MACCLESFIELD Town will make a 480-mile round trip to Torquay United on the opening day of the 2015/16 National League season.
The Silkmen made the same journey to Plainmoor on the final day of last season and drew 1-1 as they missed out on a play-off place following a run of one win in their last eight games.
The 2015/16 fixtures have been announced and it all starts with a home game against Macclesfield Town on August 8th…
— Torquay United FC (@TUFC1899) July 3, 2015
Ady Pennock’s Forest Green Rovers, who pipped Macclesfield to fifth spot but lost to Bristol Rovers in the play-offs, will be the first opponents for Altrincham on Saturday, August 8 at Moss Lane.
Following the fixture announcement, the first Cheshire East derby between Macclesfield and Altrincham takes place on Tuesday, November 10 at the Moss Rose with the return fixture on Saturday, March 5.
Last term, both sides won their respective home games with Macclesfield holding off a spirited Alty fightback to win 2-1 while Lee Sinnott’s team won 1-0 in both the league and FA Trophy at Moss Lane.
The Silkmen, who spent 15 years in the Football League before relegation in 2012, continue their start with home games against two teams who narrowly avoided the drop last season in Southport and Welling United.
After a Tuesday night trip to Lincoln City, they travel to Hampshire to face last year’s play-off semi-finalists Eastleigh – a game they lost 4-0 last term – before hosting Cheshire rivals Chester on Saturday, August 28. John Askey’s men are scheduled to visit the Swansway Chester Stadium on Monday, December 28.
Macc will host Tranmere Rovers on Boxing Day, before a reverse fixture on January 2nd. The Silkmen also travel to Chester on December 28th. — Macclesfield Town (@thesilkmen) July 3, 2015
The game is sandwiched in between a festive double-header against Tranmere Rovers, who were relegated to the fifth tier of English football for the first time in 95 years after finishing bottom of League Two in 2014-15.
Gary Brabin’s side travel from the Wirral to face Macc on Boxing Day before the Silkmen make a first trip to Prenton Park since 2004 on Saturday, January 2.
Macclesfield, whose boss Askey and captain Paul Turnbull have signed new deals over the summer, will take on fellow promotion contenders Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground at the end of November before the North Wales club return the compliment on February 27.
The sides drew 2-2 in both league encounters last term while Wrexham prevailed 5-2 in an FA Cup second-round replay following a 1-1 draw in the original tie.
A home tie against Grimsby Town, who lost 5-3 on penalties to Bristol Rovers in last season’s play-off final at Wembley, awaits the Silkmen on Easter Monday, March 28.
They face two promoted teams in Conference North champions Barrow and play-off winners Guiseley in the final month of the 46-game campaign before signing off at FC Halifax Town on April 30.
Alty, who started last term brightly but finished 17th in the table, face trips to Guiseley and Woking after their opener before welcoming Grimsby on Tuesday, August 18.
The Robins then travel to Kent to face Dover Athletic, who finished eighth in their first season in non-league’s top tier since 2002, before relegated Tranmere arrive at Moss Lane on Saturday, August 29.
They visit Gary Mills’ new-look Wrexham on September 12 and, after their November derby clash with Macclesfield, face promoted teams Bromley and Boreham Wood before the return fixture against Forest Green Rovers.
Bromley, from Greater London, earned promotion to the Conference Premier as Conference South champions while Hertfordshire outfit Boreham Wood were runners-up and won the play-offs with both sides playing in the Conference Premier for the first time.
Alty host Wrexham on December 5 before a festive double-header against Steve Burr’s Chester, who also finished in mid-table last season, with the home tie on December 26 and the reverse the day after New Year’s Day.
The Robins, who ended last term with four successive defeats, also travel to Tranmere on December 28.
They host Southport on Easter Monday, March 28, prior to a testing final month which includes away games at Kidderminster Harriers and Eastleigh before finishing with a 430-round mile trip to Essex to take on Braintree.
From the start of next season, the Vanarama Conference Premier will be known as the Vanarama National League – one of a number of high-profile changes sanctioned by incoming chairman Brian Barwick to strengthen the competition’s identity.
Selected Vanarama National League fixtures:
Saturday, August 8, 2015 (opening day):
ALTRINCHAM v Forest Green Rovers
Torquay United v MACCLESFIELD TOWN
Tuesday, August 11, 2015:
Guiseley v ALTRINCHAM
MACCLESFIELD TOWN v Southport
Saturday, August 15, 2015:
MACCLESFIELD TOWN v Welling United
Woking v ALTRINCHAM
Monday, August 31, 2015:
Grimsby Town v MACCLESFIELD TOWN
Southport v ALTRINCHAM
Tuesday, November 10, 2015:
MACCLESFIELD TOWN v ALTRINCHAM
Saturday, December 26, 2015:
ALTRINCHAM v Chester
MACCLESFIELD TOWN v Tranmere Rovers
Monday, December 28, 2015:
Chester v MACCLESFIELD TOWN
Tranmere Rovers v ALTRINCHAM
Saturday, January 2, 2016:
Chester v ALTRINCHAM
Tranmere Rovers v MACCLESFIELD TOWN
Saturday, March 5, 2016:
ALTRINCHAM v MACCLESFIELD TOWN
Easter Monday, March 28, 2016:
ALTRINCHAM v Southport
MACCLESFIELD TOWN v Grimsby Town
Saturday, April 23, 2016:
ALTRINCHAM v Welling United
MACCLESFIELD TOWN v Cheltenham Town
Saturday, April 30, 2016:
Braintree v ALTRINCHAM
FC Halifax Town v MACCLESFIELD TOWN