Macclesfield 2-2 FC Halifax Town

Moss Rose, Macclesfield
Moss Rose, Macclesfield
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Ten-man Macclesfield salvaged a 2-2 draw against FC Halifax Town with a late equaliser in an incident-packed match at Moss Rose.

Lee Gregory’s fourth goal in as many games had put the Shaymen ahead before their lead was doubled through Kevin Holsgrove.

Scott Boden halved the deficit before half-time but Connor Jennings’red card seemed to have blunted the hosts’ threat, only for substitute Jack Mackreth to snatch a dramatic equaliser and prevent Town’s third straight league win.

Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for the Silkmen so far this season, and didn’t here either as a home side shorn of confidence were so nearly brushed aside by an assured Town performance.

As expected, Neil Aspin named an unchanged line-up from the side that started against Dartford a week ago, and it was clear to see which team went into the game looking for their third win on the bounce.

The visitors set about their task with zeal as Matt Pearson produced a typically well-timed interception to block a goalbound shot within the first minute.

Town soon assumed superiority through when efforts by Gregory and Pearson both went narrowly wide as Town’s incisive attacks were in stark contrast to the ponderous build-up of their hosts.

So it was little surprise to see Town take the lead when Marc Roberts soared above the pack of players around him to nod down Hosgrove’s corner, and Gregory was perfectly placed to lash the ball home.

Macclesfield offered little in response, with their high balls up to Boden doing him little favours against the aerially-dominant Roberts and Simon Ainge, but the latter did have to be on his guard to head clear Danny Andrew’s cross with Boden ready to pounce.

Town were much sharper in all departments though, as evidenced by a delightful second goal as Gregory slipped the ball to Wilson, whose low cross was confidently placed past Taylor by Holsgrove.

Just as Town looked to be racing into the distance, another sloppy back pass, their achilles heel so far this season, this time from Ryan Toulson, put them in trouble.

Matt Glennon was caught in no man’s land after hesitating in coming for the ball, allowing Peter Winn to get a shot away, which the Town keeper parried into Boden’s path for a simple nod into the empty net.

A half that had been bubbling underneath the surface with one or two niggly tackles then ended in a fiery incident as Connor Jennings, who had only come off the bench five minutes earlier, gave referee Mr Joyce no option but to send him off after first catching Ainge with a dreadful late tackle and then appearing to headbutt Pearson.

Pearson didn’t cover himself in glory either after making a little too much of the coming together, earning himself a booking for his troubles.

The Town midfielder became the unwanted centre of attention among the home fans after attracting another couple of strong tackles as the second-half started in the same niggly vein as the first had ended.

Pearson’s every touch was by now greeted by a chorus of boos, but the home supporters were given little to cheer instead of jeer as Town stroked the ball about with confidence.

The game had long since degenerated into a scrappy affair as Macclesfield worked hard to deny the Shaymen a potentially match-winning chance without really creating any of their own.

Town had looked the likeliest to score again and so nearly managed it when Gregory’s acrobatic effort was headed off the line seconds before substitute Alex Johnson’s header hit the upright as Macclesfield clung on to the Shaymen’s coat-tails.

And they were pleased they did when substitute Jack Mackreth produced a superb finish across Glennon to convert Arthur Gnahoua’s cross from the left when very little in the whole of the second-half had suggested a Macclesfield equaliser was in the offing.

There was still time for Mackreth and substitute Dan Gardner to fire over from presentable opportunities as both sides pressed for the win late on.

Macclesfield: Taylor, Andrew, Bolton, Williams, Halls, Winn (Gnahoua 56), Whitaker, Kay, Kissock (Mackreth 71), Boden, Holroyd (Jennings 39). Subs not used: Sodje, Turnbull.

Scorers: Boden (40), Mackreth (82)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 4

Halifax: Glennon, Toulson, McManus, Roberts, Ainge, Smith, Maynard, Pearson (Johnson 75), Holsgrove (Marshall 60), Wilson (Gardner 69), Gregory. Subs not used: Senior, Lowe.

Scorers: Gregory (16), Holsgrove (21)

Shots on target: 10

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 5

Attendance: 1,720

Man of the match: Marc Roberts