MACCLESFIELD Town continued their excellent end to the season by defeating Guiseley 1-0 at the Moss Rose on Saturday afternoon.
The Silkmen bossed large spells of the match but had to wait until the 76th minute to take the lead when Paul Lewis glanced home Danny Rowe’s corner in front of the Star Lane End.
Guiseley were wholly inactive in front of goal until Lewis’ strike, although they did pressurise the Macc goal in second half stoppage time but Ritchie Branagan thwarted their best efforts.
The result leaves the Tigers sweating on National League safety with a three point gap separating themselves and Yorkshire rivals FC Halifax Town, whilst John Askey’s side are now undefeated in nine games and comfortably in the division’s top 10.
In truth this match was a slow burner, Guiseley were clearly set up to defend with a 4-5-1 formation whilst Macc, who favour a passing style of play, were finding the suspect looking Moss Rose surface difficult to contend with.
The first major chance came on 22 minutes and the Silkmen should really have taken the lead when Rowe slipped in Jack Sampson, back in his familiar position of striker after playing 85 minutes between the sticks in Tuesday’s draw with Dover, who lacked the composure to fire beyond Steven Drench.
Macclesfield were continuing to boss possession but didn’t posses the guile to break down Guiseley in the first half. Danny Whitaker fired over when a loose ball broke to him inside the penalty area and Sampson saw his looping header tipped over after Reece Styche did well to stand a cross up to the back post.
Guiseley put together a decent move of their own on 35 minutes but Adam Boyes, scorer of two goals in Tuesday’s win over Wrexham, saw his 20-yard effort held by Branagan.
Seven minutes before the break a swift Macc counter-attack that stemmed from a Lions corner resulted in Chris Holroyd sending over the top for Rowe whose volley landed just wide of Drench’s goal and the game went into the interval scoreless.
Macc’s early second half endeavours were also repelled by Mark Bower’s men, a neat right to left move from the Silkmen saw Styche arc wide before Askey rung the changes, introducing Lewis and top scorer Kristian Dennis for Sampson and Styche, whose lack of end product was not for want of trying.
The introduction of the former-Stockport striker Dennis nearly reaped instant rewards when he flicked Holroyd’s low cross wide before Macc eventually took the lead.
Danny Rowe did excellently to chase down what appeared a lost cause to earn his side a corner, which he took himself, and landed his cross perfectly for the run of Lewis who powered beyond Drench.
In the aftermath of conceding Mark Bower trebled his amount of on-field strikers with Danny Boshell and Tom Craddock entering the fray but it was Macc who continued to threaten most. Rowe, a constant thorn in the side of Guiseley carried from mid-way inside his own half to the edge of the visitor’s box but his shot was blocked wide when potentially a pass to Dennis was a better option.
Guiseley finally threatened Branagan’s goal two minutes into the additional three indicated at the end of the game but the goalkeeper, whose red card against Dover was rescinded in the week, gathered after a penalty box melee with Boshell looking set to pounce.
For Macc their end of the season record is nothing short of impressive and can be partially put down to the introduction of John McCombe to the back line. It is no coincidence that the former Port Vale and York centre-back’s nine starts for the Silkmen have yielded no defeats, the sponsors man of the match adds composure and sensibility to the Macc back line and he kept Adam Boyes in his proverbial back pocket throughout.
For Guiseley they travel to fellow strugglers Boreham Wood next Saturday in a proverbial relegation six-pointer and they may well find it difficult after the Wood’s mammoth win at Aldershot yesterday.
Macclesfield: Jalal, Halls, Pilkington (Byrne ’54), McCombe, Fitzpatrick, Holroyd, Whitaker, Turnbull (C), Rowe, Sampson (Lewis ’58), Styche (Dennis ’69).
Unused subs: Diagne, Sutherland
Goals: Lewis (75)
Guiseley: Drench, Toulson, Parker (C), Lowe, Lawlor (Craddock ’80), Hatfield, Dudley (Boshell ’84), Norburn (Rothery ’77), Johnson, Boyes, R.Atkinson.
Unused subs: Lockwood, D.Atkinson.
Attendance: 1,408 (129 visitors)
Referee: Mr Stephen Ross
By Jordan Davies at the Moss Rose