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The Non-League Football Paper

The NLP says… Macclesfield proved me so wrong

By Alex Narey – Editor

It is crazy how quickly the tide can turn in football. For all the preparation in pre-season and the graft that goes into a campaign, you turn your back on this game for two minutes and everything changes.

And so it was on a wet and dreary Easter weekend, a Good Friday riddled with more miserable weather.

Macclesfield, sitting top of the National League table with a slender three-point advantage, were being held 2-2 by a gutsy Woking side before a bizarre goal in the 94th minute – visit The NLP’s Twitter feed to see it for yourself – sent John Askey’s men six points clear.

Macc’s winner on that day at Kingfield Stadium carried even greater significance because just 20 miles up the way at Maidenhead, second-placed Sutton walked away from York Road pointless; the game abandoned at half-time with the U’s leading 3-2.

Some would say that fixture shouldn’t have even gone ahead but while Paul Doswell’s side were undoubtedly undone by the heavens, Macclesfield seized control. From that moment, they never looked back and are worthy champions of the National League.

Cards on the table here: until that day, I never backed them. I’d seen them play twice this season and while impressed, I could see a charge coming from elsewhere and I also doubted a side that had been turned over 6-1 – as they had been at AFC Fylde back in January. But as Tranmere mounted an attack, Macclesfield put their foot down and pulled away with nonchalant ease.

I can’t tell you the exact size of Macclesfield’s budget but I can tell you it is on the smaller scale within the National League’s paying pool.

Askey has created a united squad; a mix of grit and grace, topped off with the sublime skill of a 37-year-old playmaker in Danny Whitaker. It’s a great story!

Meanwhile, we extend our congratulations to Salford who, despite suffering defeat yesterday against Boston, sealed the title in National North.

Altrincham, too, clinched their championship in the Northern Premier League. If you’re looking for a party over the next few days, you should probably head to the northwest…

 

*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper which is available every Sunday and Monday

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