Tranmere Rovers 1-4 Macclesfield Town: Silkmen humiliate Rovers at Prenton Park to extend National League lead

By Joel Lampkin

  • Macclesfield extend gap at top to five points
  • Tranmere SEVEN points behind leaders having played a game more
  • Home side rue missed chances
  • Sutton United, Boreham Wood, Aldershot and Wrexham all collect at least a point

Tranmere Rovers’ dream of automatic promotion into the Football League turned into a nightmare as they were swept aside by high flying Macclesfield Town.

A relaxed opening period turned sour as Whitaker poked home from close range to stun the home side on the brink of half-time.

The Super Whites responded well after the break, as Andy Cook fired past Shwan Jalal to level the scoring, although the recovery was only brief.

A weak long range effort from Elliot Durell slipped through Scott Davies, followed by a Silkmen penalty just minutes later as Whitaker grabbed his second before Durell once again struck from distance to put the result and possibly league title out of reach.

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Rovers entered the pitch knowing only a win would be good enough to potentially win the league (image: Tranmere Rovers)

The loss sees Rovers slip from second to sixth and fall seven points off of first placed Macclesfield with the Playoffs now their only route back into the Football League.

As flags adorned Prenton Park, the fans looked in celebration mode but their party was short lived in a fixture hailed as the most important of their domestic campaign.


The Kop was in full swing prior to kick off with new flags on display (Image: Joel Lampkin)

A strong start from both sides led to an even opening 20 minutes, with chances for either set of forward line.

Cook had the best opportunity to pull Rovers ahead as he fluffed his lines from 10 yards out with his weak effort rolling into the arms of the Macclesfield shot stopper.

At the opposite end of the pitch captain Steve McNulty was experiencing a tough battle with tall opponent Nathan Blissett in what was brewing to be a feisty exchange between the pair.

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Steve McNulty had his hands full throughout the match (image: Tranmere Rovers)

However, after blowing a handful of chances, Rovers paid the price, on the stroke of half-time a low cross from Durrell found Whitaker who drew first blood from eight yards out to give the visitors a goal against the run of play.

The second-half signalled a second chance as the atmospheric levels in the stadium rose once again, as The Super Whites chased a game that could define their season.

A moment of magic from James Norwood looked like the wakeup call the home fans wished for as he beat two players before crossing to Cook who looped a header past Jalal on the 50-minute mark to level the scoring.

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Cook’s header provides a brief sense of hope for the home side (Image: Tranmere Rovers)

Despite the response, Tranmere’s new found hope quickly turned sour as Durrell struck from distance as his bobbling effort slipped under Davies into the net to give the visitors the lead once more.

The confidence of the home players was dented as The Visitor’s pulled ahead for the second time following some questionable defending, with The Silkmen searching for a third.

Disaster struck for Tranmere just moments later as a handball from Liam Ridehalgh gave Macclesfield a chance to put further daylight between them and Rovers.

Whitaker made no mistake and fired his penalty into the top right hand corner from 12-yards-out to establish a two goal cushion in the 60th minute.

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Durrell’s double sealed Rover’s fate (image: Macclesfield Town)

Tranmere looked a shadow of the team that had gone six games unbeaten, and the final nail in the coffin came when Durrell once more and struck from distance, finding the near post of Davies.

Rovers had no response and their creative outlet was stifled for much of the game with many of the players defeated prior to the final whistle, meanwhile Macclesfield displayed their champion mark to consistently look to punish the home side.

Micky Mellon made no substitutes throughout the game,with his men in white left exhausted following a torturous second half in what may characterise their season – for all the wrong reasons.

As the referee called full-time there was a sigh of relief from the home crowd as the torture was over, although as it stands, so is their dream of automatic promotion.

Man of the Match: Vote here!

Attendance: 7385 (429)

How they lined up:

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