Silkmen slump into non-league
Late strikes from Jacques Maghoma and Calvin Zola condemned Macc to their seventh defeat in nine matches. It was also their 22nd game without a victory, a run which Brian Horton couldn’t abate after being drafted in to replace Gary Simpson in March.
Simpson had guided the Silkmen into the top half after an encouraging opening to the campaign, and at New Year they were out at 28/1 to drop into non-league. But injuries and the departures of key players contributed to a miserable 2012.
The Bees, in their second game under the returning Martin Allen, cruised past Wimbledon 4-0, thanks to efforts from Ricky Holmes, Sam Deering, Ben May and Mark Hughes. They now sit two points clear of 23rd-placed Hereford, who landed odds of 19/2 (BetVictor) with a 3-0 success at Crawley.
Joe Colbeck broke the deadlock after the break, before Yoann Arquin’s late double sealed it. The Bulls host Torquay next weekend, and they must win to have any chance of surviving. They are 1/5 for the drop, while Barnet, who travel to Burton, are 5/1 with Skybet.
At the top, Swindon and Shrewsbury were both celebrating after their respective triumphs. The Robins sealed the title with a 5-0 demolition of Port Vale, while the Shrews edged past Dagenham 1-0 to secure promotion, as well as maintaining their unbeaten home record this term.
The race to join them promises to go down to the wire. While third-placed Crawley were slipping up at home, fourth-placed Torquay were leading Crewe at Plainmoor and heading into the top three. But Nick Powell’s late equaliser for the Railwaymen means the teams sit level on points.
The Sussex side have a better goal difference and head to Accrington on Saturday 1/3 to go up, so the Gulls (5/4) must better their rivals’ result to avoid the drama of the play-offs.
That leveller for the Alex means they need a draw against Aldershot to secure their place in the top seven. Oxford are the only side who can catch them, but the U’s slumped to a home defeat against Southend.
Results: Aldershot 2-2 Rotherham, Barnet 4-0 Wimbledon, Bristol Rovers 5-1 Accrington, Cheltenham 3-1 Bradford, Crawley 0-3 Hereford, Macclesfield 0-2 Burton, Morecambe 2-2 Plymouth, Northampton 1-1 Gillingham, Oxford 0-2 Southend, Shrewsbury 1-0 Dagenham, Swindon 5-0 Port Vale, Torquay 1-1 Crewe
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