They came to the KAL Group Stadium after a shock defeat to Bradford PA last weekend and a goalless draw in midweek, hoping to restore the form that brought Alex Bruce’s side ten games unbeaten before then. It was a slow start to the game as Russ Wilcox made nine changes from the county cup loss to Scunthorpe United on Tuesday, returning to the team that fell to defeat at Marine. Hamish Douglas and Joel Holvey, the on loan Rotherham duo the only ones to have played in all of the last three games. Bailey Conway was called into defensive action in the 12th minute, producing a brilliant sliding tackle to stop a Kane Drummond counter attack.
Doncaster Rovers loanee Ben Bottomley got down well to stop a long-range Drummond effort a few minutes later, as the Silkmen grew into a period of dominance. Bottomley produced a fine save in the 19th minute, diving to his right to stop Macclesfield top-scorer Alex Curran from adding an eighteenth of the season. The striker was then subbed off with an injury, but the visitors quickly took the lead. Brandon Lee worked well down the left and stood the ball up to the back post where Luke Duffy headed it in.
However, just seconds later, Gainsborough found an equaliser. Lewis Butroid found Ashley Jackson on the overlap, who saw his cross bundled in by Declan Howe at the near post. It was the Trinity top-scorer’s tenth of the season, but first since November. With half an hour gone, Bottomley made another good save. This time from Lee, who shot from inside the box, forcing the ‘keeper to get down low.
Macclesfield were causing a constant threat down the left, but their second goal came from the right. Luke Duffy pulled the ball back, with Hamish Douglas adjudged to have bundled over Drummond in the box, referee Alistair Wilson immediately pointing to the spot. John Ronney stepped up to notch his tenth goal of the season, driving the ball straight down the middle.
As the half wound to a close both Drummond and Neil Kengni curled efforts agonisingly wide, in almost carbon copies of each other. The Silkmen were dangerous down the left throughout the half, causing Trinity’s right-back George Hornshaw huge problems.
Half Time: Gainsborough Trinity 1 Macclesfield 2
Gainsborough Trinity started the second-half much brighter than they ended the first. Declan Howe had the best chance, getting in behind and having a shot blocked. Macclesfield looked to have a chance of their own as a John Rooney through-ball left Kane Drummond one-on-one with Ben Bottomley. The goalkeeper swept a leg at Drummond, who went down. However, referee Wilson brandished a yellow card for simulation as he waved away penalty appeals.
At the hour mark, Russ Wilcox made a double change in search of an equaliser. Fraser Preston and Jack Moore-Billam came on for Joel Holvey and Danny Devine. The Holy Blues seemed to have solved the first-half scourge on their right-hand side. However, the visitors had breathing room in the 63rd minute. The ball was only half cleared by the Gainsborough defence, before a cross was put into the back-post, where Paul Dawson poked it home.
The game became patchy following the third goal with a few bookings picked up by the hosts. First, Howe for arguing with the referee, before Bobby Johnson went into the book for cynically stopping a counter attack. Lewis Butroid had Silkmen goalkeeper Dylan Berry scrambling as he hit the side netting from a free-kick, with just ten minutes to go at the KAL Group Stadium.
Kyle Simpson came on for his league debut in the 85th minute, after a goal in the county cup. Trinity were rolling the dice in the last few minutes. And the youngster was lively in his short cameo, a little interchange between himself and Preston almost playing in Howe, but for an alert intervention from the Macc number one. A couple of minutes later, Fraser Preston forced an acrobatic save out of Berry, curling a free-kick towards the top corner.
Macclesfield managed a win that brought them closer to the playoff spots, while it pushed Gainsborough Trinity nearer to the dreaded relegation zone. Alex Bruce’s men ended a week that brought a loss and a defeat with an impressive performance at The Northolme, reviving the form of their ten game unbeaten run.
The Holy Blues were much better in the second-half, but couldn’t find a goal for their hard work. Russ Wilcox’s side return to action on Boxing Day away to Stafford Rangers before welcoming Worksop Town on New Year’s Day.
Gainsborough Trinity: Ben Bottomley, George Hornshaw, Ashley Jackson. Bailey Conway, Hamish Douglas, Dylan Cogill (Kyle Simpson) Lewis Butroid, Bobby Johnson, Joel Holvey (Fraser Preston) Declan Howe, Daniel Devine (Jack Moore-Billam). Subs not used: Nathaniel Wallace and Tom Parkinson.
Macclesfield FC: Dylan Berry, Tre Pemberton, Brandon Lee, Lewis Fensome, Sam Heathcoate, Paul Dawson (Luke Mariette) Lauren Mendy, Kane Drummond (Oumar Niasse), Alex Curran (Neil Kenghi) John Rooney, Luke Duffy. Subs not used: Luke Murphy and Alex Hurst.
Gainsborough goal: Declan Howe (24)
Macclesfield goals: Duffy (22), Rooney (37pen), Dawson (63)
Sponsors Man of the Match awarded to Bailey Conway
Match Report courtesy of Jamie Johnson Live Sport
Images courtesy of the Macclesfield FC Flickr Account