The only way is up
EVEN Matthew Flynn’s sending off could not alter Macc’s dominance of high flying Bury, the only problem with the performance the lack of a killer instinct up front, writes Simon Carter.
Keith Alexander has his team playing exciting football with an aggressive edge, and though they may be leaving a surge for a play-off spot too late this season, surely the only way can be up for this fast improving Macc outfit.
Keith Alexander agreed: “It was a good performance, particularly after losing heavily in midweek. We have now played well a few times this season and you can see a team coming together. We are looking at this on a longer-term basis and you can see that next season and the season after we should be beginning to develop quite nicely. It’s a young side and they have a long way to go, but the signs on this performance are good.”
Alexander was angry with his team’s eighth red card, Matthew Flynn sent off for his second bookable offence.
“The first offence was ludicrous. He was thrown into the net by David Buchanan. We have missed key players in key games and at the end of the season will have to pay a fine. But if you look at all the decisions, only Gritton’s at Crewe perhaps deserved a red card.”
Honest Bury boss Alan Knill agreed with Alexander’s version of this North West derby.
“I am delighted with a point. All credit to Macclesfield, we were outplayed from start to finish and they will be very disappointed not to get all three points.”
Macc might have taken the lead as early as the second minute when livewire veteran Simon Yeo muscled David Buchanan off the ball only to skew a 12 yard drive inches wide of the far post.
The Silkmen did not have long to wait before taking the lead just two minutes later, when Shaun Brisley met a Terry Dunfield corner with a firm downward header. Popping up off Ben Futcher’s knee, Yeo clipped a header on to the cross bar for the handily placed Martin Gritton to pounce on the rebound with a three yard header for his third in five games.
But the Moss’s euphoria had hardly subsided when Andy Bishop released Stephen Dawson, who completed a surging run with a rasping drive inches inside Jon Brain’s near post.
Macc could have retaken the lead seconds later, Nat Brown’s rising drive well saved by his namesake Wayne Brown. Bury striker Andy Bishop went close with two shots: the first planted over the bar, the second well saved by Jon Brain, However, it was Macc who had the clearer cut chance moments before the break when Dunfield’s powerful drive gained a fizzing deflection, only for Shaker’s Okeeper Brown to throw out a hand and palm he ball wide.
Brown was again at his best two minutes after the break when Yeo broke loose of the cover defence, the capable Brown summoning up another great stop, flinging himself full length to deny Yeo’s 15 yard attempt.
Macc felt aggrieved when Dunfield went down in the box under a challenge from Dawson, and they were even more resentful when Matthew Flynn was sent off for his second bookable offence in the 72nd minute. He might have deserved a yellow for upending the flying Michael Roberts, but his first offence on 52 minutes, when he was bundled into the opposition net by the overly aggressive Buchanan, seemed a little harsh.
Simpson agreed: “Martin Gritton was the subject of systematic fouling all afternoon long from Efe Sodje, yet young Matthew sees red for what was at best just a niggle.”
Bury, however, could not capitalise on their one man advantage, their only chance falling to sub Andy Morrell who saw his delicate 20 yard chip brilliantly finger-tipped over the bar by the athletic Brain.