Leek Town 0 Macclesfield Town 2
CONFERENCE National outfit Macclesfield Town proved too strong for Blues at Harrison Park on Saturday, in this pre-season friendly.
Blues did enough in the opening half to be in front at the break.
However, their finishing let them down and the visitors went on to claim victory with two goals in the second half.
Manager Lee Casswell was again forced to juggle his squad for this match.
Cohen Bramell, Ant Danylyk, Mike Keats, Andy Kinsey, Isaac Cooper and Sean Kinsella were all unavailable.
On the plus side, Liam Shotton made his first start and Dan Smith and Niall MaGuire returned from holiday.
The visitors included former Blues loan defender Ellis Storey in their starting line-up.
Casswell said after the game: "I thought we did really well in the opening half – it was encouraging and we more than matched them."
The manager added: "We created chances and stuck to the system during the first half and then they changed their formation midway through, which I thought was a compliment to ourselves.
"Macclesfield were a good side and caused us problems in the second half but generally, things are going well for us so far as the new season approaches".
Leek applied early pressure and came close to opening their account in the second minute when Dan Smith launched a clearance deep into the Macclesfield half.
Shotton headed down for Dan Shelley but his shot was deflected onto the roof of the net,
Tim Grice burst into the box in the fourth minute to dispossess a defender.
Taylor went down the block the shot and the loose ball fell to Shotton – but once again, the goalkeeper managed to keep the effort out.
Blues then won two corners in quick succession, but Sam Hall and Karl Espley both failed to find the target.
In the 14th minute, Smith crossed into the six-yard box for Shotton, who had two attempts to find the net but again, the Macclesfield keeper was up to the task.
Seven minutes later, a superb low cross by Shelley took the Macc defence out and Shotton saw his shot chested off the line.
Around the half hour mark, the Silkmen began to get more into the game – but the score remained goalless at half time.
After the break, Macc went on to dominate the game with the diminutive John Paul Kissock dictating operations from the middle of the park.
Macc trialist David Gonzalez fired into the side netting on the 60th minute but three minutes later, the visitors took the lead with a brilliant solo effort from Kissock.
Kissock sliced through the Leek defence before driving the ball firmly home.
With five minutes remaining, Blues almost drew level.
Bell's cross picked out Shelley in a good position – but his firm header was superbly tipped over by Taylor to keep his goal intact.
Four minutes into added time, the visitors confirmed their victory with a disputed goal.
Shelley was apparently barged from behind, but the referee was unmoved and Josh Amis broke free to score.
Leek Town: Chapman, Smith, Jackson, Thompson, Espley, Hall, Donnelly, Shelley, Grice, Shotton, Bell. Subs: Husbands, Dicker, MaGuire, Lowe.
Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Halls, Thornton, Rose, Cowan, Bailey, Holroyd, Kissock, Gonzalez, Fairhurst, Storey. Subs: Tighe, O'Keefe, Hunter, Henegahn, Disney, Thompson, Akuguine.