser. Mansfield looking to break quickly or waste time in the corners.

With one minute of the extra two minutes already played out, Macc made one last break down the left with Miles taking on the Mansfield defence and cutting inside. His cross into the goal zone and reulting chance was blocked away by the keeper and a defender and the game looked to be all over until the ball was retrieved and fed to Tipton, whose control and blasted shot past Pilkington sent the Macc fans wild. There was only time for the kick off before Mr Pike blew for full time.

Napoleon said don't give me good Generals, give me lucky ones. I remember two seasons ago, Mansfield won at the Moss, the only goal scored by a header in extra time. Maybe Lady Luck came around today.

All times approximate. Match Referee: Mr M Pike


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