Cheshire Independent Issue 185

MARCH 2024 20 MACCLESFIELD RUFC hit the top of the Regional 1 North West after long- time leaders Rossendale suffered an unexpected defeat at Stockport. While the Blues powered to a vital 41-5 victory over struggling Leek at Priory Park, their Lancashire rivals went down 34-33 thanks to a penalty from the last kick of the game. The result puts Mac- clesfield’s fate in their own hands. After 18 games they are three points ahead of Rossendale with 84 points from 16 wins, one draw and one defeat. Macclesfield and Rossendale were only separated by points difference after they battled it out in a 26-26 draw in a nail-bit- ing contest in east Lancashire. It was a result that seemed to see the pro- motion pendulum swing towards Rossendale. But that changed with their unexpected second defeat of the season. Speaking after that game Macclesfield head coach Dar- ren Lamond said: “It was good for the league, the boys had trained well for it, and while they respected them, they were fear- less, which I think showed throughout. “Whilst it was a draw, emotionally they all felt it as a loss, as we had left quite a few points out there. The boys should be proud of their performance, and learn again from it.” Macclesfield will be with- out the highly-influential Brendan Berry for the rest of the season after he suffered knee damage in the game at Rossendale. Independent LOCAL SPORT Room at the top Bruce makes shock exit Macclesfield manager quits for EFL side MACCLESFIELD FC manager Alex Bruce has left the club to take up a coaching role with an EFL side. The Silkmen made the announcement of his shock departure in a brief state- ment which said: “Whilst being disappointed that Alex has decided to leave the club at this stage of the season, we wish him well in his future career. “A further statement will be communicated regarding our new coaching team in due course.” Bruce, 39, has taken up a role on the coaching staff of League Two side Salford City, managed by Karl Robinson. Bruce only arrived at the Stadium at the end of October, succeeding Mark Duffy in the hotseat. During his time as boss Macc won nine of his 15 league games in charge – drawing three and losing three. He departed with the club in the final play-off spot in the Northern Pre- mier League – and only two points behind second place Hyde United. His final game in charge at Macclesfield was a 5-3 home win against Ilkeston Town. Bruce, who has previous Football League coaching experience as part of the backroom staff at West Brom, also led the Silkmen to the to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy, where they will host Southern Central League side Coalville Town. That game will take place on Saturday March 9 with a bumper crowd expected. Macclesfield booked their place in the last eight with a 2-0 away win at National League South side Hampton and Richmond Borough. More than 400 Silkmen supporters made the jour- ney to South West London to mark another memorable day for the club, who are now just two games from a his- toric Wembley appearance. Speaking before his departure Bruce described it as “one of those really good days.” He added: “From the first minute to the very last we totally dominated the game.” And he told the club’s offi- cial website: “I said to the players why can’t you play like that every week because they’ve shown especially in the cup this season against teams in the league above what we are capable of. “It’s about doing in on a consistent basis and if we do, if we can achieve that, it could be a really good season for all involved.” Bruce also spoke of his con- fidence in the squad in both the Trophy and league cam- paigns. He said: “With the group that I’ve got, there’s no reason we can’t carry on going.” New arrivals strengthen squad MACCLESFIELD unveiled a string of new signings in February as they looked for a strongfinishtotheircampaign. Midfielder Sam Perry joined up with the Silkmen’s squad following his depar- ture from Southern League Premier Division South side Salisbury FC. The 22-year-old began his career in Aston Villa’s Academy signing his first professional contract before making amove to joinWalsall in 2019. The 6ft midfielder made over 30 appearances in League Two for The Saddlers before spending time on loan at Leamington FC and Yeovil Town. He also had a spell in the League of Ireland First DivisionWaterford FC. He has been joined at the Stadium by another midfielder. Bohan Dixon has arrived from Warrington Town for an undisclosed fee. The 34-year-old has been an ever present for the National League North side and has the 6ft 4in central defender has a wealth of experience at this level. Dixon started his profes- sional career at Connah’s Quay Nomads before eventu- ally going on to have a spell in the Football League with Accrington Stanley. He knows the Northern Premier League having had spells with Ashton UnitedandMarineplusspend- ing time at Salford City when theywere in thedivision. Macclesfield also agreed terms with pacey forward Adrien Thibaut. The 19-year- old left the Irish side Cobh Ramblers in November mak- ing a number of appearances in the Irish First Division. He can play in several posi- tions across the front line and adds crucial depth to the Silkmen forward options. Goalkeeper Tom Wooster has arrived on loan from Manchester United. The 18-year-old will be at Macclesfield until the end of the season as part of a loan scheme with the Premier League giants. Club faces FA action over fans’ behaviour Association and on the back of this, the FA have written to the club expressing their concerns and require us to give detailed observations before deciding the level of disciplinary action to be taken against us.” The statement added: “The club does not accept the behaviour of the supporters involved in this unacceptable behaviour and are adopting a ‘zero tolerance policy’ with anyone found to be identified and will hand out a mini- mum 12-month club ban with immediate effect.” The club said it was inves- tigating and liaising with the clubs involved, alongside police, and had obtained video and photographic evidence of a number of the incidents. It added it would be con- tacting the persons once iden- tified to invite them into the club to explain their actions. Its statement said: “The safety of players, match offi- cials and fellow supporters is paramount. We are reaching out to our fans to ask them to identify any supporter they see involved in any disorder. “If anyone has any infor- mation that can help us with our investigations which will be treated in the strictest confidence, please email the Safety Officer @ safety@mac- . “We must all work together in creating a safe and pleas- urable environment for both players and supporters to play and watch their team and the small minority involved in unacceptable behaviour must take a long hard look at themselves as they are damaging the rep- utation of the club that Rob and Robbie have worked so hard to develop and improve.” MACCLESFIELD FC has been warned it is facing FA disciplinary action after a number of inci- dents of unacceptable behaviour involving sup- porters at recent games. The club says there is a “strong possibility” of a fine, having restrictions placed on ticketing for both home and away fixtures and potentially a points deduc- tion which will damage its promotion push. In a statement to fans, the club said: “Over the past few weeks, it has been observed by the club that a small num- ber of our supporters, both at home and away fixtures, have been involved in inci- dents of foul and abusive language, throwing coins, sweets, smoke bombs and other objects on the field of play. “These issues have been reported by the match officials to the Football Trophy trail: Bruce has led Macclesfield to within two games of Wembley