The Gulls ground out a point at home to National League play-off contenders at Plainmoor in a match that lacked a little quality, but was full of heart.
Midfielder Kingsley James opened the scoring after United failed to deal with pressure inside their own box. Defender Sean McGinty equalized for the Gulls with another powerfully headed goal to add to the other one he scored against Forest Green Rovers earlier in the season.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson made two changes to the side that went down 1-0 to Bromley seven days earlier. Damon Lathrope and Myles Anderson came into the side with Aman Verma and Giancarlo Gallifuoco making way. New signing Ruairi Keating made the bench after international clearance was received for the forward to play.
The Gaffer opted for an extra body in midfield as Lathrope, Richards, and Young combined. That left striker Brett Williams up front with Dan Sparkes on the left of midfield starting the last match of his loan spell with the club.
It was a nervous start for both teams. Neither side really showed what they could do over the ninety minutes, nor were the early signs promising. Misplaced passes and awkward clearances littered the opening ten minutes.
In the 11th minute Macclesfield Town’s goalkeeper Scott Flinders dropped his clearance short and Luke Young tried to beat him with shot from just outside the centre circle. Flinders wasn’t too far away from his line and although worried momentarily, he recovered sufficiently to claim the ball.
In the 14th minute Macclesfield left-back Mitchell Hancox nearly bundled his way through united defence. He was stopped at the last moment and United were able to clear.
Macclesfield Town defender was penalised for a bizarre handball in the 18th minute. The ex-Grecian raised his hands high to push the ball away. The resulting free-kick created some drama when Dan Sparke’s head-height ball into the box was directed towards Flinders by his own player, Connor Jennings.
Damon Lathrope’s return to 1st team duty was highlighted in the 20th minute when he executed a perfect recovery tackle to cleanly take the ball away from Jennings.
Brendan Moore was penalised for delaying a kick from his hands. Jennings loomed menacingly just outside Moore’s penalty box and the referee lost patience with Moore and awarded an indirect free-kick.
The Silkmen nearly took the lead in the 28th minute when he met a knee-height ball into the box and flicked the ball just wide of the near post.
The battle of the match was on United’s right wing. Torquay United’s David Fitzpatrick took on and beat Macclesfield’s David Fitzpatrick. It must have been a commentator’s nightmare when the ball reached either player. The ball only just missed the run of Dan Sparkes who was coming in at the far post.
Macclesfield took the lead and too advantage of chaos inside United’s penalty box. It fell to midfielder Kingsley James to fire a low shot at close-range to open the scoring.
Macclesfield had the first chance of the second half. New signing Luke Summerfield headed wide from an acute angle in the opening minutes. It would have had to have been a fantastic effort to beat Moore but he would have been disappointed not to have gotten it on target.
Luke Young then stung the hands of Flinders with a shot from just outside the box. The ball swerved a little but was straight at Flinders and allowed him to tip it over the bar.
Defender Sean McGinty claimed another goal of his campaign in the 50th minute. McGinty powered a downward header from a corner that was too much for Flinders. To say he was happy with his goal would be an understatement!
Fellow central defender Myles Anderson made an impressive debut for the Gulls. His composure and intelligent use of the ball displayed the exact qualities that player-manager Kevin Nicholson said he was looking for from the defender.
United were to lose one of their more influential players in the 60th minute when midfielder Luke Young went down off the ball. It was as a result of a challenge in the first half and after his recent time out injured, the Yellow Army feared the worst. It turns out that Young was substituted as a precaution over tightness in his groin, and he will be assessed over the next couple of days.
David Fitzpatrick, aiming to cap his last appearance for United with a goal, took aim and fired an effort towards Flinders’s near post in the 77th minute. The ‘keeper was equal to the effort and pushed the ball wide.
Sean McGinty claimed the Man of the Match award and player-manager Kevin Nicholson will have been pleased with the reaction his team showed to come back into the game in the second half.
United head to Barrow on the 18th of February and then return to Plainmoor on the 25th to take on Sutton United.