MACCLESFIELD Town rose to 13th place in the Vanarama National League Premier Division, stretching their unbeaten run to four games, with a 2-1 victory over winless Kidderminster Harriers at Moss Rose in Saturday’s early kick-off.
After a laboured start to the game it was the hosts, buoyed from their 3-0 midweek win away to Guiseley, who opened the scoring through Tony Diagne who stabbed home following a corner.
Macclesfield doubled their advantage seven minutes later with Danny Rowe netting his third goal of the season after a smart turn in the area allowed him to side foot home with relative ease.
A quiet second period was brought to life with 15 minutes remaining as Harriers debutant Jordan Murphy gave his new side a lifeline but his strike eventually proved no more than a mere consolation in Dave Hockaday’s first game in charge.
Macclesfield went into the game on the back of a three game unbeaten run but were winless in their last two at home and had something to prove to a larger than normal Moss Rose crowd.
With students and U18s free as part of ‘Non-League Day’ it was a better atmosphere in front of the BT Sport cameras than many anticipated.
It was the hosts who started sprightly with Paul Turnbull lashing an effort just wide of the near post after the referee played a smart advantage following an innocuous challenge on the edge of the box on Rowe.
Macclesfield continued to show why they, and not Kidderminster, are in good form as clever play down the right by Chris Holroyd allowed him to play in Jack Sampson but the striker could only muster a stabbed finish at goal which was well saved.
With the game becoming rather flat it was reignited when, in a bizarre turn of events, there was a lengthy stoppage in play to allow one of the linesmen to receive treatment on a hamstring injury before he was later replaced much to the amusement of fans.
Just after the half hour mark, though, the hosts had something to show for their overwhelming dominance as a deep corner was nodded back to the penalty spot where centre-back Diagne poked home at the second time of asking – his initial effort was chested away on the line – to make it 1-0.
In charge of Kidderminster Harriers for the first time since his appointment late on Friday evening, Hockaday’s side had no answers to stifle the Macclesfield fluidity and it was 2-0 seven minutes later through Rowe.
A corner once again, Rowe found the ball at his feet and was able to pull off a smart turn before slotting cooly into the corner in what was a crowded penalty area, much to the bemusement of the Harriers bench.
2-0 at the break was the least Macclesfield deserved after a strong attacking show for the fans to cheer about but there remained a sense of angst that one away goal could change the game.
Kidderminster were much improved from the start of the second half as they played with more purpose and belief but chances were at a premium.
With the sticky pitch slowing the game down immeasurably it was a second half dominated by a midfield battle as neither side looked set to test either keeper until the final 25 minutes.
With 76 minutes on the clock, Kidderminster gave their travelling fans something to cheer with new signing Jordan Murphy marking his debut with a goal to give Hockaday and his side a much needed lifeline.
A number of late substitutions from Macclesfield, however, allowed the game to peter out but it was noteworthy that this season’s top scorer, Kristian Dennis, was introduced with five minutes to play after a spell on the sidelines through injury.
Macclesfield rise to 13th after claiming all three points and host Gateshead on Tuesday night. Whilst Kidderminster remain rooted to the bottom of the National League table without a single win all season.
Macclesfield Town: Jalal; Halls, Pilkington, Diagne, Fitzpatrick; Whitehead, Whitaker; Rowe (Dennis ’85), Turnbull, Holroyd (Meikle ’87); Sampson
Substitutes not used: Branagan, Cowan, Adarbioyo
Booked: Halls, Whitaker
Kidderminster Harriers: Snedker; Hodgkiss, Maxwell (Hassan ’72), Langmead, Toner (Rowe-Turner ’62); Murphy, Clarke, Jones (Verma ’27), Tunnicliffe, Francis-Angol; Styche
Substitutes not used: Palmer, Wright
Referee: Steve Rushton (Staffordshire)
By: Nathan Salt at Moss Rose