Tranmere Rovers 1-4 Macclesfield Town: Silkmen humiliate Rovers on home soil 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 has 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 brilliantly 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 out of all doubt.

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The loss sees Rovers slip from second to sixth and now seven points off of first placed Macclesfield with the Playoff now seemingly their only route back into promotion in May.

With Prenton Park bouncing and flags adorning The Kop it looked unthinkable that Tranmere would lose such an important fixture that could define their season.


The Kop was in full swing prior to kick off with new flags on display

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

Cook had the best opportunity to pull Rovers a head as he fluffed his lines from 10 yards out to strike straight at the goalkeeper.

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 fiesty exchange between the two.

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Steve McNulty had his hands full throughout the match 

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

As the players returned for the second-half the atmospheric levels in the stadium rose once more as The Super Whites chased a game that could define their season.

A moment of magic from James Norwood looked like the wake up call all the fans had wished for as he skipped past two players before crossing to Cook who looped a header past Jalal on the 50 minute mark.

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Cook’s header provides a brief sense of hope for the home side

Despite the response, Tranmere’s new found hope quickly turned sour as Durrell unleashed a bobbling effort from distance that slpped 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 allowing The Silkmen to apply even more pressure.

Things went from bad to worse for Tranmere as a handball from Liam Ridehalgh offered a chance for Macclesfield to put further daylight between them and Rovers.

Whitaker fired into the top right hand corner from 12-yards-out on the 60th minute to establish a two goal cushion.

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

Tranmere were found wanting with their spirit diminished and the final nail in the coffin came when Durrell once more struck from distance finding the near post of Davies.

Rovers had no response and the ball in the final third was lacking at key times throughout the remaining 20 minutes while Macclesfield displayed their champion mark to continue pressing for more.

With Micky Mellon making no substitutes throughout the game, the men in white were exhausted after 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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