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Match Reports

Full-time: Macclesfield Town 1, Robins 1

21 August 2018

Manny Duku's fine finish four minutes from time handed Cheltenham Town a share of the spoils at Moss Rose.

It was a vital result and it got the Robins finally up and running with their first point of the campaign, handing the travelling faithful an opening goal to celebrate after 356 minutes of league action without a breakthrough.
What's remarkable is that it came only 10 days after the Dutch striker had dislocated his shoulder at Tranmere Rovers.
Gary Johnson's side were also indebted to Scott Flinders, who produced a penalty save ten minutes earlier to keep his side in it and set up the dramatic finale which saw the home side denied a late winner with an offside call.
Danny Whitaker handed the Silkmen a deserved lead at the break with a well executed free-kick after only 19 minutes, and his side should really have extended their advantage by the half-way point.
But the Robins rallied after the interval and merited their late goal to prevent a fourth successive League Two defeat.
The club and Gary Johnson parted company shortly after the final whistle.
The manager made one change to the side that were beaten by Carlisle United at the weekend, replacing Kalvin Kalala with Liam McAlinden in his starting line-up.
Chris Hussey was involved for the first time since his arrival from Bury, taking his place on the bench alongside Manny Duku who was pronounced fit to play after the bad injury at Prenton Park.
There were as many as four ex Robins in former boss Mark Yates' side, who were unlucky to not have carried a bigger lead into the break after creating a string of chances in the opening 45 minutes.
Finders was forced into the first of a handful of impressive saves, the first as early as second minute to deny Harry Smith while Scott Wilson poked wide and Koby Arthur blasted well over before the home side claimed their goal.
Whitaker was brought down by Ryan Broom in a promising position 20 yards from goal and the veteran middfielder squeezed the subsequent free-kick between Scott Flinders and his left post to give the home side a deserved lead.
They almost added a second a moment later when Wilson latched onto a floated pass by Arthur before cutting inside Joshua Debayo and testing Flinders with a low effort.
Smith wasted a glorious chance to extend the lead on the half-hour, placing an effort a yard wide of the right post from the corner of the box.
It was a huge let off, and Flinders was called into action for a final time before the break to hold Smith's header before watching Wilson's volley travel wide on the stroke of half-time.
Chris Hussey (for Joshua Debayo) and Manny Duku (Forster) were pressed into action as Johnson chased the game in the second half and his team went on to enjoy their best spell of the contest with Jacob Maddox calling Kieran O'Hara into a routine save on the hour.
The substitutes combined three minutes later, Hussey crossing from the left but Duku headed a foot wide, while a moment later Addai almost caught out the Macclesfield number one with a wicked cross from the right which cannoned off the angle of the woodwork.
Kalvin Kalala was Johnson's final replacement, on for Nigel Atangana, but it was the home side who was gifted the chance to put the contest to bed with 14 minutes remaining, Will Boyle bringing down Nathan Blissett to concede a penalty.
But Flinders dived to his right to push it away, preserving the hope of the late leveller which arrived 10 minutes later.
Alex Addai made it, racing down the left before cutting one back into the path of Duku who produced a fine finish to beat Kieran O'Hara from 16 yards to claim a point for Johnson in what turned out to be his final game in charge.

MACCLESFIELD TOWN (4-3-3): O'Hara; Rose, Kelleher, Grimes, Pearson; Arthur (Napa), Whitaker; Blissett, Smith, Wilson (Welch-Hayes 66). Subs not used: Lowe, Marsh, Taylor, Evans, Maycock.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Flinders; Forster (Duku 59), Mullins (c), Boyle, Debayo (Hussey 54); Broom, Thomas, Atangana, Maddox; Addai, McAlinden. Subs not used: Tozer, Dawson, Lovett (Gk), Baldwin, Kalala.

REFEREE: P Marsden

ATTENDANCE: 1,496 (117 from Cheltenham)

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