14 Aug 2022 | Match Report

The Silkmen started life in the Northern Premier League West Division with a comfortable win at home to Clitheroe.

Danny Whitaker’s side was unchanged from the starting eleven that dismantled Wythenshawe Town 2-0 in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup last weekend.

The Silkmen dominated possession from the off and were the stronger side in the first half, with chances for James Berry to open the scoring, via a combination of individual brilliance, set pieces and inviting crosses from Jacob Hanson.

Berry was determined to get Macc off the mark and just did that in the 19th minute, when he exchanged a neat one-two with Neil Kengni, before jinking his way through the visiting defence and slotting past Thompson in the Clitheroe goal.

The Silkmen then unfortunately lost Neil Danns to injury as a coming together inside the Clitheroe area led to him limping off with the support of his team-mates and physios. Nicky Maynard replaced Danns to make his Macc debut.

Not letting up after his first, Berry was quick to double the lead and his personal tally on the opening day as Mark Duffy’s quick thinking in the form of a rapid free kick enabled Berry to open up his body and fire past Thompson.

Hungry for more, the third swiftly followed just two minutes later, courtesy of Nicky Maynard, who swept home Neil Kengni’s low cross on the line, just minutes in to his first league appearance from the bench.

Macc’s hand was forced once more as Jacob Hanson was deemed unable to continue on the brink of half time and was replaced by Tre Pemberton.

Three goals to the good at the break and the Silkmen were showing no signs of letting up. The intensity continued in to the second half with Neil Kengni, Mark Duffy and James Berry all finding themselves in good positions to increase the lead, but weren’t quite able to on each of the occasions.

The game plan became all about game management after the hour mark in the sweltering 30-degree heat, as Danny Whitaker was keen not to lose any other players to injury. As a precaution, James Berry was taken off and replaced by new signing Joe Bunney, making his Macclesfield debut from the bench.

An unprecedented moment then brought the game to a temporary halt as referee Arran Williams was struck by the ball from close range and was unable to continue. A qualified member of the crowd was sought and fortunately found. He would run the line for the remaining regulation and extra time, whilst an initial linesman took over as referee.

When the game resumed with seven minutes of regulation time remaining, Macc were keen to see the game out and were calmly retaining possession as the clock ran down.

Nicky Maynard went close deep in to the fourteen minutes of stoppage time but was unable to grab his second.

A long, but successful afternoon in the intense heat was eventually brought to a close after fourteen minutes of added time. A comprehensive win under the belts on the opening day left the Silkmen second in the table at the end of Saturday evening – with local rivals and next opponents Leek Town setting the early pace following their 4-0 win at home to Bootle.

Macclesfield FC: Pitaluga, Hanson (Pemberton ‘45), Lee, Fensome, Cowan, Mendy, Kengni, Danns (Maynard ‘29), Curran, Duffy, Berry (Bunney ‘65).

Subs not used: Clare, Grimshaw.

By Will Jones

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