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Silkmen book place in Wembley final

sport-maccFor a season that appeared to be petering out for the Silkmen, a moment of magic has transformed the landscape sending Macclesfield Town to Wembley for the first time since 1996.

Former Plymouth Argyle midfielder Ollie Norburn was the hero as the team secured a place in the FA Trophy final beating Tranmere Rovers 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals to set up a meeting with York City at the home of English football in May.

The first leg at Macclesfield’s Moss Rose ended in a tense 1-1 draw, with Norburn getting an equaliser for the Silkmen.

The second match at Prenton Park was watched by an attendance of 6,100 and the only goal of the game was scored in the second half by Norburn.

The 24-year-old skipped past former Luton Town defender Steve McNulty to bring down a long ball and his shot thundered in at the far post.

The result has transformed the Moss Rose. From a position of seeing a play-off place gradually slip out of reach the team has now a crucial target; to bag a trophy they have won twice before.

Askey’s men have overcome tough opposition in the road to the final, most notably Forest Green as well as the quarter final replay victory against Dulwich Hamlet.

And it brings with it the opportunity of a big financial boost for the club. Although the winner receives the relatively small sum of £50,000 from the FA, ticket sales, television money and the sale of merchandise could bump that to around £200,000. More importantly, it offers the Silkmen’s long suffering fans the chance of a day out to the new Wembley stadium and the prospects of the town finally getting behind their local team.

The last time there was such excitement around the team was in 2007 when they were drawn against Chelsea in the FA Cup. At that time, the club, with an average attendance stubbornly under 2,000, managed to magic over almost 6,000 ticket sales. The hope is that as many as 10,000 will make the trek down south to support the team.

And as the club urge the town to come out in support – a few years ago it was in danger of going out of business; a danger that has not entirely dissipated – its tiny commercial department were scouring around for suppliers to produce the necessary nik-naks for these new fans to showcase at Wembley. The club also issued warnings about buying the unofficial merchandise that is a racing certainty to appear.

“As with all big matches it is important that supporters recognise that there may be unofficial merchandise, so please do make your purchase from the Football Club.”

After the Tranmere result, unsurprisingly, it was smiles all round for John Askey.

“I’m really pleased” said Askey after the game. “I couldn’t be more pleased for everyone at the football club. The players again have worked their socks off for us and I can’t ask any more of them. I just hope now that we can go and finish it off at Wembley, it’s a fantastic achievement for the club”.

“It’s huge for the club because we’ve got one of, if not the, smallest budgets in the league so for us to get here is incredible. You’ve only got to look at the teams that reached the semi-finals; Tranmere, Lincoln and York who all have larger budgets so to get to Wembley really is the icing on the cake for us”.

Macclesfield will be taking on York City after they overcame Lincoln City in their semi-final, and Askey is hoping the Silkmen can lift the trophy in May.

“It’s the fourth time we’ve got to Wembley in the FA Trophy so we’ll be hoping we can make it three wins”.

The final will take place on Sunday May 21st.

Posted 4:34 PM Friday March 24, 2017. Filed under Football,Macclesfield Town FC,Non-League,Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response to this entry. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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