Crisis postponed as West makes a point

Slough Town

Slough Town

West (39 pen, 80)
Macclesfield Town

Macclesfield Town

Cavell (27), Howarth (87)
League Attendance: 1007 Chris Honor
Dire one week, dynamic the next, Slough's yo-yo form of late took a slightly more promising turn as they came within three minutes of what would have been an astonishing victory on Saturday. Macclesfield came as champions, yet had the Rebels not taken so long to wake up to themselves they could have been looking at a confidence-boosting three points.

Instead, the critics were given further ammunition as supporters sat through the sixth successive Saturday without a win - a record which is far from being a fair reflection of the way some of the league's top sides had been made to sweat by the minnows until the disturbing collapse against Hednesford a couple of weeks ago.

Still reservations must he held. For the first half, the Rebels churned out the usual litany of errors and disasters, allowing their visitors yet again to treat Wexham Park like a home from home. After the break, however, the change could not have been greater.
Macclesfield showed exactly why they won the Conference so comprehensively despite being only slightly ahead in terms of possession. In every part of the field they looked solid and unfalteringly confident; they played as a team; they had direction, purpose; they counter-attacked so quickly and in such numbers they often had more players up from than there were defenders to stop them.

They took their reward for all this when they took the lead on 27 minutes. Marginson hit a free-kick from 20 yards out on the right and curled it perfectly into the gap between Preddie and his defence in the six-yard box. With the 'keeper - still too injured to take any goal kicks - choosing to stay put and the two centre hacks too slow to react, scorer Cavell was merely the first of three strikers to get a touch.

There had been other earlier scares. Cavell and Coates had failed to connect with Lyons' low ball across goal which was begging for a goalscoring finish and Preddie was frequently furious with the lack of cover he received despite the visitors being very obviously aware of his predicament and bombarding the goal at every available opportunity.

In response, the Rebels' 4-4-2 formation was a vast improvement on last week's efforts but desperately needed the width it was to get only after the break - Rake and Blackman were spectators for large chunks of the first half and the suspended Fiore's crosses were never adequately replaced despite Rake's best efforts.

On 37 minutes, the consistently rewarding Paris combined with Rake to give Bushay their first chance and he was way off target, but two minutes later Slough were level thanks to a terrible piece of refereeing. Pye flicked the ball through on the half-way line and Blackman went rampaging towards goal, unfortunately taking one touch too many in the process and playing the ball too far ahead of him. Out came on-loan goalie Morgan, got his hands to the hall and pushed it out of the striker's path. Down went Blackman, more in hope than expectation, and even the fans behind the goal stayed mostly silent. The ref, quite a distance behind the play, seemed in no doubt, however, and West never misses a penalty.

Neil Catlin could have had a hat-trick when the game restarted, seeing two long range shots fail to heat Morgan before a good run from Bushay on 66 minutes eventually fell to him a few yards out. The 'keeper blocked his low shot with his feet when he shouldn't have seen it.

Preddie was still alert enough to make a flying save from Lyons and guard his goal when Payne unleashed a powerful diving header, but Macclesfield had already provided all their best moments and did not have anywhere near as much to say when they were faced with some really confident attacking.

On 80 minutes, the final chapter of the game should have been closed thanks to a triangle of pressure on the right flank - Rake swept the ball out to Honor - who should he encouraged to get forward a lot more on this display - and he delivered a pinpoint low cross which gave West just a predatory sidefoot in the area to make it 2-1.

Unfortunately, holding a lead is far from being the forte of Baron & co and with three minutes to go Lyons' free-kick was headed on, Preddie got both hands to it but dropped it for Howarth to tap in from two yards.

Macclesfield Town Lineup

Morgan, German, Locke, Payne, Howarth, Sorvel, Lyons, McDonald, Cavell, Coates (Edey), Marginson (Monk)


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