Peter Tonge tells the full story of Northwich Victoria’s 4-3 defeat to Macclesfield in front of a bumper crowd of nearly 1,000 at Wincham Park…

A MATCH where Vics outplayed Macclesfield for long periods, but clinical finishing proved the difference in the end.

Vics were on the front foot from the start, earning a corner in the first minute which came to nothing.

Macclesfield's Tom Clare was then booked for a late tackle on Allen as Vics continued to press.

In the fifth minute, Carl Grimshaw got in from the right and flashed a shot/cross across the box but no one was there to divert the ball home.

Then Matty Birchall was played in by Ash Dunn, he cut inside and laid the ball off to Adam Owen but his shot was high over the bar.

Macclesfield's first chance wasn't until the 11th minute as Bardsley-Rowe's low cross from the right reached Neil Danns, but his shot was comfortably saved by Chris Cheetham.

Vics had a great chance to take the lead in the 22nd minute as Owen’s cross was missed by the keeper and the ball fell to Luke Sephton, but he scuffed his shot wide of the net.

Both teams then had long distance efforts – Mendy for Macclesfield and a swirling shot from Birchall for Vics – as both teams pressed for the opener.

This finally came in the 38th minute as the Silkmen broke quickly through Clare who fed Berry-McNally, who fired a shot in which Cheetham did well to parry, but the ball looped up for Danns to head the ball back into the net.

However, Vics responded well and were back on level terms within two minutes.

Sephton did brilliantly down the right to get to the byline and lay the ball across to Dunn, who calmly stroked it past Ashton in the Macclesfield net.

As in the first half, Vics came out of the traps firing on all cylinders and within a minute, they were ahead as Birchall fired a tremendous shot into the top corner from outside the area.

Vics were dominant now and could have been out of sight with a bit of luck and a better final ball.

First, Sephton found Joe Camozzi steaming down the right but his low cross was too close to Ashton as Vics players were well placed.

Next, it was Dunn's turn to break up play and lay the ball down the channel for substitute Chad Whyte, but he was forced wide and couldn't quite find the cross for the waiting Birchall.

Vics then had three good chances between the 70th and 77th minute to extend their lead.

Birchall volleyed inches wide after great work by the impressive Owen, then it was Sephton's turn to fire just wide before Sephton again beat his man and crossed for Owen to volley over the top from the middle of the box.

Vics were made to pay for their missed chances as Macclesfield levelled out of nothing when Danns struck a beauty into the corner of the net from distance.

Vics were further rocked three minutes later as Danns completed his hat-trick with a clinical finish after a quick break.

Vics pressed for an equaliser but then fell further behind in the second minute of injury time as Berry-McNally got a fourth for the Silkmen.

There was still time for Dunn to scramble home a goal for Vics after Ashton had spilled a cross into his path, but there was too little time left for Vics to grab the equaliser they thoroughly deserved.