December 28, 2014
Bristol Rovers 4. v. 0. Macclesfield Town
(This article is adapted from the Macclesfield Express with many thanks.)
Down to their bare bones, Macclesfield suffered a second straight defeat to fellow play-off contenders, this time at Bristol Rovers.
Boss John Askey could name just three substitutes in his squad and their second match in three days proved an outing too far.
With clear-cut chances few and far between, it seemed as though the first half would end scoreless, but a minute before the break, Rovers took the lead.
Jake Gosling’s shot was deflected onto the near post and behind by Alex Grant, and when Gosling lofted the resulting corner into the box, Andy Monkhouse headed home his sixth of the season.
Macc had more than held their own in the opening period and could have felt aggrieved to have conceded. They almost got back on terms before the whistle blew but Matthew Barnes-Homer saw his header saved by Rovers keeper Will Puddy.
The Silkmen had looked solid enough at the back with Alex Grant and George Pilkington coping amicably with any threat posed. At the other end Barnes-Homer had nodded a cross from Chris Holroyd the wrong side of the upright and Andy Halls (above), switched into central midfield in the absence of captain Paul Turnbull, couldn’t hammer home after Puddy’s clearance fell kindly for him.
The Gas nearly doubled the lead moments after the restart but Rhys Taylor pulled out a sharp save to deny his namesake, Rovers striker Matty, who’d latched onto Lee Mansell’s measured ball in.
But the killer goal came 25 minutes from the end. This time Monkhouse was the provider, and Nathan Blissett turned in his low cross from inside the six-yard box.
Pirates sub Ollie Clarke nearly produced a third with a vicious shot that whistled past the post but they did add insult to injury when Mansell once again found Taylor in the box for number three.
A miserable afternoon for Macc was completed seven minutes from time when Stuart Sinclair was brought down by left-back Scott Barrow. There was clear contact and although the ball had run out of play, referee Robert Whitton offered Ellis Harrison the chance to hit a fourth from the penalty spot, which he accepted gratefully.