MACCLESFIELD TOWN could create a piece of history as they make the short trip to the Wirral on Saturday.
The Silkmen haven’t played at Wembley since beating Northwich Victoria in 1996 to win the FA Trophy for the 2nd time having been the competition’s inaugural winners in 1970. Now Macc are a game away from returning to the national stadium as they visit National League rivals Tranmere in the Trophy semi-finals.
The two sides drew 1-1 at the Moss Rose in last Saturday’s 1st leg so the tie is still very much on a knife edge. The winners will face either York City or this season’s FA Cup heroes Lincoln City in the final on May 21.
Tranmere took an early lead last Saturday following a dubious penalty decision and Ollie Norburn’s 2nd-half equaliser was the least Macc deserved.
The Silkmen drew 1-1 again on Tuesday night, at home to 5th-placed Gateshead, but now they are focused on upsetting a Tranmere side which is 4th in the league.
Assistant manager Steve Watson said: “We’ve got a huge game on Saturday now. We weren’t thinking about it until after the game against Gateshead, where there were a few positives.
“I thought we played well in the first leg, despite them being given a goal in the first 2 minutes! We were quiet happy with the performance. We felt from our point of view that we had nearly won the game because of the first 2 minutes, so we will be going there full of confidence because it’s cup football and it’s all about a one-off game. There’s nothing to fear.”
Macc were handed a boost in midweek as Jack Mackreth returned to their midfield. League One Bury bought the winger in January but have now let him rejoin the Silkmen on loan for the rest of the season.
The 24-year-old helped Macc again come from behind for a 1-1 draw against Gateshead, with John McCombe’s late header keping them 9th in the National League, 8 points off the Heed in the final play-off place.
Luke Summerfield remained in the starting line-up after joining on loan from Grimsby. The 29-year-old scored two superb long-range strikes in the quarter-final at Dulwich Hamlet (which you can see above – both inside the first 3 minutes of the YouTube clip). Macc still needed a replay to get past the Londonders and could do with another moment of magic from the former York and Plymouth man at Prenton Park tomorrow.
He said: “It’s only half-time and we go again. We’re going to go there and try to win the game like we tried in the first leg and hopefully we’ll get to Wembley.
“Tranmere are a good team, they’ve got great strength in depth and a good squad. We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves now and show how good we are, which I think we did well in the first leg.”
Tickets are still available at the Moss Rose until 4pm today (Friday) or at Prenton Park on the day. They cost: £10 adults, £5 concessions (65+, 18-22 and disabled supporters), £1 U18.