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Full-time: Hereford United 2 Macclesfield Town 1
A FINE strike by Marlon Jackson sent Hereford to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier table, at least for a few hours.
Jackson drilled a brilliant drive into the top corner after 68 minutes to restore Hereford’s lead after Matthew Barnes-Homer had equalised for the Silkmen following Sean Canham’s first-half header.
It was an encouraging start for the Bulls who thoroughly deserved their win for a competent and entertaining performance.
With Ryan Bowman failing to recover from injury, Canham was given the chance to partner Jackson up front.
And, despite James Bittner declaring himself fit, Dan Hanford held on to the goalkeeping position.
Loan striker Tom Nicholls and latest signing Ashley Sammons were named on the bench.
Former Bulls loanee Waide Fairhurst was named among the Macclesfield substitutes.
Macclesfield had the better of the possession in a scrappy opening and the first shot came from Peter Winn, who blasted a 25-yarder narrowly wide of Hanford’s goal.
Craig Braham-Barrett then broke away on the left but his cross was comfortably fielded by the Bulls’ keeper.
With six minutes played, Canham won a free-kick five yards from the edge of the Silkmen’s area.
But Harry Pell’s curling shot flew high and wide.
Pell was at the centre of a neat move moments later when he and Jackson carved out a chance for Marley Watkins who was only just beaten to the ball by keeper Lance Cronin.
Macclesfield re-assumed the attack and a pacy move ended with a shot from Matthew Barnes-Homer which deflected behind off his own player Sam Wedgbury.
It was Wedgbury who forced the first corner on 13 minutes with a cross which deflected behind off Chris Carruthers.
Hanford was eventually able to smother the ball from the cross.
The opening goal came at the other end on 15 minutes.
Watkins and Pell worked the ball to Andy Gallinagh who crossed for Canham to head past Cronin.
Hereford drew some confidence from the goal and dominated the next few minutes.
Jackson saw a drive deflected just wide and then failed to control a cross-shot from Watkins which might easily have brought a second goal.
The former Bristol City man, who was a lively outlet, had another low shot saved by Cronin while, at the other end, Hanford, whose handling was excellent in the early stages, leapt to claim a right-wing cross.
The Bulls keeper was, however, glad to see a fierce volley from Peter Winn flash just past his right-hand post.
Watkins, whose was proving a handful with his willingness to run at the Macclesfield defence forced a corner of 33 minutes but United were unable to create an opportunity.
Macclesfield gained a corner of their own almost immediately but Chris Carruthers cleared the danger with a header at the near post.
After a pedestrian opening to the second period, Hereford moved back on to the attack.
A fine pass from Watkins sent Jackson away on the right and the striker cut into the area before unleashing a shot which deflected wide.
After 58 minutes, Macclesfield were level.
A clumsy challenge by Carruthers brought full-back Ryan Jackson down in the area.
Carruthers was booked and Matthew Barnes-Homer smashed home the penalty.
Hanford got quite a bit on the ball but was unable to keep it out.
Hereford tried for an immediate response and a Sam Clucas free-kick drew a regulation save from Cronin.
United’s hopes were answered by a superb strike by Jackson.
The young striker raced clear from just inside his own half cut on to his left foot and launched a rocket which screamed past Cronin and into the top corner.
With Hereford back on the rampage, Watkins sent a cross-shot through the six-yard box and wide.
Jackson, seeking a repeat of his superb strike, sliced one so wide it went out for a throw.
And Pell missed the chance of at least equalling Jackson’s strike when he volley from Nicholls’ cross flew high over.
Hereford: 4-4-2: Hanford; Gallinagh, Townsend, Graham, Carruthers; Watkins, Clist (Sammons 76), Pell, Clucas; Canham (Nicholls 69), Jackson (McQuilkin 88). Subs not used: Bittner, Stam.
Macclesfield: Cronin, Jackson, Braham-Barrett, Brown, Charnock, Mendy, Murtagh (Edmonds 77), Barnes-Homer, Winn (Kissock 88), Henry, Wedgbury (Brown 87). Subs not used: Diagne, Fairhurst.
Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset).
Attendance: 2,139 (including 144 from Macclesfield).
Goals: Canham, 15 min, 1-0; Barnes-Homer pen, 58 min, 1-1; Jackson, 64 min, 2-1.
Yellow cards: Hereford – Carruthers, foul, 58 min; Nicholls, 81 min, foul; Macclesfield – Charnock, foul, 63 min;