Macclesfield Town claimed a share of the spoils at the Moss Rose yesterday as a fairly drab fixture against Bromley ended goalless.
Both sides retain their unbeaten start to the National League season, but in truth neither side could realistically claim that they were good value for maximum points.
George Pilkington and Elliott Durrell both missed out following midweek knocks against Hartlepool, and Sir John drafted Kieran Kennedy and Gime Toure in to the starting eleven for the visit of The Ravens.
The visitors started the brighter of the two, and in the first five minutes dominated possession as they tried to silence the home crowd.
Macc weathered the half hearted storm, and Keith Lowe in particular was in fine form – denying two dangerous Bromley attacks with diving headers reminiscent of Christopher Reeves in his heyday.
The hosts’ first real chance came on 9 minutes, when Ryan Lloyd broke free down the right hand side before sending a low drive across the six yard box which agonisingly evaded the onrushing Silkmen attackers.
Five minutes later, Kobi Arthur made Raven’s ‘keeper Gregory earn his money after his thirty yard screamer was tipped over the crossbar to the relief of the Bromley hardcore situated in the McAlpine.
The game then deteriorated in to attrition, with both defences managing to quell the attacking threat of their opponents.
On 19 minutes, Arthur’s low drive was desperately blocked by Joshua Rees when it looked for all the world that it was nestling in the bottom corner.
A minute later, Bromley launches their first real attack of the match when Brett Williams created space for himself before his twenty five yard effort deflected off Kieran Kennedy and was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Shwan Jalal.
On 31 minutes Macc really should have taken the lead when Kobi Arthur burst through the Bromley defence and smashed a low effort goal bound which Gregory could only parry – yet nobody was following it up to tap the ball home.
Shortly after Louis Dennis was being a menace down the right hand flank, as he launched a surging run before cutting inside and hammering a twenty yard screamer thankfully straight at Jalal.
With just about ten minutes left before the interval the strikers on both sides seemed to decide that they were going to launch the “crossbar challenge” – but with a difference. Instead of hitting the crossbar, it seemed like the challenge was how far over could you send the ball!
First up, Gime Toure hits a wild twenty five yard attempt a good twenty feet over the bar, and this was followed up by Kobi Arthur’s similar attempt seven minutes from the break.
On 40 minutes we had a quick break from the crossbar challenge when Sterling’s free kick for the visitors was powerfully headed towards goal by skipper Holland, and he was unlucky to see his attempt fly just over Jalal’s bar.
Tyrone Marsh then took the lead in the crossbar competition with a thirty yard effort which apparently knocked a round of drinks over in the Millstone beer garden. and as the half drew to a close, Bromley’s Ben Wynter popped up with his own entry which cleared the Star Lane End stand.
Macc started the second period on the front foot and two minutes in Danny Whitaker’s corner was smashed towards goal by Kieran Kennedy from six yards out, yet Gregory made a stunning save to preserve parity.
On 52 minutes Gime Toure gave us a glimpse of his pre-season form when his electric run through the Bromley midfield resulted in him sending a twenty five yard drive just wide of the far post.
Three minutes later, the visitors threatened when Ben Wynter’s long ball upfield was latched on to by Williams, whose low effort flew inches wide of Jalal’s far post.
The Macc ‘keeper was then replaced by Billy O’Brien after picking up a knock, although after his pre-season faux-par PA Andy Worth developed an extreme bout of perspiration as he read out the change!
The visitors then started to put their foot on the gas, and as such forced Macc in to making a number of uncharacteristic errors. For a short time Macc appeared to be panicking, and this spurred the Ravens on in the search for the opening goal of the game.
Despite their pressure, Bromley did not really give substitute ‘keeper anything too taxing to deal with as they were restricted to mainly long range efforts.
On 67 minutes the Silkmen faithful screamed for a penalty as Fitzpatrick’s long ball in to the box was taken down sublimely by Tyrone Marsh who appeared to be bundled over by the visiting defenders in the process.
Referee Lucas waved the protests away however, and in truth he was probably right to do so despite my vehement objections directed at him at the time!
On 71 minutes, a goalmouth scramble ensued when Danny Whitaker’s cross was not dealt with by the Bromley defence. Arthur and Whitaker both had attempts desperately blocked as the visitors fought to preserve their point, which they ultimately did – just.
The remaining minutes saw the return of the war of attrition, with neither side seemingly brave enough to throw caution to the wind and really go for the win.
As the fourth official signalled for five additional minutes to be played, most fans reacted with a groan rather than expectation as the match petered out until the final whistle was blown.
Macclesfield Town: Jalal (O’Brien 60), Fitzpatrick, Lowe, Lloyd (Hancox 63), Kennedy, Baba, Yates, Arthur (Wilson 81), Whitaker, Marsh, Toure.
Bromley: Gregory, Rees, Chorley, Holland, Sterling, Wynter, Wanadio (Higgs 78), Allen (Mekkiat 65), Sutherland, Williams (Porter 71), Dennis.
Referee: Mr S Lucas
Attendance: 1281 (63 loyal Bromley fans).