Ten things about Exeter on Tuesday!

  1. Liverpool and Citeeh in Champions League action on the same night as our must win game against the play-off chasing Grecians of Exeter City was always going to sort of impact upon the gate, and at twenty five to eight, I whispered to the phenomenally hard working Bobby Trafford that we could struggle to reach four figures. Then almost out of nowhere the ground filled up markedly and as we kicked off, the ground looked reasonably well populated, although London Road still remained so sparsely populated which really is so sad to see!
  2. The official attendance subsequently turned out to be 1,588, and huge credit must be given to the hugely impressive following of 204 Grecians fans who made the circa 450 mile (eight hours) round trip from their Cathedral City in South West England to get behind their team on a chilly Tuesday evening in Eastern Cheshire. They gave their team good support throughout the game and I salute each and everyone of them for their dedication to their team’s cause.
  3. Before the game, many Silkmen fans including yours truly had advocated two up front (Smith and Wilson) and sacrificing one of the centre halves (Jules or Kelleher) to allow us to provide more attacking threat than had been seen on Saturday. However, the only change to the line-up saw the colossus that is Harry Smith taking over Scott Wilson who struggled to get in to the game during Saturday’s home tie against the Shrimps of Morecambe.
  4. As on Saturday, it was the visitors who started the game with more urgency than their hosts with the Grecian’s Martin spurning a half decent chance only five minutes into the game. Although fans favourite Elliott Durrell had the ball in the net, the cheers died in many Silkmen fans throats almost immediately when it was flagged offside, and in all honesty it looked offside even from our vantage point in Star Lane. The Grecians took the lead in the 27th minute when ex-Motherwell striker Ryan Bowman nodded in from extremely close range to give them a lead they probably deserved. Three minutes later the Silkmen were level when Harry Smith towered above the Grecian back-line to restore parity. The home crowd roared into life for a few minutes urging their heroes on before they were silenced again on 34 minutes when a long ball from Grecian’s ‘keeper Hamon inexplicably soared over the heads of the Silkmen defence allowing the onrushing Bowman to double his tally with a well executed finish that gave young Kieran O’Hara no chance whatsoever.
  5. It really did start to look as if the Silkmen were throwing away their game in hand, when Nathan Cameron was clumsily challenged in the box and the referee immediately pointed for a spot kick. Up stepped Michael Rose (who had been well off the pace for much of the first half) to restore parity once again as his cool finish in first half stoppage time ensured that the Silkmen once again went into the half-time cuppa with barely deserved equality in the scoreline, as had been the case in the previous home game against Morecambe only three days earlier.
  6.  As we supped our half-time brews and chocolate biscuits (courtesy of the lovely ‘Grimmy’ aka Marie Grundy) PBJ and yours truly reflected that once again we were ‘still in with a chance’ and sincerely hoped that we could put in a much better second half performance that could give us three priceless points, and get us out of the bottom two for the first time in what seemed a lifetime ago; well August last year anyway!
  7. If the first half had seen the Grecians ‘out of the blocks’ much faster than their hosts, it certainly wasn’t the case as the second half started with the Silkmen kicking towards the Star Lane End. The impressive James Pearson (who has been superb in his right wing back role in recent weeks) forced a half decent save from the youthful looking Hamon and the industrious Elliott (Durrell) scuffed a shot wide when he could have perhaps done a little better.
  8. The vastly improved second half performance had seen the Star Lane End crank up the volume of support considerably and the groans were almost deafening when Harry (Smith) missed a gilt-edged chance in the 78th minute, ballooning his shot way over the bar when with a little more composure, he could have given the Silkmen the precious lead that they craved.
  9. The minutes appeared to be flying by and the Silkmen seemed destined for a useful (albeit not quite good enough) point when in the 85th minute the mercurial Elliott Durrell produced a delicious looking cross into the Grecians box and pandemonium ensued when the ball hit the back of the net. Although there was some debate as to who got the last touch, an own goal or Harry Smith’s, yours truly felt compelled to give it to Harry; yours truly’s Man of the Match (closely followed by Elliott) and the Silkmen subsequently withstood some late Grecians pressure during six (6) agonising minutes of stoppage time to seal a thoroughly deserved and invaluable three points against our high flying visitors.
  10. The euphoric scenes that followed the final whistle on Tuesday evening showed just how much the result meant to the players, management and fans of Macclesfield Town F.C., and for the first time in many months you sensed that the ‘against all odds’ mentality was alive and well for everyone associated with our beloved Silkmen. There are five colossal challenges ahead but we have now given ourselves a real chance of preserving our English Football League (EFL) status which seemed nigh on impossible only a few short months ago.  This season, both on and off the field, has been a frustrating, heartbreaking, mind boggling but utterly absorbing piece of football theatre for our beloved blues. However, if come the 4th May 2019 we have remained in the elite 92 of English football, we can not only celebrate a phenomenal achievement for the second year running; but strive for a way forward that ensures that both club hierarchy and fans of this wonderful little club of ours, come up with a strategy to work together to make sure that the mistakes of this season both on and off the field NEVER occur again. I am Silkmen till I die!   

Featured Image courtesy of Chelsie Wilson.

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