The 1992/93 season will not go down in history as one of The Silkmen’s best campaigns – only a last day victory at newly crowned Champions Wycombe Wanderers would famously save them from relegation. Yet their FA Cup exploits have gone down in Silkmen folklore and fondly remembered by everyone present.
At this time and despite being a Conference side, Macc entered the competition in the First Qualifying Round where they narrowly overcame a plucky Glossop North End side and were reliant on a late Maunsell own goal to progress.
Macc were grateful for another own goal in the Second Qualifying Round when Thompson put through his own net, which meant that Hucknall Town were denied a famous victory and the two sides would replay the fixture at the Moss Rose the following week.
This provided to be a much more routine affair for the boys in blue, who ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Sir John Askey, John Timmons and the youngster Richie Mitchell.
After a narrow 1-0 victory in the Third Qualifying Round against Horwich RMI (Stuart Leicester with the winner), Macc were again held by a lower league side in the final qualifying round – this time Netherfield being the opponents.
Stuart Leicester again struck for The Silkmen, but the home side claimed a share of the spoils and took the match back to the Moss Rose – the victors of which would face Football League side Chesterfield at home.
Macc made easy work of the replay, a rare Paul Kendall goal opened the floodgates and this was followed by strikes from John McMahon, George Shepherd, Richie Mitchell and another from Stuart Leicester as The Silkmen ran out 5-0 winners.
And so on cold, wet November afternoon Macc faced Chesterfield hoping to indulge in a spot of giant killing. The game was certainly hampered by the inclement weather which was played out in front of a healthy 3063 spectators – most of whom went home soaked after not seeing the best spectacle. Both sides had a few half chances, but neither side deserved to progress and the goalless scoreline was a fitting one.
This set up a trip to the Recreation Ground on 25th November 1992 and under the floodlights even the most diehard Macc fan would not really have given us a chance against our illustrious opponents.
Yet sporting our all yellow away kit, Macc took the game to the hosts right from the first whistle with Stuart Leicester looking to exploit the flanks at every given opportunity.
Chesterfield looked dangerous also, but for large periods of the first half were confined to counter attacks and speculative long range efforts.
The Macc fans who were getting soaked once more did not let the weather dampen their spirits and reacted to the plucky showing on the pitch by creating one hell of a noise in support of their heroes.
Their belief was duly rewarded when Colin Blain chipped the ball over the advancing Leonard in the Chesterfield goal and Richie Mitchell was their to poke home, despite desperate attempts by three defenders to rescue the situation.
Umbrellas were up in the air together with scarves, pies and the odd cup of Bovril as those who had made the short journey in to Derbyshire, more out of faith than belief, realised that an upset could well be on.
However the League side would dampen the Silkmen faithful’s spirits somewhat before the interval, when the Macc defence struggled to clear a cross from the left and Lee Turnbull acrobatically launched an astonishing Van Basten-esq overhead kick which flew over Steve Farrelly and dipped in to the far corner of the net.
With the sides locked at half time it would have been easy to predict that a home win would be the overall outcome, as surely the professionalism and superior fitness levels of the League side would prevail in the second half.
As it was, the second half yielded no further goals despite both sides having chances to settle the tie within ninety minutes.
Extra time was therefore required, as a growing sense of renewed belief infiltrated the terraced away end of the ground.
This was compounded in the first half of added time when midfield maestro Colin Lambert surged through The Spireites defence before laying the ball off to Richie Mitchell, whose fairly tame shot somehow slid underneath ‘keeper Leonard to give The Silkmen the lead for the second time.
Suddenly the dream was back on.
Chesterfield were always going to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at us in the second half of extra time, yet The Silkmen defence held strong as the faithful’s fingernails were bitten down to the flesh.
With just a few minutes left on the clock disaster seemed to have struck, when a corner from the right hand side was glanced on by Williams in to the far corner of the net.
The collective sigh of relief from the home fans was clearly evident, as those who had traveled from Cheshire started to believe that their dream had begun to evaporate in front of their very eyes.
Despite Chesterfield pressing for a very late and undeserved winner in the last few seconds, Referee Jeff Winter signalled that extra time had been concluded and that the winner would be decided by a penalty shoot out.
The penalties were to be taken in front of the travelling Silkmen supporters, who rallied behind ‘keeper Steve Farrelly and every one of their heroes in yellow who had the bottle to step up to the spot.
Lee Turnbull started proceedings for the home side with a cocky dinked effort down the centre of the goal which Farrelly had no chance with due to opting to dive to his right.
Richie Mitchell and Stuart Bimson confidently put their efforts away to the joy of the onlooking travelling army, and after Francis had converted his kick for the hosts it was the turn of ‘keeper Farrelly to write himself in to Silkmen folklore with two consecutive penalty saves to put the non leaguers firmly in the driving seat.
George Shepherd then converted his penalty and suddenly Macc could see the finish line.
Diving to his right, Farrelly superbly saved The Spireites next spot kick to unleash a sea of yellow running towards the Macc fans to celebrate a victory which really was against all the odds.
Singing, dancing and hugging random strangers wearing Macc scarves carried on long in to the night as not only had Macc disposed of League opposition on their own ground, they had also become the first non league side to beat a League side on penalties – etching their names in to the history books never to be erased.
A few weeks later, the club marked the occasion by releasing a video of the match in the lead up to Christmas. As an eleven year old boy, I could not contain my excitement as I stood outside the merchandise hatch (which used to be located next to the refreshments kiosk in the London Road corner of the ground), to buy my copy from a tall bloke wearing a Red Dwarf tee shirt and cap (I think we all know who that was don’t we Mr Ridgway!).
Although the visual quality wasn’t the best (well it was 1992), I will never forget the commentary which was given by a Chesterfield fan who was clearly most upset when Farrelly’s save sent his team out of the Cup!
It was a video I still have and which still reminds me of a match that I will never forget.
Chesterfield: Leonard, Lemon, Carr, Williams, Brien, Rogers, Hebberd, Morris, Lancaster, Kennedy.
Macclesfield: Farrelly, Shepherd, Bimson, Edwards, Kendall, McMahon, Askey, Timmons, Lambert, Mitchell, Leicester
Referee: J Winter
Make sure to check back here for more classic Silkmen Nostalgia which will appear soon!