Wednesday, 9 September 2015

05/09/15 Review: Macclesfield Town vs Woking FC

Macclesfield Town 2-1 Woking (National League)
Moss Rose

For Pint of Football it's been a while. Almost a month without watching a live game finally came to an end as I returned to action at the Moss Rose, whilst all of the big boys were on international duty. In the past few weeks I have been close to attending various matches on my travels, but it's never quite worked out. On my way from Southend to Stoke I aimed to drop in on Watford vs Southampton a couple of weeks ago, but traffic prevented it. I tried to get a last minute ticket for Stoke vs West Brom last weekend, but it was sold out. It seems that I'm almost destined to stick to the good stuff, non-league football. So, with Surrey-based Woking coming to town me and my fellow Macc Town friend, Will (who travelled through from Flamborough the night before, no less!), jumped on the train to watch our beloved Silkmen.

It was like we'd never been away
The Cardinals, as their locals call them, showed up in good form having won 5 and drew 1 out of their last 6. The only defeat they had suffered so far was a tough opening day loss to recently-relegated Tranmere Rovers. On the other hand, Macc were looking below average and had lost 3 on the bounce before picking up a big win at Blundell Park against Grimsby Town. So with that in mind it seemed as though 3rd placed Woking would be favourites to pick up 3 points, despite the fact that last season the Silkmen won 2-1 thanks to an 89th minute winner from captain Paul Turnbull. As a hopeful fan, I was positive of a club and country double today- predicting a 1-0 win for Macc and a 6-0 victory for the Three Lions later on against San Marino.

I quickly took my seat just in time for the kick-off- and here we go again. The opening showed much promise from both sides, with the attacking from Woking being matched by counters from Macclesfield. Former Silkmen player Keiran Murtagh was renowned for his tough tackles at his time with the club, but the passing from Whittaker and Lewis in the middle meant that he couldn't get near enough for the crunch in the early stages. I was surprised to see Murtagh playing today for Woking, as I would have assumed that he would be on international duty with Antigua and Barbuda. The Caribbean side managed to beat Guatemala without him, though. Since leaving Macc to go to Woking he must've been faded out of the national set-up for one reason or another. Back to the game here and Macclesfield started to progress with good moves down the left and right alike. The one thing which I had noticed early on was the sculpted figure of muscle-man left-back Chris Arthur for Woking, who not only powered through Chris Holroyd but also outpaced him numerous times- a true tank of a player! He couldn't prevent the opener, however, just after 10 minutes. A cross from the right was fumbled by the keeper, which allowed the on-form Kristian Dennis to pounce for his 6th of the season. Macc 1-0 Woking. Despite the cheers from the home fans, I couldn't help but notice a singular, loud moan and groan from the man sitting next to me- I sensed it may be an away fan who had come into the wrong end. Memories flooded back for me of the time that I accidentally sat in the home stand when the Silkmen bowed out of League Two away at Southend United back in 2012.

The fans enjoyed another goal from Dennis the Menace
This goal was truly what the Silkmen needed early on against a top National League side, as it gave us the confidence to push forward for the rest of the first-half and look for a second goal. My friend Will reminded me of the last game he went to, we took an early 2-0 lead at Lincoln before eventually crumbling to a 5-3 defeat. Hopefully this wasn't on the cards again, with some great play from the Macc midfield leading to a fantastic solo effort from Paul Lewis. He popped the ball over the defenders head before volleying the ball fiercely just over the bar. We were looking good and I didn't want half-time to come before we could get a second goal. Corner after corner came in the final 5 of the first-half, alas we went into the break with a comfortable (for now) lead against an out of sorts performance from the Cardinals.

At half-time it became apparent that the chap who was quite clearly not a Macc fan turned out to be the father of Giuseppe Sole, who was on the Woking bench today. Following a quick chat with the man about the joys of non-league away days, we couldn't help but go away for our beverage with an appreciation for the parents of a non-league substitute who made the trip all the way up to Macclesfield from Surrey. Following this we stood in the long queue for a much needed beer, which when it came had a bigger head than Jose Mourinho! I proceeded to drink it anyway, before heading back to my seat before the second half started. Today's "Pint of Football Moment" in the programme was more from the "10 things you didn't know about..." section. Fact 10 revealed that, "The Spice Girls began their career at a studio near to Woking." Talk about spicing up my half-time!

Who needs Mourinho, when we've got Beerio
Luckily for the Silkmen we started the half in the way we ended the last. Even the half-time substitution of Murtagh for Woking couldn't prevent Macc's dominance, as we continued to press the second goal. Roughly 15 minutes into the second-half we were coming closer and closer, with some top saves from the Away keeper, Jake Cole, being the only thing stopping us. Eventually though, we got a free-kick which was initially whipped in and cleared, but then a good cross from the left allowed Dennis this time to provide a volleyed pass across the box to allow Neil Byrne to collect his first Silkmen goal. The centre-back was thrilled, as were the fans. Macc 2-0 Woking. This goal meant that the Silkmen only needed to hold on for the final 30- and a section of the fans took this opportunity to relax and shout out at Chris Arthur the chant "Show us your six-pack", to which he did. With nothing to play for except perhaps a point, Woking threw Sole on and started to throw bodies forward to try and get back into it. The parents of Sole were no longer sitting next to me, presumably they had headed back to the away stands as he started leading a lot of the attacks. Towards the end they were rewarded as Joey Jones curled in a stunning consolation goal into the top corner. Macc 2-1 Woking. I think that Askey's decision to not make any substitutions in the match was to attempt to lower the amount of stoppage time in the match, baring in mind that England were due to kick-off straight after this. However, to everyone's shock there were still 3 minutes to play. No real threat came through and the Silkmen sealed an impressive victory and secured 3 more points after the win on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Woking lads weren't up to the standard I expected, thankfully
With the match over we headed straight to the bar to get a pint in, in time for England kicking-off. A win was always on the cards against San Marino, but with a 6-0 bet on the table I was looking forward to hopefully a perfect end to a great afternoon of football. When we headed back to the train England were 3-0 up, so I was delighted to get home and find out that I'd won my bet! A great day all round.

Totally called it

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