Macclesfield head coach Giles Heagerty was keen to take plenty of positives from Saturday’s home defeat.

Against Darlington the Blues took two points from a game in which they played 10 minutes with just 12 men, and Heagerty felt the grit and determination his side showed in this period was heroic, and his players deserved a lot more from the game.

“To go down to 12 men rallied us, it made us work hard and people realised what their jobs were and we did brilliantly to not concede in that period,” said Heagerty. “Their threat came purely from our mistakes, ill-discipline or missed tackles, which is the story of our season.

“We’ve shown some real character – to go to 12 men is very frustrating but we have showed some real grit there, I’m very proud of the boys.”

That period of the game with 12 men seemed to galvanise the Blues, with men coming off the bench to ensure that tired legs were no excuse and to stop a Darlington onslaught.

Giles Heagerty

“I think they thought we would capitulate because we were tired but we got our interchanges right, everyone came on and performed,” continued Heagerty.  “When you’re down men in the scrum propping is hard enough but with six men Josh Hearn has gone on and showed some real determination there. It was great to be able to bring on Tom Eaton too, it meant we could play with two ball players.”

Heagerty felt that their two bonus points could be massive in his side’s season and says they must now build on this performance and show the rest of the league that there’s still plenty of fight left in them.

“We need to keep picking up points, I said that to the guys at the very end,” added the coach. “We can either let it happen and just pick up a win here and there and shrug our shoulders or we can give ourselves a choice.

“And that is what it is all about, we have set targets for the next two or three games and in the context of the season those two points could be massive, it’s a big step.

“We’ve shown once we’ve played our shape and our tempo then we can give anyone a going over.”