Ricard seals Macclesfield's fate

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The Independent Football

Hamilton Ricard'S first goals of the season - all three of them - ensured that there was no silken cord waiting to trip up the Premiership side at the Moss Rose. Middlesbrough might have concluded that they had weathered their scare in the first leg of this tie, coming back from 1-0 down with two late goals.

Hamilton Ricard'S first goals of the season - all three of them - ensured that there was no silken cord waiting to trip up the Premiership side at the Moss Rose. Middlesbrough might have concluded that they had weathered their scare in the first leg of this tie, coming back from 1-0 down with two late goals.

After Noel Whelan had shot high and wide from Brian Deane's knockdown Mark Crossley making his debut in the Boro goal had a dodgy moment losing George Abbey's right-wing cross and had to scramble to reclaim it.

After 17 minutes Middlesbrough got the goal that looked to have taken the tie beyond Macclesfield. Dean Gordon sold a dummy as Boro took a free-kick at the edge of the penalty area. Instead, Paul Ince chipped it in and, in the ensuing mêlée, Hamilton Ricard steered the ball past Tony Bullock for his first goal of the season.

Another player who has not figured prominently so far in this campaign, Andy Campbell, could have laid on a second but the final pass failed to find Ricard.

Three men were booked over one incident, Mark Summerbell for the original foul, Richie Barker for his reaction and Ricard for kicking the ball away.

Middlesbrough had three wasted chances before Macclesfield levelled on the night, Kevin Keen going down in Whelan's challenge for a fiercely disputed penalty, tucked away by Ben Sedgemore.

At the halfway mark Peter Davenport's team was losing little by comparison with the one expensively assembled by his old Manchester United team-mate Bryan Robson, a point the Macclesfield supporters made by chanting, "We've only spent 25 grand".

They were almost silenced, however, by Campbell's dipping shot immediately after the break and five minutes later Boro were firmly back in control, Ricard meeting Whelan's corner with his head for his second.

Another two minutes and Campbell's run and Ricard's deflected shot put it beyond all doubt. Macclesfield still tried to play constructive football and Sedgemore would have had a second but for Gianluca Festa's header off the line.

Damian Whitehead hit the post in the last minute.

Macclesfield Town (4-4-2): Bullock, Abbey, Tinson, Ingram, Adams, Sedgemore (Askey, 67), Wood (Whitehead, 57), Twynham (Bamber,76), Keen, Barker, Munroe. Substitutes not used: Glover, Durkin.

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Crossley, Fleming, Festa, Cooper, Gordon, Summerbell, Ince, Whelan, Campbell (Marinelli, 55), Deane ( Stamp, 75), Ricard. Substitutes not used: Bennion (gk), Boksic, O'Neill.

Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood).

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