Nuneaton Town 1 Macclesfield Town 0
Saturday 18th January 2014 (Skrill Premier)
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
Kevin Wilkin took direct action to tackle Nuneaton Town's struggles in front of goal and it worked - just.
Boro had gone seven games without a win going into Saturday's visit of Macclesfield Town, mostly because they could not finish a chance.
Their goals to shots ratio was hardly boosted after this encounter but Wilkin's move to name Dave Hibbert, Louis Moult, Wes York and Andy Brown in the same side paid dividends.
No doubt Boro were worth the three points by virtue of Brown's 70th minute tenacious strike as he marked his first start since October 5th with the winner.
If they had taken half the chances they made the margin of victory could easily have been far greater.
That was because they played with far more energy and quality than a Silkmen side who were clearly drained by their 4-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in their FA Cup third round replay last Tuesday.
From back to front Boro were better and it is to their credit they kept a clean sheet with such an attack minded side.
Keeper Kelle Roos ensured that was possible with another sharp display in goal that will only enhance his reputation as he saved well whenever Macclesfield came to life.
In front of him the back four looked strong, which is nothing new.
Midfield has been a real problem area of late but for the first time in a long time they won the battle with Adam Walker impressive on his return to the middle of the park.
Up front, Hibbert looked rejuvenated with Brown there to ease the burden of the donkey work.
It was just a shame the team could not be more incisive in front of goal, but beggars cannot be choosers as Nuneaton won for the first time since victory at Hereford United on December 7th.
There were two changes to the team that lost to Gateshead last time out.
Gaz Dean returned from suspension at the back for Delroy Gordon, who could count himself unlucky after playing well for a long spell.
He struggled with a thigh strain in the build-up, giving Wilkin an easy solution to a headache with Dean, Gordon and Gavin Cowan all battling for two places.
Brown started in place of James Armson (hip), who was also carrying a knock.
As expected, it was an open first half with both sides looking to move the ball.
Boro really should have gone at least one, if not two or three up though.
As early as the second minute Walker floated a great ball to the far post for Hibbert.
He nodded it back across goal behind Brown when he should surely have tried to score himself.
The home side enjoyed a real purple patch after the 20 minute mark, but they missed a host of chances.
First Dean showed a touch that belies his reputation as an uncompromising defender.
He pulled the ball down stylishly in the box and unleashed a left footed volley that was well saved by Rhys Taylor.
That was unlucky for Dean, but York missed two glorious chances in the next couple of minutes.
First he looked to square it from 10 yards when he had a great chance to shoot. Then he headed over Walker's cross from all of two yards - a total sitter. Boro could have been punished for such wastefulness, but Roos made two quality stops.
First he pushed aside Chris Holroyd's left footed drive from the edge of the box before clawing away a dipping right footed shot from Danny Andrew, who spent time on trial with Nuneaton last summer.
As has been the case in recent weeks, Boro started the second half badly and had Roos to thank for keeping them level.
First he denied Andrew again, this time from a 25 yard free-kick he will have expected to save.
A minute later Jack Mackreth crossed to the back post and Roos made a better stop, palming awayDanny Whittaker's volley from six yards. The first goal was looking crucial and it went Nuneaton's way.
Players were struggling to move the ball on a deteriorating pitch but Theo Streete made little of that as he stormed down the right and fired in a low cross.
Brown had three stabs at it, but he showed great tenacity to force the ball over the line from six yards.
Wilkin's side looked the more likely as Joe Connor denied Brown with a brilliant tackle after he was set up by York.
Brown came close again with eight minutes to go as he swivelled on the edge of the box and forced Taylor into a good stop.