Macclesfield 1-1 Cambridge: Sol Campbell's Silkmen complete great escape
Last Updated: 04/05/19 7:51pm
Despair turned to delight as Macclesfield dramatically escaped relegation from Sky Bet League Two with a crucial 1-1 draw with Cambridge at Moss Rose.
The Silkmen were on their way to the National League when they went behind to Paul Lewis' opener, and with relegation rivals Notts County leading at Swindon.
But Elliott Durrell equalised in the second half before the Magpies collapsed to guarantee Sol Campbell's side league football for next season.
Requiring only a point to ensure they stayed up, Macclesfield should have made sure of safety in the first half, only to spurn several clear-cut chances.
Ben Stephens was guilty of firing the best of those wide, while Harry Smith blazed over from Durrell's neat chip.
Cambridge then took the lead moments before half-time, with former Silkman Lewis' shot deflecting past Kieran O'Hara.
The nerves on show made for a game devoid of quality, and the jitters heightened immeasurably after Lewis scored.
Shortly after the restart, while players and stewards were removing glass that had been thrown from the stand into the Cambridge goalmouth, news filtered through that relegation rivals Notts County had taken the lead at Swindon.
With hope seemingly starting to evaporate, Town conjured the all-important equaliser when a ricochet fell kindly for Durrell to drill home.
Moments later it was confirmed that Notts County had conceded twice more to lose 3-1, leaving Campbell's side to see out the game and complete their great escape.
'We've had to climb mountains'
"At times we've had to climb mountains," said Macclesfield boss Sol Campbell following their survival. "It's been frustrating with the scenarios off the field but they have responded, they've dug in, they've always tried to play football, they've showed tenacity under pressure, a will to win and they've shown great character.
"Not many clubs around the world could have got out of that scenario. I'm proud of the lads and their achievement.
"It's brilliant we've not been relegated, which was on the cards for a hell of a long time. This is great getting through it, because everyone was losing their heads but sticking to the plan. There was a lot of pressure on me, too.
"I don't think anyone wanted to take on the job when I took over but I took it and put everything into it - my heart, my soul and my spirit. I have been committed to it, because that's what you have to do in football, but it's football, I love it and I love everything about it, it's my life."