Match Preview: Macclesfield (A)
Macclesfield v Colne F.C.
Leasing.com Stadium/Moss Rose
Saturday 28th January - 15:00
Colne travel 56 miles South to face Cheshire club and league leaders Macclesfield FC for a Northern Premier West league game.
Macclesfield FC, nicknamed the Silkmen, play their homes games at the Leasing.com Stadium, historically known as Moss Rose, which has a capacity of 5,911. Their average home attendance this season is 3,483. Macclesfield FC are the phoenix club of Macclesfield Town, who were wound up in 2020. Macclesfield FC’s first season - 21/22 - was at step 5 in the North West Counties Premier division, which they won, amassing 94 points and gaining promotion to the NPL West. The two clubs have met just once before, back at the beginning of December, when a 20 yard screamer from Enock Lusiama gave the Reds a first half lead, before substitute Ibrahim Bakare equalised on the hour mark at Holt House to give both sides a point each.
This season, the Silkmen have won 18, drawn 2 and lost 4, giving them 56 points from 24 games, which sees them sit at the top of the division. At home they have won against Clitheroe 3-0, Widnes 5-0, Kidsgrove Athletic 5-0, Newcastle Town 3-0, Workington 4-1, Skelmersdale United 1-0, Mossley 4-3, Ramsbottom United 4-0, Hanley Town 4–0 and Leek Town 4-0. They have lost at home to Bootle 1-2 and 1874 Northwich 0-1. The Silkmen had a decent FA Cup run reaching the 2nd qualifying round losing 0-1 at Coalville Town. They had previously knocked out Wythenshawe Town 2-0, Mossley 4-2 and West Didsbury & Chorlton 1-0, all away from home. In the FA Trophy they reached the 1st round proper, beating Tadcaster Albion 7-0, Widnes 5-1, and Bamber Bridge 6-1 before losing 0-1 to Guiseley, all at home.
Macclesfield players to watch - 21 year old winger/forward James Berry began his youth career at Liverpool. He then had spells at Wigan Athletic and Hull City before joining Altrincham. He was loaned to Macclesfield last season and he scored 22 times before joining permanently in March. This season he has already weighed in with 25 goals in league and cup. James is the current leader for leading goal scorer in the NPL West with 18.
24 year old attacking midfielder Alex Curran, is well known at Holt House and is one of the best players to pass through Colne FC. Alex joined the Reds after being released from Blackburn Rovers in 2017, and he scored 43 goals in 87 games in his 2 year spell at the club. He then moved to progressive National League side Stockport County and was loaned out to FC United, where he unfortunately broke his leg. A further loan to Curzon Ashton was made permanent and he scored 13 goals in 44 games for the National League North side, before moving to Macclesfield this summer. Curran has scored 13 times this season in 28 appearances in all competitions.
Another summer signing Neil Kengni, netted 18 times last season as he helped Marine gain promotion to the NPL Premier league. The pacy 22 year old striker was identified as Macclesfield’s top summer target and he’s scored 11 times already this term.
Striker Nicky Maynard started as a youth at Arsenal before joining Crewe Alexandra’s academy. His goals earned him a move to Championship side Bristol City, then West Ham United, and he represented Cardiff City in the Premier league. Nicky then dropped down the EFL and Scottish leagues with various clubs before joining Maccs this August, where he has scored 16 goals in all competitions.
6 foot 3 midfielder/defender and skipper Laurent Mendy learned his trade in Sweden with IFK Amal before making the move to Macclesfield. Laurent played 44 times for the Silkmen last season and is an ever present this campaign.
Midfielder Luke Murphy, began his career with Crewe Alexandra and was there for 5 years before a £1 million plus transfer fee took him to Championship side Leeds United, where he made over 100 appearances. After a loan spell with Burton Albion, from 2018-2020 Luke played for Bolton Wanderers, before returning to Crewe for the last 2 seasons becoming club captain. In August of this year, he signed for the Silkmen, returning to the town in which he was born.
Guyana international midfielder Neil Danns has just turned 40, and he has over 500 appearances in the Premier league and the EFL. His career began in the top flight with Blackburn Rovers 20 years ago, and he has also played in the Championship with Birmingham City, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers. Neil then dropped down the leagues and signed for the Silkmen at the beginning of last season, scoring 22 times to help them win the title and being awarded player’s player and supporters player of the season. Neil has now stepped up to become player-manager.
22 year old right wing back Lewis Fensome joined the Silkmen 12 months ago after making over 100 appearances for Lancaster City in the NPL Premier division. Lewis came through the academy at Preston North End and has featured 29 times this season.
Former Liverpool Academy striker/winger Kane Drummond, was Warrington Rylands’ first ever contracted player. The 21 year old was part of the Blues’ successful FA Vase winning side and scored 18 goals in last season’s title winning team, earning him the NPL West’s player of the season. Kane dropped down a division to join Macclesfield in November and he is fighting to force his way into the first 11 after being sent off on his debut away at Runcorn Linnets. Kane was also shown a straight red at Holt House in October when playing for Warrington Rylands.
Powerful striker, Tom Clare is 6 foot 5 and he was last season’s leading scorer with 23 goals after joining from Pontefract Collieries. Tom was a Barnsley youth, before signing for Bradford City. He has since played for Boston, Bradford PA and Buxton and is still only 23. Tom won’t feature for the immediate future after being loaned out to Love Island!
After the loss at home to Guiseley in the FA Trophy, Danny Whitaker was relieved of his first team duties as manager. His replacement was former Warrington Rylands boss David McNabb. McNabb led Rylands to 3 promotions and also lifted the FA Vase in his 4 years in charge. McNabb lasted two months before tendering his resignation. Neil Danns stepped up as interim player-manager, a position which has been made permanent until the end of the season.
Last time out for the Reds - Colne travelled to in-form, 5th placed Mossley, looking for their first win of 2023, after registering two draws so far this year. The Reds started with a 352 formation with Tom Fagan recalled to the side, replacing Glenn Steel (work commitments), and new loan signing Alex Henderson coming in for Lucas Weaver who dropped to the bench. Winstanley, Hoyle and Dugdale manned the defence with McCann sitting behind Henderson and Carney in central midfield and Roberts and Fagan on the flanks. Not much to report from the first half other than Enock Lusiama producing a sublime turn to beat the defence, but slamming his effort over the bar and the same striker saw a left foot thunderbolt turned away by Watson in the Mossley goal.
Mossley’s danger man Mason Fawns had a tame effort easily saved and he was feeding on scraps for the first 45. Into the second half and after an even start, on 62 minutes, an Owen Watkinson cross found Oli Roberts in space down the left. Oli pulled the ball down and inside with his left foot and arrowed a right foot strike into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance, and putting in a claim for goal of the season. Enock Lusiama then raced through on goal but pulled his effort wide with the keeper beaten. Mossley then woke up and introduced Sean Etaluku to their attacking force. They pressed the Colne goal which saw left back Freddie Sass clip an effort onto the bar and Jack Banister thump a left foot effort onto the upright. Their pressure told and with 15 minutes remaining, a left-field cross eventually found the now central Fawns and he managed to stab home the equaliser through a crowded Colne box. The home side went looking for a winner, and after a series of corners Oli Roberts headed a certain Shane Killock goal off the line, much to the Reds’ relief. Late on Lusiama and Fagan were replaced by Kyobe and Weaver as Colne defended deeper. McCann dropped back to right back and Roberts to left back, as a 541 formation successfully helped the Reds defend their well earned point. Craig Carney was influential in both halves of the pitch, but Oli Roberts’ wonder strike and his defending positioning earned him the man of the match. Colne’s point moved them up to 14th spot with 24 points from 21 games.
Colne’s fixture last Saturday at home to Glossop North End was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Matty Kardacz is recovering from a grade 1 MCL knee tear, but will be back in training on Tuesday.
Hakan Burton continues his rehabilitation, which could see him return in around 4 weeks. The Colne keeper is now back in full training.
Aaron Turner is awaiting surgery for his knee/MCL issue.
Jack Doherty has now had surgery on his ACL injury and will begin his rehabilitation when ready under the watchful eye of Accrington Stanley. This injury has ruled him out for the season.
Team news - Glenn Steel is back and he’ll likely join Winstanley and Hoyle in defence, with Dugdale and Fagan on the flanks.
Alex Henderson joined the Reds from Accrington Stanley two weeks ago and debuted in Colne’s last game a week last Saturday at Mossley. The 18 year old is a central midfielder, who has signed for Colne on a work experience loan for an initial month. Alex will be in the mix for a centre of midfield role along with Carney, Roberts and McCann. Lusiama and Watkinson are expected to lead the line. Other than the injuries mentioned, Phil Brown should have a squad of 18 to choose from.
Macclesfield have won 7 of their last 9 games and drawn twice. One of those victories was a 3-1 win over NPL Premier league leaders (step 3) Hyde United in the Cheshire Cup. Four of those other games were at home in the league and they have scored 4 times on each occasion. A week last Saturday the Silkmen won 3-0 at Kidsgrove Athletic thanks to goals from Maynard(2) and Berry. On Tuesday evening they were held to a 1-1 draw at Clitheroe with Alex Curran coming off the bench to score their equaliser. In their last home game, Macclesfield triumphed in the top of the table clash with 2nd placed Leek Town, running out 4-0 winners with a goal from James Hardy and a third hat-trick of the season from James Berry. They have scored a massive 62 goals already this season, conceding just 15 times.
Colne’s steady rise up the table is due to just one loss in their last 13 league games. A stunning Oli Roberts goal gained the Reds a very creditable 1-1 draw in their last game away at 5th placed Mossley a fortnight ago. Although they’ve only won twice on the road this season in the league (1-0 at Glossop North End and Newcastle Town) they’ve also only lost twice (0-1 at 2nd placed Leek Town and 0-2 at 4th placed Runcorn Linnets. The Reds are also unbeaten in 6, 5 of which were drawn.
Obviously it’s a formidable task for the Reds and this will be their hardest test of the season. However, Macc are not unbeatable and Colne have prevailed at NPL Premier leaders Hyde United (step 3)3-2 in the FA Trophy already this season, and performed creditably losing 1-2 at top of the National League North side AFC Fylde (step 2). The Silkmen are very experienced in the middle of the park, with ex EFL stars Neil Danns and Luke Murphy controlling the play, however it is out wide where they come into their own and are at their most creative. Whether it is Brandon Lee or arguably the best player in the league James Berry, attacking and providing from the left or Neil Kengni or Kane Drummond causing mayhem from the right, the Reds will have to be fully switched on in the wing back roles if they hope to limit those obvious threats. Former Red Alex Curran, came off the bench on Tuesday night at Clitheroe and changed the game with his penetrative runs in behind and cool head in the last third, supporting the prolific Nicky Maynard up front. Macclesfield are a side who perform extremely well on their 4g turf and are a team who excel on confidence, especially if they score first. Phil Brown will be hoping that Enock Lusiama, Owen Watkinson or Craig Carney can grab that first strike, quieten the 4,000 plus home crowd and knock the full-timers out of their stride…….then it’s up for grabs!
Admission Prices are:
Adults : £12
Concessions : £9
Student : £7
Under 18’s : £5
Under 12’s: £2
The Leasing.com Stadium
Tues 31st January - Kidsgrove Athletic v Colne - 19:45 NPL West
Sat 4th February - Colne v Runcorn Linnets - 15:00 NPL West
Tues 7th February - City of Liverpool v Colne - 19:45 NPL West
Today’s NPL West games - 15:00
1874 Northwich v Bootle
City of Liverpool v Ramsbottom United
Clitheroe v Witton Albion
Glossop North End v Widnes
Kidsgrove Athletic v Skelmersdale United
Mossley v Hanley Town
Prescot Cables v Trafford
Runcorn Linnets v Leek Town
Workington v Newcastle Town