Macclesfield Town took another step towards the Football League after the latest pulsating victory sent Sir John’s side six points clear at the top of the National League yesterday.
On a dreary day down in Surrey, this inspirational side produced a memorable performance which oozed tenacity, conviction and an unbelievable will to win which they are now nationally renowned for.
The game started in a rather inauspicious manner, as both sides tried to get to grips with the inclement conditions.
Nathan Baxter comfortably denied Nathan Blissett as he scuffed a shot towards goal after four minutes and shortly after our midweek hero proved to be a nuisance once again as his dangerous flick from Callum Evan’s right wing cross was eventually gathered by Baxter.
The Cards launched their first real attack after 7 minutes, as Regan Charles-Cook took advantage for space twenty yards from goal by firing a low drive across the face of goal which flew wide of the far post.
Sixty seconds later the Surrey outfit came again – this time some good interplay on the right gave Reece Grego-Cox the opportunity to strike at goal, yet his powerful half volley flew high and wide of Jalal’s left hand post.
Two minutes later, Keith Lowe launched an audacious attempt to catch Baxter off his line, as he struck an innovative free kick at goal from inside his own half.
Despite his pulse no doubt racing like mad, Baxter recovered to claim the ball underneath the crossbar to prevent what would unquestionably have been one of the goals of the season.
David Fitzpatrick then put his body on the line to block Charlie Carter’s drive from the edge of the box, before Mitch Hancox could well have broke the deadlock for the visitors.
Picking the ball up out on the left, Hancox cut inside before fizzing a low effort across the face of goal and fractionally wide of the far post.
Despite the visitors dominating possession, it would be the home side who would take the lead on 20 minutes.
Charles-Cook’s cross from the right found Charlie Carter free in the box and despite Shwan Jalal making a good save to deny his initial header, Woking’s top scorer was on hand to bury the rebound.
After taking the lead, this unbelievable set of players were always going to fight back with all their might and shortly after the goal Hancox flew down the left wing, before his cross was acrobatically fired towards goal by Nathan Blissett.
Baxter proved to be well positioned however and was able to make a fairly routine save, yet Macc were unquestionably on a mission to restore parity which the minimal amount of fuss.
The equaliser came ten minutes before the interval, as Mitch Hancox sent a pinpoint cross into the box from the left and there was Nathan Blissett to wrestle through two Woking defenders, before spectacularly heading the ball into the left hand corner of the net.
Sir John’s side continued to dominate proceedings for the remainder of the first half, yet Charles-Cook almost restored the home side’s advantage two minutes before the interval as he hammered wide of the near post from close range.
The Silkmen marched out for the second period ready for battle, yet nobody could have predicted what would transpire over the course of the next forty five minutes.
Despite the fact that the hosts started well, the Macc rearguard stood firm and defiantly repelled the danger with everything they had.
Jalal got down well to stop a Charles-Cook effort on 50 minutes and four minutes later, Sir John’s side reaped the rewards when they took the lead for the first time.
George Pilkington’s cross from the left was sublimely headed on by Nathan Blissett and there was Tyrone Marsh to rifle the ball across goal and into the back of the net from fifteen yards.
It was a truly phenomenal strike which oozed belief and conviction, and the travelling army recognised that as they celebrated in a manner which we are now accustomed to.
The famous Silkmen siege was then signalled, as Macc threw a barrage of pressure at Baxter’s goal.
On 59 minutes Danny Whitaker’s corner from the left was returned back to him and only a superb stop from Baxter at his near post denied Macc a third.
Grego-Cox then stormed down field before firing well wide of Jalal’s goal, yet Macc were firmly in the ascendancy by this point and playing some fabulous attacking football despite the conditions.
The midfield was undoubtedly being orchestrated by the two Danny’s and on 67 minutes, Whitehead brought a flowing Silkmen move to an end when he fired a twenty five yard drive straight at Baxter.
Nathan Blissett continued to be a menace, as the Woking defence struggled to deal with his physical presence and eleven minutes from time he could well have ended the game as a contest when his venomous attempt from the edge of the area was deflected into Baxter’s arms by Josh Staunton.
The visitors restored parity with what seemed to be a terminal blow on 84 minutes, as Grego-Cox ghosted in at the far post to hammer home Charles-Cook’s corner from the left.
Sir John was so incensed that he understandably kicked one of the many puddles residing on the Kingfield turf and for that, an incredibly over zealous Fourth Official called Referee Young over to dismiss our faithful leader.
There was never going to be any question of this awe inspiring team fighting back once again and three minutes later Blissett was agonisingly close to a winner as his close range effort was desperately blocked on the six yard line by Staunton.
Danny Whitehead then sent Whitaker’s corner over the bar, yet as four minutes of additional time was signalled everyone knew that the game was far from over.
Keith Lowe then angled a long ball into the box which Blissett headed narrowly wide, yet in the dying seconds our breath was to be taken away with a strike which exemplifies our entire season.
Danny Whitehead visibly gave everything to head Tyrone Marsh through on goal and he beat Baxter to send the ball towards the empty net.
Yet as Tyrone ran off to celebrate with the Silkmen faithful, the ball’s progress was halted by an accumulation of water desperately short of the goal line.
Yet against all the odds, Whitehead stormed through the penalty area to poke the ball home with the Woking defenders oblivious to the fact that the goal had not yet been registered.
That goal showed what this team is all about – it showed passion, it showed defiance but most of all it showed an unbreakable desire to finish the job off despite the obstacles which are put in our way.
With six games to go, those qualities are worth there weight in gold and are unquestionably what Champions are made of.
Courtesy of Silkmen TV, you can watch extended highlights of the game below –
Woking: Nathan Baxter, Jordan Wynter, Josh Staunton, Joey Jones, Louis Ramsey (Matt Young 75’), Kane Ferdinand, Chez Isaac (Louie Theophanus 63’), Charlie Carter, Regan Charles-Cook, Anthony Cook, Reece Grego-Cox
Subs not used: Sam Mason, Fabio Saraiva, Jason Banton
Macclesfield Town: Shawn Jalal, Jared Hodgkiss, Keith Lowe, George Pilkington, David Fitzpatrick, Callum Evans, Danny Whitehead, Danny Whitaker, Mitch Hancox, Tyrone Marsh, Nathan Blissett.
Subs not used: Sam Ramsbottom, Kieran Kennedy, Scott Burgess, Scott Wilson, Diego De Girolamo.