Macclesfield 2-1 FC Halifax Town

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League leaders Macclesfield fought back from conceding early to beat FC Halifax Town 2-1 and halt The Shaymen’s mini revival.

Tom Denton headed Town in-front, his ninth of the season, before Danny Whitehead’s deflected goal just before half-time.

Tyrone Marsh then settled the match with a second-half header, but Town will feel hard done-by to leave empty-handed.

There was little to choose between the sides in the first of their Christmas and New Year trilogy, and it was far from the backs-to-the-wall job the league table may have suggested.

However it’s happened, Halifax are undoubtedly a different team to the one that was mired in mediocrity during that winless run, and now have much more spark and substance about them.

Town pretty much picked up where they left off against Chester, defending strongly and attacking with fearlessness.

Danny Clarke’s clever footwork won a free-kick near the corner flag, from which Denton nodded in Jake Hibbs’ floated delivery from three yards.

Halifax were well-balanced and confident, with Michael Collins a give-it-and-go presence in front of a tigerish back four, and the other midfielders offering energy and hard-work in support of Denton.

After waiting so long for the first goal in a game, Town have now got it in each of their last three, and as at Aldershot, it gave them something to hang on to, something to put their bodies on the line for, which they did, with Matty Brown and Scott Garner resolute in defence.

Denton could have doubled Town’s lead just before the half-hour mark after being set-up by Clarke, but scuffed his shot near the penalty spot.

It took a laboured Macclesfield until the 37th minute to carve out their first big chance when Scott Burgess’ excellent through ball sent Marsh in on goal, but he blazed his shot over.

And that looked to be that from the hosts until seconds before half-time when Whitehead’s innocuous-looking shot from 25 yards was deflected past the wrong-footed Johnson to hand Macclesfield a parity their play barely deserved as Town conceded a goal for their first time in four hours.

Denton nearly scored again seconds after the restart but his tame effort was cleared off the line after good work by Josh Macdonald.

Johnson then tipped Burgess’ rasping drive over the bar.

Halifax were playing more high balls forward in hope than expectation as the second-half went on, while the hosts possessed more urgency, but struggled to carve out any clear chances.

Neither team looked particularly likely to score, but Marsh produced a lovely glancing header to direct a right-wing cross into the far corner and undo all Town’s hard work.

Macclesfield: Jalal, Hodgkiss, Lowe, Burgess (Durrell 64), Fitzpatrick, Marsh, Kennedy, Whitaker, Lloyd, Whitehead, Wilson (Hancox 84). Subs not used: Ramsbottom, Pilkington, Arthur.

Scorers: Whitehead (45), Marsh (78)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 4

Corners: 9

Halifax: Johnson, Moyo, Garner, Brown, Wilde, Macdonald, Hibbs, Collins, Clarke (Waring 88), McManus (Tomlinson 69), Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Duckworth, Oliver.

Scorer: Denton (11)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 1

Corners: 2

Attendance: 2,313

Referee: Peter Gibbons

Town man of the match: Michael Collins