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Town Return to Top After Home Win
By: Gareth Edwards
A convincing 3-1 victory over Macclesfield saw the Mariners regain top spot and record their first home win since September. It was well deserved for Town who dominated the game at times and home fans were pleased to see a change of tack from Russell Sladeâ€™s side.
The Mariners adopted a more patient neat passing game rather than the direct approach favoured of late. It was perhaps this style which had produced such low gates at Blundell Park recently but the 3600 who turned up were well rewarded for doing so.
Town were forced to make two changes with Rob Jones out injured and Jean Paul Kalala away on international duty with the Congo, Simon Ramsden and Ciaran Toner being their replacements. Town also made a more subtle tactical change, with Gary Jones seemingly playing a more advanced role, as an out-and-out striker rather than in the hole.
Brian Hortonâ€™s Macclesfield chose to start with a 4-5-1 formation, with former Town target Clyde Wijnhard playing as the lone striker. Former Mariner Alan Fettis played between the sticks for the Cheshire side and big striker Jon Parkin only made the bench after returning form an injury lay off.
Town had the better of the early stages, with the Town defence marshalling the lone striker and the midfield battling ably. Their first real chance came when Reddy broke on the left and his cross almost met by Cohenâ€™s head at then near post. Gary Jones looked a great deal more comfortable in the front two and went close to opening the scoring but his shot angled wide across goal. Michael Reddy continued Townâ€™s attacking display and was able to round Alan Fettis on the edge of the box, but the experienced keeper prevented him from finding support by making a smart recovering block.
This early pressure forced Macclesfield into a change with Jon Parkin replacing full back Mark Bailey, Brian Horton deciding attack is the best form of defence. The change to a 4-4-2 did open up the midfield slightly and Toner was able to play a bigger part as a result, with more time being allowed on the ball. Gary Jones then had a guilt edged chance to open the scoring but from just yards out his half volley was blocked fortunately by the keeper. Town were able to keep this spell of pressure going but it didnâ€™t seem like it would fall for Sladeâ€™s men in and around the box.
A neat passing move however put this worry behind them and allowed Gary Jones to put Town ahead with a thumping header past Fettis at the far post. Neat build up play from Parkinson gave Toner space on the right and he picked out the big striker with a pinpoint cross, met by an equally good header. This triumph then turned to elation within a minute, Jon Parkin showing how he scored 26-goals in all competitions last season by capitalising on some poor defending to beat Mildenhall from 25-yards and equalise for the Silkmen just before half time.
Half Time: Town 1 Macclesfield 1
The report continues in the Second Half.
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