Macclesfield u21’s extended their unbeaten start to the season, after a battling 1-2 win in Sunday’s scintillating showdown with St Helens.
First-half strikes from midfield maestro Riche Makelele and man of the moment Andi Kideri were enough to seal another important victory for manager McGuire’s side – who have made a strong start to the season despite three consecutive away fixtures.
After a quick start to the game, in which both sides looked to control possession early on – cool, calm link-up play in midfield, supported by an impressive display of attacking dynamism from both full-backs caused St Helens Town problem after problem.
The games first chance fell to Macclesfield’s Fregapane, who’s header was saved after an excellent passage of play down the right-hand side by marauding winger Freddie Lloyd.
Arguably the game’s stand out performer – Riche Makelele’s opening strike portrayed determination and desire so often shown by the Silkmen. Chasing a lost cause, Makelele latched onto a loose ball by an opposing defender before firing confidently past St Helens keeper Nathan Wolland and gathering his teammates for a warm embrace.
At 0-1, it seemed more Macclesfield goals were inevitable. Link-up play from Lloyd and Kyobe down the right-hand side continued, earning multiple corners from crosses in a matter of minutes and piling on the pressure heading into half time.
In the 34th minute, shortly after another low cross from the right-hand side just missed the boot of in-form striker Andi Kideri – the pressure paid off.
Another game, another goal for Kideri after a driving run and through ball from Makelele saw the ball reach the feet of Macclesfield’s leading goalscorer, who made no mistake in rounding the keeper and doing what he does best – putting the ball in the back of the net.
Shortly before half-time, Macclesfield goalkeeper Stockton worked wonders, racing from his goal before diving low to deny clean-through St Helens striker Kettle –keeping the score at 0-2 during one of the games more crucial moments.
In the second half, the Silkmen continued their dominance. Captain Tyler Beck continued to pull the strings from centre back, showcasing an impressive array of defence-splitting passes, finding Fregapane in the 58th minute, who saw yet another low cross find Brown, who just missed with the right-foot finish.
In the 66th minute, Ojungu replaced Lloyd before another chance for Kideri, who couldn’t quite reach Kyobe’s inviting far-post cross.
Five minutes later, a speculative effort from St. Helen’s striker Kettle found a way past keeper Stockton to set up a grandstand finish at Ruskin Drive.
As the home team rallied for an unlikely late comeback, Macclesfield captain Beck rallied his defence. A string of important interceptions and last-ditch tackles stopped St Helens’ strikers taking full advantage of a lacklustre period for the Silkmen.
In the 82nd minute, the home team came close to an equaliser, another long-range effort from St. Helens frontman Kettle rattled the underside of the crossbar before bouncing along the goal line in agonising fashion.
Three minutes later, first-half goalscorer Kideri came close to sealing victory after cutting inside from the left and firing a curled effort just wide of the post.
In the end, Macclesfield held on to complete a second successive 1-2 away win that puts them in a great position for next weeks reverse fixture at Platt Lane.
Speaking shortly after the game, manager Paul McGuire believed:
“It was a very good three points. It was a great game, we had to battle until the very end but it was good to watch.
We dominated the game and missed a lot of chances, we should probably have been 3-0 up if we took our chances.
But we didn’t, and they got back into it. It’s a horrible scoreline in football, 1-2. They tried their best to rain free-kicks down on us, in the hope of something sloppy going in, but we did well.
I’m proud of the lads, were starting to play like men. That’s the key.”
McGuire also had high-praise for star-striker Andi Kideri, after another goal helped his side to victory.
He said: “He’s lethal, isn’t he? The guy is lethal, he can certainly score goals, a great asset to the team.”