The Silkmen suffered injury-time heartbreak yesterday, as Bootle came from behind to bring to an end Macc’s unbeaten home record in the NPL West Division.
Danny Whitaker’s side came into the game having scored fifteen times in their last three games in both league and cup, and were keen to build on Tuesday’s victory over Kidsgrove Athletic.
Macclesfield started the game brightly and nearly took the lead inside the first 10 minutes, as Alex Curran made his way through the Bootle backline before flashing a shot just past the post.
The hosts nearly took the lead again moments later as James Berry played the ball through to Nicky Maynard before the striker’s chip was cleared off the line by a covering defender.
The Silkmen did eventually take the lead in a peculiar fashion, as Berry’s corner was headed onto the underside of the bar by Joe Bunney before being adjudged to have crossed the line by the assistant on the near side.
That goal made it three in three for the centre-half – all three of which coming from a James Berry assist.
Macc were firmly in the ascendency at that point and were denied a second by the brilliant reflexes of former Silkman Sam Ashton who saved Maynard’s effort from point blank range.
The home side should have doubled their advantage just before the interval through the Berry and Bunney combination once again – as the centre-half volleyed inches over the bar from a free-kick.
The visitors started the second half strongly and very nearly equalised as the Silkmen lost the ball in the middle of the park and Andy Scarisbrick bared down on goal only for his shot to be dragged just wide.
The Silkmen were enemies of their own downfall when Bootle equalised midway through the second half ,as Macc gave the ball away just outside the area allowing Ben Hodkinson to fire past Marcelo Pitaluga from close range.
Former Silkman Ashton was then called into action once again as Macc tried to find a winner – tipping substitute Mark Duffy’s effort round the post which was destined for the top corner.
Ashton kept the visitors in the game once again as Tre Pemberton stung the ‘keepers palms before firing the rebound over the bar.
The Silkmen’s continued pressure in the second half counted for nothing though, as deep into added time, the visitors won the ball back from a corner and countered through Scarisbrick – who got in behind Brandon Lee, before squaring to Hodkinson to steal all three points for the Merseyside outfit.
A disappointing result which brought to an end the Silkmen’s unbeaten home record as attention now turns to next Saturday’s Isuzu FA Trophy game at home to Bamber Bridge.
By Ben Leah