Sammy McIlroy’s Macclesfield Town launched a stunning comeback to put their Division Three promotion bid back on track twenty years ago today, as Shrewsbury Town visited the Moss Rose.
Coming into the game on the back of a freak 5 – 1 reversal at Colchester United, Macc extended their enviable home record with another inspiring victory.
Debuts were handed to former Manchester City star Rae Ingram and midfielder Ben Sedgemore who had joined the club from Mansfield Town the previous week.
After a fairly even first half where chances for both sides came at a premium, The Shrews stunned the home faithful by taking the lead just two minutes after the restart.
Michael Brown played a perfect one two with former Northwich midfielder Lee Steele, before hammering a low drive toward’s Ryan Price’s left hand post.
The likeable Brummy seemed to have everything under control, yet at the last second the ball bobbled over his outstretched arm and nestled into the back of the net.
This undoubtedly catalysed McIlroy’s side, as they battled back in devastating manner.
Martin McDonald, Steve Wood and Stuart Whittaker all went close for the home side, before parity was restored eleven minutes later.
McDonald surged through the Shrewsbury defence, before sending a tantalising cross into the box which was glanced home by Leroy Chambers.
The strike represented his fourth goal of the season and ended an eleven match barren spell for the forward.
Yet Macc were not content in settling for a point, as they laid siege on Paul Edward’s goal looking for a winner.
That came nine minutes from time when substitute Tony Philliskirk brilliantly played Wood through on goal and he confidently chipped the ball over the advancing ‘keeper to send the Star Lane End wild.Speaking to the Macclesfield Express after the game, Sammy had this to say –
It was a tremendous fightback, They showed great character to bounce straight back – their heads could easily have dropped and who knows what would have happened then.
But we came back and have put ourselves in a great position although we will still be taking one match at a time.
Sammy McIlroy. Speaking to the Macclesfield Express. March 1998
Macclesfield Town: Price, Tinson, McDonald, Payne, Ingram, Sodje, Askey, Wood, Chambers, Sedgemore, Whittaker (Philliskirk 75)