Crewe manager David Artell heaped praise on Middlesbrough teenager Stephen Walker after he helped Crewe maintain their impressive home run and promotion charge with his first senior goal.
Walker, 19, has made a telling impact during his loan spell after trading under-23 football in the North-East for a promotion push with the Railwaymen in League Two.
He doubled Crewe’s lead 10 minutes before the break when he conjured a precise finish across Macclesfield keeper Jonathan Mitchell for his landmark strike.
Artell said: “Stephen is a good player – you don’t play for England Under-19s if you’re not very good.
“He’s come in and hit the ground running and that is all credit to him. I told him he was here to score goals and it was a great finish. He was a real threat all game and a thorn in Macclesfield’s side.”
Chris Porter’s 11th-minute penalty, awarded for a trip by Fraser Horsfall on Perry Ng, set the promotion chasers on their way and they always looked sharper and more precise than their Cheshire rivals in and around the box.
But Macc managed to stay in the game and could have been level before Walker struck Crewe’s second. Corey O’Keefe blazed wildly over when the ball landed at his feet 10 yards out.
And while the second-half was dominated by Crewe – with Walker close to grabbing a second with a curling effort which came back off the far post – the Silkmen could have reduced the arrears but Horsfall twice directed free headers from set plays wide of goal.
Artell added: “It was a thoroughly professional performance and we deserved the 2-0 lead at the break, my only criticism was that it should have been more.
“The fans were terrific and made a lot of noise. It’s important we have such support whether that’s because of what we’re doing on the pitch or the recent changes in the boardroom that may have seen the dissenters of the club’s previous major shareholder returning.”
The defeat left Macclesfield without a win in their last seven games, but boss Mark Kennedy says his remit is only to keep the club in the Football League and he insists there has been progress in his 10 games in charge.
“We were five points clear of the bottom team when I took over and with the run of games we’ve had we should be bottom, but we’re eight points clear,” pointed out Kennedy.
“I’m pleased as we’ve played the top seven teams and the players deserve credit. All that matters is staying up.
“I expected an incredibly tough game. I’m a big fan of Crewe but we handed that to them on a plate. All goals are bad goals, but they came from catastrophic errors that were mindboggling.”