Macclesfield Town carried on their impressive start to the new season with a entertaining one all draw with Hartlepool United last night.
Following on from their opening day win at Wrexham, Sir John went in to the match with a squad full of confidence, and that showed against the newly relegated Pool – who were eager to put last Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Dover Athletic behind them.
Our visitors dominated the opening exchanges, as their free flowing football caught Macc a little off guard.
Keith Lowe followed up his Man of the Match performance on Saturday with an equally solid start to the match, and it was his last-gasp tackle which denied Cassidy a clear run at goal with barely a minute on the clock.
Padraig Amond proved to be a very dangerous little character within the opening fifteen minutes – firstly his low drive was easily saved by Jalal, and then he burst through the Macc defence and with the goal seemingly at his mercy decided to play in Munns, yet his lay off was too strong and another chance went begging.
The visitors continued to look the more dangerous with the fast one-touch passing, and on 17 minutes they really should have taken the lead after some good play down the right hand side which culminated in Cassidy hitting a poor shot straight at Jalal from six yards out.
At this point, Macc seemed to have weathered the initial storm and started to come in to the game more. On 20 minutes, Durrell broke free down the right, before sending a cross to the back post which Ryan Lloyd could only head straight in to the hands of the visiting ‘keeper.
Despite a few misplaced passes which drew the wrath of some of the Moss Rose faithful, Macc slowly but surely were edging themselves back in to the game.
Danny Whitaker fired over from 30 yards after 22 mins, and four minutes later he put the ball on a plater for Noe Baba, whose 25 yard drive flew just wide.
Two minutes later, Macc were back on the attack again when Durrell flew down the right flank and when his cross was only half cleared, Whitaker smashed a low drive at goal which was well saved by ‘keeper Loach.
The match then became very end to end, with both sides pressing for the lead.
Yet, it was the home side who broke the deadlock on 38 minutes when danger man Durrell yet again broke free, before his pinpoint cross from the right was glanced in off the head of Danny Whitaker.
Hartlepool were catalysed in to action for the remaining minutes of the half, yet Donaldson’s curling effort which sailed over Jalal’s crossbar was the closest they came to restoring parity.
The second half began with the home side largely on the front foot, and they could easily have doubled their lead on 49 minutes when a routine clearance by laing was completely missed, yet Tyrone Marsh could only smash his half volley straight at Loach.
Two minutes later, Durrell again left his marker for dead down the right hand flank, but his cross along the six yard line agonisingly evaded the onrushing Macc players.
As is the way sometimes, Hartlepool would then claim the equaliser largely against the run of play on 58 minutes when Cassidy was first to a free kick whipped in from the right, and his powerful header flew past Jalal in to the net.
For a period after this Macc looked in real trouble, as the goal really had spurred the Monkey Hangers on and they could sense that a second strike was imminent.
Under a minute after equalising, a wonderful move down the right would find Munns free on the six yard line, but somehow he sent his shot wide of Jalal’s far post.
George Pilkington was then replaced by Kieran Kennedy, in what we assume to be the result of a knock, as Macc really did have their backs against the wall.
Just after the hour mark, Macc did come back in to the game however when Noe Baba’s thirty yard screamer whistled just over Loach’s bar.
Five minutes later, Hartlepool had Laing to thank for stopping a certain goal when Whitaker’s teasing cross from the right evaded the ‘keeper and looked certain to be converted by Durrell. The Pool defender somehow manager to flick the ball to safety, much to the relief of the away fans, who by which point were probably soaked in the John Askey Terrace.
Durrell continued to pose Macc’s biggest threat and on 72 minutes, his wonderful run ended when he could only manage to blast a 25 yard shot over Loach’s crossbar.
It really was end to end at this point, and on 78 minutes, Scott Wilson found himself clean through on goal, yet somehow Laing managed to slide in behind him and flick the ball to safety.
A minute later, Durrell again posed a threat after he sent a 30 yard drive across the Hartlepool six yard line which Magnay did well to prevent the onrushing Wilson from converting an easy tap in.
Durrell seemed to fall awkwardly from his endeavours though, and it was a sad sight to see him stretched off the pitch with ten minutes left.
The closing exchanges proved to be frantic, yet no clear chances for either side ensued which gave Macc a share of the spoils and a very healthy four points from the opening two fixtures.
Macclesfield Town: Jalal, Fitzpatrick, Lowe, Durrell, Yates, Pilkington, Baba, Lloyd, Burgess, Whitaker, Marsh
Subs: Wilson, Richards, Kennedy, Hancox, Arthur.
Hartlepool United: Loach, Magnay, Harrison, Donaldson, Laing, Donnelly, Newton, Munns, Hawkins, Cassidy, Amond
Subs: Adams, Featherstone, Woods, Deverdics, Rodney.
Ref: Joe Johnson