Macclesfield Town fought back from a first half Manny Smith strike to claim a credible one all draw against a strong Wrexham side this evening.
The Silkmen started the game in the ascendancy, with Keith Lowe in particular looking a formidable force at the heart of our defence.
With the game being played at a frantic pace right from the off, the home side had Ryan Lloyd to thank in the forth minute - as he bravely cleared Luke Summerfield’s corner from the left off Rhys Taylor’s goal line.
Ben Stephens once again proved to be a potent threat for Mark Yates’ side throughout the contest and on nine minutes his innovative play won Macc a corner from the left. A trialist winger drifted the ball in and when it broke to Ryan Lloyd, he headed towards goal, yet Lainton was able to make a comfortable stop.
Mike Fondop then fired well over Taylor’s crossbar for the visitors, before Summerfield dragged a twenty yard effort wide of the far post for the Welshmen.
Despite the Red Dragons enjoying a period of concerted pressure, the Macc rearguard nullified their threat by defiantly fighting for every ball and exemplified the fact that despite the game being labelled as a friendly, they desperately wanted to win no matter what.
On 18 minutes Ryan Lloyd proved to be the hero again, as he spectacularly blocked Fondop’s drive from the edge of the area and sixty second later the visitors came again, with Paul Rutherford’s cross from the left being seized upon by Fondop - yet Taylor reacted quickly to make a routine stop.
With twenty minutes gone Macc almost broke the deadlock, as a sublime cross field ball by Lloyd was expertly taken down by a trialist and his cross broke to Stephens who was unlucky to see his reactive half volley fly marginally over the bar.
The visitors took the lead on 24 minutes when Summerfield’s free kick from the right eventually broke to Manny Smith and he confidently slotted the ball past Taylor from close range.
Smith could well have extended Wrexham’s lead on the half hour mark, as he rose highest to meet Summerfield’s corner from the right - yet the defender could only direct his header wide of the near post from ten yards out.
As the half edged towards it’s conclusion the game developed into a frenzied battle - with both sides looking to advance at every opportunity.
Three minutes before the interval, Tyrone Marsh battled his way through the Wrexham ranks and looked to run through on goal - only a perfectly timed challenge from James Jennings prevented him from testing Lainton as the hosts looked for a deserved equaliser.
Sixty seconds later Ryan Lloyd sent a tantalising corner into the Wrexham penalty area and this was met by Nathan Blissett, whose glancing header flew fractionally wide of the near post.
The second half saw the introduction of Koby Arthur and the evergreen Danny Whitaker and it was not long before both players began to stamp their authority on the game.
On 56 minutes Arthur caused havoc within the Wrexham ranks, before he found Stephens free on the left flank. The exciting winger launched a peach of a cross into the six yard box, where Tyrone Marsh was unlucky to see his angled header skim the far post.
Mark Yates then introduced Scott Wilson, Michael Rose and David Fitzpatrick into the action and this signalled a fresh wave of defiance and conviction into the home side.
Macc started to play some intricate, expansive football and as such began to dominate proceedings in a manner which rendered an equalising goal only a matter of time.
On 64 minutes Keith Lowe was unlucky to restore parity, as he met Danny Whitaker’s corner from the left perfectly. On this occasion however, the ball sped into the Star Lane End seating, after the loyal inhabitants had held their breaths expecting the net to bulge.
Sixty second later, some majestic build up play from David Fitzpatrick culminated in Arthur unleashing a pinpoint cross from the left and this was sent back across goal off the head of Welch-Hayes - a whisker wide of the near post.
By this point the Wrexham defence were on the ropes, with Welch-Hayes and Arthur in particular looking to be in inspired form.
Our reward came on 77 minutes, as Harry Smith drew The Silkmen level with another clinical strike.
Jared Hodgkiss received the ball from Welch-Hayes on the right hand side and hit an inch perfect cross into the box, where Smith was on hand to deftly flick the ball wide of Dibble and into the back of the net.
The hosts then began to lay siege on the Wrexham goal as they looked for a winner and this almost came nine minutes from time after a superb piece of blistering play.
Welch-Hayes hammered a low drive into the area from the right, which was pristinely dummied by Smith and despite the advancing Whitaker making a sweet contact with the ball, he could only send it wide of the near post.
With Macc gallantly looking for a second goal, the Referee called time on the game and although victory was ultimately denied, it still represents another worthwhile test ahead of our impending EFL return.
Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Welch Hayes, Trialist (Rose 60), Lowe, Pearson, Trialist (Arthur '46), Stephens (Wilson '60), Evans (Whitaker 46), Lloyd (Fitzpatrick '60), Marsh (Smith '73), Blissett (Hodgkiss '60).
Subs: Trialist, Kelleher, Grimes.
Wrexham: Lainton (Dibble '46), Roberts (Carrington '72), M Smith, Tharme, Jennings, Summerfield (Sargent '85), Young, Wright, Rutherford, Fondop, Holroyd (L Smith '77).