In the first of a series of articles which recalls memorable matches in The Silkmen’s history, we take you back to 2005 when the mighty Nottingham Forest were drawn against The Silkmen in the League Cup.
We travelled down to Nottingham determined to enjoy the day out whatever the result may be. Despite the normal rush hour traffic, we arrived at The City Ground at around half past six, only to find that none of the turnstiles were open and as a result we were forced to seek refuge in a local public house.
Talking to some of the Forest fans, it seemed that a good proportion of them had given up hope even before the game had kicked off – they were sure that Forest would either score heavily or the League Two minnows would cause what would have been a major upset. At the time I thought that this was a result of a few too many shandy, but it was certainly a humbling moment that we were talking to Nottingham Forest fans in this way – as footballing equals.
Yet before the obligatory brew to sober us up had gone cool enough to drink Macc had gone a goal behind thanks to a well worked set piece finished off by Ian Breckin. Suddenly the conversation which was had with Forest fans before the game came back to haunt me and there only seemed to be one outcome on the cards.
Yet The Silkmen showed the fight and determination which some had argued had not been present in the games leading up to our visit to The City Ground. Buoyed by a large and vociferous away following, the battled for every ball, and deservedly equalised when Danny Whitaker struck a spectacular twenty yard drive in to the corner of the net. We now knew that we could cause an upset, we could actually do this.
Just before the interval Kevin Townsen sent the Silkmen faithful in to raptures as he fired the away side ahead. Strangers were hugging each other, pies were up in the air and suddenly the game was ours for the taking. As the half time whistle blew, everyone took to their mobiles to call all and sundry to say that The Silkmen were winning as if what they had just witnessed was some sort of a dream – no wonder Vodafone makes so much money!
Forest launched the expected onslaught in the second half but The Silkmen never really looked that uncomfortable. Dave Morley, Kevin Sandwich and youngster Andy Smart in particular rose to the challenge safe in the knowledge that if they kept Forest out then Macc would achieve the unthinkable.
When the former German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck proclaimed that the first rule of warfare is deception, I am fairly sure that he was not thinking of football matches – yet Macc took his theory on board and applied it to the letter. Despite constant pressure they didn’t sit on their laurels and defend their lead, they wanted a third goal and this duly arrived albeit from a heavily deflected Neil MacKenzie effort which left their ‘keeper stranded. Suddenly we were beating Nottingham Forest 3-1 on their own back yard!
Although Macc did concede almost straight away to Ian Breckin’s second goal of the game, it proved to be too little too late for Forest, whose fans relieved themselves of some frustration by throwing pies, pasties, cans – anything they could get their hand on down to the Silkmen following who were situated below. At this moment, we knew that the game was won and that history was been written before our very eyes.
I am not sure if the additional minutes board went up as nobody dared to take their eyes off the pitch. All I know is that when the final whistle did go and victory was confirmed, everyone knew that this was to be a night which nobody who was there would ever forget.
Ninety minutes of football had proved that history means nothing in the present, and that it is there to be made and not re-enacted.
As I arrived back in Macclesfield and after realising that I was starving, I headed to Tesco where people came up to me noticing that I had a Macc shirt on, asking me about the game. With a full basket, and still on a high from the game I didn’t realise that my better half had gone for what seemed like a weekly shop and that I was paying!
I didn’t care – we had just beaten the former European Champions.
Nottingham Forest: Pedersen, Eaden, Morgan, Breckin, Padula, Gardner, Southall, Holt (Thompson 45), Commons, Harris (Weir-Daley 45), Taylor (Johnson 76).
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Bopp.
Goals: Breckin 9, 83.
Macclesfield Town: Fettis, Briscoe, Morley, Swailes, Sandwith, Whitaker, MacKenzie, Harsley, Smart, Townson (Russell 68), Miles (Barras 88).
Subs Not Used: Bullock, Beresford, McIntyre.
Goals: Whitaker 21, Townson 45, MacKenzie 80.