TORQUAY United returned to the FA Trophy trail with a third round clash with Macclesfield Town at a chilly Launa Windows Stadium.
Recent signings, Danny Racchi and Ifeanyi Allen, were handed their United debuts whilst loanee, Josh Rees, made his first home appearance.
The opening exchanges saw United force an early corner following good pressure from Andre Wright but it was the visitors who started to get a foot-hold in the game without seriously testing Dan Lavercombe.
A neat save from Lavercombe denied Styche after Rees and Allen had linked up well for United at the other end moments earlier.
A foul on Durrell Berry by Sampson gave United a free-kick which was delivered invitingly into the area by Dan Butler to cause concern for the visitors’ defence, but they managed to scramble clear.
With 32 minutes on the clock, United took the lead as some neat play ended with Rees seeing his strike find its way beyond the ‘keeper for a goal on his home debut.
There was a chance shortly afterwards for The Silkmen as Dennis saw his low angled strike deflected just wide and away from Sampson in front of goal.
After Lavercombe had done well to push out a Dennis free-kick, at the other end, Rees did well to get in behind the visitors’ defence only to see his strike well saved by Jalal.
An excellent ball from Courtney Richards found Butler whose cross was almost seized upon by Andre Wright by Jalal was brave to deny him.
There was a yellow card for Lavercombe on the stroke of half-time for time-wasting.
It was an end-to-end closing to the opening period as we went in at the break one goal to the good.
A slow start to the second period saw Macclesfield equalise on 50 minutes when Halls did well to find Sampson at the far post and he had the simple task of guiding the ball home from close range.
There was pressure for United as we faced a corner with Nathan Smith off the field with a cut to his nose. The first corner was cleared for another which this time saw Kevin Nicholson clear off the line.
The action soon went down the other end of the field where a cross-come-shot from Dan Butler found its way over the ‘keeper and into the net to make it 2-1.
It was a rather fortunate goal for United, but then the visitors claimed one of their own on the hour as a mis-hit strike from Turnbull hit Byrne and this deflected the ball beyond Lavercombe and into the net to level matters.
There was a great save from Lavercombe to deny Dennis as he got a good hand to his powerful low strike.
It was the visitors who were starting to up the pressure at this stage as looked to get their noses in front.
An excellent ball in from the left by Racchi just evaded Wright in the middle as the ‘keeper was able to claim the ball.
The visitors took the lead for the first time on the night in the 78th minute when United lost the ball in the midfield and a strike was deflected a couple of times into the path of Dennis who made no mistake.
The lead lasted less than five minutes before Allen cut inside before curling a sweet strike into the back of the net for a goal on his United debut.
With our tails between our legs, Rees, Allen and Wright applied the pressure as The Silkmen defended desperately to clear their lines as the clock ticked down.
In stoppage time, Will Hancox replaced Allen as the game ended in a 3-3 draw in front of 838 spectators.
The replay will take place at Moss Rose on Tuesday, February 16th, meaning that our scheduled home League game against FC Halifax Town will have to be rearranged.