5th April 2018

“Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up, accept that you were beaten by the better team, then move on and get back to business.”

Any hopes of an upset against league leaders Sale F.C. were quickly quashed last Saturday at Priory Park. Sale ran out comfortable winners by 37 points to nil. However, although the scoreline would suggest the game was a one-sided affair, Macclesfield Blues made the league leaders work for their points. With 60 minutes on the clock, the Blues were only 2 scores down and pressing. But, once the Blues went down to 14 men, the game was effectively over.

Next up at Priory Park is Otley. Otley are struggling near the bottom of the league and find themselves in the sort of position Macclesfield Blues were in a few months ago. They are fighting for points, so will make a fight out of it and make it as difficult as possible for the Blues. Interim Head Coach, Marshall Gadd, is only too aware of that. He knows that the supporters will be expecting a home win, given their league form and position; but he’s also aware that this game is a potential banana skin. Any loss of concentration could be very costly. Here are his thoughts on the Sale game and upcoming Otley encounter

Was Saturday’s scoreline an accurate reflection of the game as you saw it?

“No – I think the scoreline flattered Sale. There’s no question that Sale were worthy winners in the end, because they defended well when they needed to, and were clinical when given opportunities. We played well at times and ran them close. In fact, there were still only 11 points in it after 60 minutes when we had a man sent off. After that we were chasing the game and struggling to contain their attacking threat. So overall, yes Sale were the dominant team, but I don’t think the score accurately reflected the way we played.”

If the Blues could take one lesson from the game would it be, that when you’re given chances in this league, you have to take them?

“Absolutely. One hundred per cent. In the first half I think we had 5 entries into Sale’s 22 and we came away with nothing. Sale, by contrast had 3 forays into our 22 and came away with 8 points. We managed to camp in their half effectively for the first half of the game, but couldn’t convert our chances. I found that very disappointing.”

“Sale are a clinical and ruthless team, and were able to capitalise on our mistakes. We got impatient in the second half and tried to force the game. That played right into Sale’s hands and they were able to pick us off easily, particularly when we went down to 14 men. So the lesson we have to learn at this level is, if you carve out an opportunity; take it or it may come back to bite you.”

Although Otley won’t offer the same threat as Sale F.C, do you think the game will be just as competitive?

“The Sale game was completely different than we can expect this weekend at Priory Park. There were different emotions involved in the game: we were playing the top team in the league and it was also a local derby. It’s now back to business as usual this weekend. Both teams need the points. We need them to put more distance between us and the dog fight at the bottom of the league: Otley need the points to keep out of the relegation zone. So I guess we can expect a bit of a battle.”

Are you confident the players have managed to draw a line under last week’s defeat, and are ready to move on and get back on the horse?

“I am confident. We spoke about this last night in training. I’m not a naïve coach, and I know that some people will look at the scoreline and say we got hammered. Yet, as I said to the lads last night, at the end of the day we’ve got to be realistic about where we stand. Sale are a class act and probably the best-drilled side in this competition: that’s why they are top of the league. As far as I’m concerned, Sale are as close to a readymade National 1 side as you can get: so it’s no shame to come off second best to them.”

“We can make all the excuses in the world: we can even look for solutions and answers to what went wrong. But sometimes you just have to hold your hands up, accept that you were beaten by the better team, then move on and get back to business.”