ALTRINCHAM and Macclesfield Town could not be seperated as they played out a 0-0 draw in their National League clash at Moss Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides went into the game on sketchy form and their frailties were evident in an uneventful ninety minutes.
Macclesfield captain Paul Turnbull came closest when his first-half free-kick struck the bar, whilst substitute Damien Reeves wasted a one-on-one opportunity at the other end.
But that was as good as it came for either side in a match where defence prevailed.
After heavy spells of snow in the Manchester area throughout Friday, there was much doubt over whether this clash would even go ahead.
And many of the 2,014 in attendance might’ve wished they stayed at home as the wintry conditions began again soon after kick-off.
In fairness to the travelling section of that number, they made their voices known from start to finish despite the torrential rain and a lack of entertainment on show.
Macclesfield right-back, Andy Halls, was shown a torrid time by teenager Josh Ginnelly, although the Burnley loanee’s pace and power was let down by a lack of end product.
After 12 minutes, the 18-year-old cut inside to beat his man, but the resulting long-range shot that ensued was deflected wide.
Then on the other wing, Ryan Crowther dipped and weaved through the visiting defence, but his goalbound effort was blocked by a sea of bodies to the relief of Shawan Jalal.
It was not all one way traffic though, and Macc had their chance after top goascorer Kristian Dennis forced Marcus Holness into handling just outside the box.
Turnbull stepped up to deliver an effort on goal, but his effort was inches too high as the ball cannoned back off the crossbar.
With just minutes left in the half, Dennis had an effort himself after Jack Sampson nodded down a long ball, but Tim Deasy was equal to the Stockport loanees turn and shot.
A rare beam of sunshine met the players’ arrival for the second period, but the change of forceast was not a colorful metaphor of what was to come.
Lee Sinnott freshened things up by bringing on Reeves for Crowther, and the attacker should’ve broke the deadlock within seconds of his entry.
Everyone expected the offside flag to be raised when he was sent through on goal, and the 30-year-old’s hesitance amidst the uncertainty proved vital as Jalal took advantage to smother the ball.
Chris Holroyd was then introduced by the visitors in attempt to get a winner, but he was wasted out wide whilst much of Dennis’ efforts were put into chasing down loose balls.
Whether that was how John Askey planned to utilise his star man, it remains to be seen, but his talents were limited in difficult conditions.
James Lawrie tested Jalal from distance on a few ocassions, but his forced efforts were symbolic in a match where both teams lacked quality where it mattered.
Even a win would’ve probably left Macc’s play-off chances dead and buried, given how results went, but Askey’s men will now accept life in the fifth tier for another year.
As for Alty, their efforts aren’t enough to prevent them dropping into the relegation zone, and they have much work to do to preserve their league status.
Altrincham: Deasy, Sinnott, Griffin, Havern, Holness, Moult, Richman, Ginnelly, Crowther (Reeves 60), Lawrie, Rankine.
Unused subs: Heathcote, Bowerman, O’Keefe, Leather.
Macclesfield: Jalal, Halls, McCombe, Pilkington, Turnbull, Lewis (Phillips 70), Fitzpatrick, Sampson, Dennis, Whitehead, Sutherland (Holroyd 75).
Unused subs: Branagan, Styche, Cowan
Referee: Mr Wayne Barratt
By Ashley Thornton-Jones at Moss Lane