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REPORT: Macclesfield 2-2 Stevenage

23 March 2019

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Stevenage were stung by an added time equaliser at Moss Rose as Danny Whitaker came off the bench to rescue a point for relegation-threatened Macclesfield Town...

Having gone behind after a poor opening half, goals from Ben Nugent and the returning Danny Newton either side of the break thrust Stevenage into the ascendency as they dominated the second half until Whitaker's late, late goal.

Dino Maamria named two changes to the side that picked up a point at Milton Keynes last weekend, restoring Joel Byrom and Moses Makasi to the starting XI in-place of Arthur Iontton and Mark McKee.

The opening third of the game was dominated by a lack of quality as both teams struggled to create. Moses Makasi stroked a shot wide from 20 yards and aside from an Elliot Durrell header that never looked like troubling the Macclesfield goal, that was about as good as it got during the first 30 minutes.

The action began to pick up immediately after, as Stevenage twice rode their luck to keep the score at 0-0. Macclesfield guilty on two occasions of over-playing when faced with an opportunity to shoot, with Paul Farman and his scrambling Stevenage defenders working miracles to get back into position and clear any lingering danger.

Boro were below-par in the first half though and were finally made to pay on the 42nd minute as livewire Elliot Durrell broke past Stevenage’s defensive line once again to go through on goal before slotting past Farman. It was exactly what the home team deserved having found themselves in a number of clear goalscoring opportunities inside the first half. Acutely aware about the situation facing them, Stevenage hit back immediately with a towering Ben Nugent header from Joel Byrom’s free-kick to level things up just before the break.

Danny Newton made his highly anticipated return to the team at half-time, replacing Kurtis Guthrie but it was Macclesfield exerting the early pressure. Farman was continuing his rich vein of form, beating away a fearsome shot from a narrow angle after Cuthbert did brilliantly well to head clear inside a congested six-yard box.

The momentum quickly switched though as Danny Newton marked his return with a goal. After receiving the knock-down from Revell, Newton backed into his marker before finding the space to shoot, firing past O’Hara to complete the turnaround and make it 1-2.

Moses Makasi could have increased the advantage minutes later, after receiving a clever lofted pass from Revell that put him through on-goal and behind the defence, O’Hara though able to make the stop and keep Macclesfield in the game.

Luke Wilkinson soon replaced Makasi, giving Stevenage some extra defensive cover with three centre-backs on the pitch to see out the game. Macclesfield came on strong but struggled to breach the Boro back-line with any real confidence. Ben Stephens saw a dipping half-volley fly over Farman’s goal on 75 minutes but that was about as close as the home side came to pegging Stevenage back.

Ilias Chair forced a fine save from O’Hara after winning and taking his own free-kick with less than 10 minutes to go and it looked as though Stevenage had managed the second half perfectly as Macclesfield appeared suffocated, unable to create a chance on goal.

Then, with two minutes of added time played, club legend and substitute Danny Whitaker's turn and shot inside a crowded penalty area somehow found the bottom corner, sending the home bench and supporters wild.

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