Football: Proud McIlroy salutes his players

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SAMMY McILROY has praised his Macclesfield Town heroes for their performance in shocking their big-time neighbours Stoke City in the Worthington Cup at Moss Rose.

Macclesfield, who achieved promotion to the Second Division at the first time of asking after earning promotion from the GM Vauxhall Conference two seasons ago, beat the Potteries club 3-1 in Tuesday night's first leg of their first round tie.

Their hero was the 33-year-old John Askey, a Macclesfield player for 12 years who was born in the Stoke area and is a fan of the Potteries' club.

McIlroy, the Macclesfield manager, said: "I'm so proud of the lads, they produced a great performance and it says a lot to a lot of people about what we are capable of. For John Askey to score two of the goals is very special for him."

Barnet recorded an equally surprising success over Wolverhampton Wanderers, twice winners of the competition, at Underhill.

A Simon Osborn strike 13 minutes from time appeared to have saved the Midlands men after Barnet had taken a second-half lead through Scott McGleish, but Darren Currie grabbed a late winner as the match entered stoppage time.

The Norwich midfielder Neil Adams broke his collarbone during his side's 1-1 draw at Swansea. "We could have done without losing Neil this early in the season. It's a huge blow," the Norwich manager, Bruce Rioch, said.

The Manchester City manager, Joe Royle, has warned his side not to become complacent after they maintained their 1000 per cent start to the season against Notts County in another first-leg game.

City beat the Third Division champions 2-0 with goals in the final 17 minutes from Kakhaber Tskhadadze and the substitute Daniel Alsop, a result which followed on from Saturday's 3-0 defeat of Blackpool.

"I was very pleased because I felt we played well and we were always composed," Royle said. "But we've got to remember it's only two games and we shouldn't get carried away. I won't and I'll make sure they won't."

The West Bromwich Albion manager, Denis Smith, feels confident his team can still move into the second round, despite Brentford scoring a late goal in their 2-1 defeat at The Hawthorns.

"We gave them a goal - it was silly," Smith said. "I'm sure it will be hard in the second leg but I feel we can still finish the job. We were edgy after the mistakes but I thought we were the better side throughout and could have won the game 3-0."

A happy Peter Reid paid tribute to two-goal Danny Dichio for his part in Sunderland's 2-0 victory over York City at Bootham Crescent.

Reid said: "He wasn't 100 per cent fit last season. But he got three of four goals for us in pre-season and he has worked hard, looks sharp and I thought he did smashing for us."

The Hartlepool manager, Mick Tait, has warned his players against complacency after the 1-0 defeat at Bolton.

"We have just got to make sure we do not freeze at home next week," Tait said after his side had given Bolton an extremely tough battle. "We mustn't think it is all over. It is still going to be very, very hard work."

The Sheffield United manager, Steve Bruce, who saw the veteran striker Dean Saunders bag his side's second goal in a 3-1 win over Darlington, was pleased with the result.

Bruce said: "We could have done without the goal at the finish but it's happened and we have got to get on with it. It is never easy. We know how difficult this game can be and all credit to Darlington."

The Bradford City manager, Paul Jewell, was upbeat despite his side's disappointing performance in the 1-1 home draw with Lincoln City. Jewell said: "You need a bit of luck in this game and it didn't go quite our way."

Ian Rush will still be hopeful that he can top Geoff Hurst's record number of goals in the competition. He failed to score as his new club, Wrexham, went down 2-0 at home to Halifax, but will attempt to make up for that by hitting the target in the second leg. Rush and Hurst are currently tied on 49 goals.

Another former Liverpool player, Peter Beardsley, has given new club Fulham hope of progress after scoring a goal which helped them come back from behind to beat Cardiff City 2-1.

Birmingham will go into their second leg against Millwall at the New Den feeling fairly secure on the back of a 2-0 victory, while First Division Crewe will know they are in a contest when they welcome Oldham Athletic for the return leg at Gresty Road.

Crewe lost the first leg 3-2 to the former Premier League outfit who, now in the Second Division, will regard their first leg win at Boundary Park as a prized scalp.

Graham Taylor's Watford will also find the second leg tough after going down 1-0 to Cambridge United, two divisions below them. Taylor's men will have to keep a close watch on Trevor Benjamin, who rattled in a 19th minute winner for Cambridge United.

Bristol City, who went up with Watford last season, should have few problems overcoming Shrewsbury after winning the first leg 4-0.