Date: 29th August 2008 at 9:26am
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The Silkmen gave West Ham’s multimillionaires a real scare at upton Park as they took extra time (and a helpful ref) to progress.

It was the Silkmen who started the game the brighter, with Franny Green sending a blistering shot over the bar.

And it was only 5 minutes before the Blues were ahead as Gareth Evans met a corner with a powerful header that the defender on the line was only able to help into the roof of the net.

And Macc should have been further ahead when Green continued to cause problems and a strong penalty appeal was waved away.

But West Ham slowly started to influence the game and it became something of a showpiece for Macc ‘keeper Jon Brain.

The custodian, who has been much maligned in some quarters put in a world class performance to be the Silkmen’s man of the match, saving repeatedly from West Ham.

The Silkmen’s attackes were mainly on the counter, and a good one fell through when Danny Thomas was fouled on the half way line, but no free kick was given.

The Second half saw more of the same as West Ham tried in vein to level the game.

But eventually the pressure showed and the Silkmen’s brave battling resilience was broken when Lee Bowyer headed in across from the right, after the ball appeared to have drifted out of play down the flank.

The referee’s main impact on the game came just at full time when Izak Ried’s tackle on boa Morte appeared to have made a firm connection on the ball before the man went down. But his second yellow card was waved, leaving the Blues with 10 men.

It also left the Silkmen with no manager as Keith Alexander was also sent to the stands for arguing the descision.

Extra time against Premiership opposition with 10 men would always be a tough prospect, but Jon Brain saved his best save of his remarkable game for a curling shot from Ashton which he tipped around the post at full stretch. If Cappello hasd been at the game, he might have been left wondering whether it should be Brain or Robert Green on the fringes of the England side!

But the goals would come as West Ham exploited the space and Carlton Cole headed in from close range after 100 minutes. With the ref seemingly intent on playing until West Ham had got their third, the injury time stretched to three minutes before Hines scored from an apparently offside position.

The second half of extra time saw the home side hit a fourth as Ried shot from just inside the area past Brain to give the scoreline a hugely unbalanced appearance.

But ignore extra time. Over 90 minutes the Silkmen held a full Premier League side to a draw. If this was the FA Cup, it would have been one of the shocks of the round and a replay.

And the Silkmen have never managed to achieve a positive result over 90 minutes against a top flight side. (Losing to Fulham, Middlesbrough, Chelsea and West Ham once before) making this the best ever 90 minute result in the club’s history.
If we can take the same passion and fight (on and off the pitch) into the League games, then the season starts here!


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