McAuley gives Imps the edge
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lincoln picked up a 1-0 win against Macclesfield in the League Two play-off.A single goal from Gareth McAuley gave Lincoln a slender lead in he League Two play-off semi-final first leg against Macclesfield.
McAuley's early header proved the difference between the two sides in a gritty encounter at Sincil Bank - although Matthew Tipton did hit the bar for Macclesfield as they conjured the lion's share of the chances.
A scrappy first half had seen Lincoln take the lead, but Macclesfield waste chances to get back in the tie.
Imps keeper Alan Marriot had to be alert to stop Ben Futcher putting through his own net, before the hosts took the lead from a set-piece.
Shocking marking allowed McAuley a free header from eight-yards, and he steered home with ease to open the scoring.
Danny Swailes made amends for losing his man on that occasion with a fine tackle to prevent Gary Taylor-Fletcher a shooting chance, before Macclesfield came the width of the bar from levelling.
Matthew Tipton did superbly to cut inside from the right flank before lofting the ball over Marriot but onto the underside of the crossbar - with Kevin McIntyre unable to turn in the rebound from a tight angle.
Simon Yeo's fierce early effort early in the second half smashed Tony Barras in the face, as the hosts decided that hanging onto a single goal may not be the best strategy.
Yeo's cross come shot had goalkeeper Alan Fettis scrambling across his goal but drifted wide and the experienced custodian had to be at his best to save from Derek Asamoah.
The game had never opened up into a flowing affair, and as play compressed the offside flag became more and more influential in breaking up an already staccato affair.
Lincoln will be delighted to be going back to Macclesfield for the return with a lead - but the eventual victor is far from clear after this display.