Macclesfield 0 City 2

It was Macclesfield who needed the medication.

When Peter Thorne trudged to the touchline, not long after receiving lengthy on-field treatment following a heavy first-half whack, everyone thought he’d bowed to the inevitable and was ready to be subbed.

He wasn’t. City’s 35-year-old striker merely wanted a painkilling tablet from the physio, something Macclesfield’s battered defence required in far greater supply.

The big hitman shrugged off his dead leg but had already hurt them twice with a quickfire double inside the first 15 minutes that effectively proved lethal.

Indeed, Thorne was in such terrorising form early on with his aerial presence, smart lay-offs, link-up play and strike threat, it had been no surprise they resorted to trying to kick him out of the contest.

But the tactic failed and the damage had already been done regardless as, unlike the former Cardiff frontman – who popped his pill and returned to inflict more pain of his own – Macclesfield never recovered.

City came out on fire from the off and during the first half the game resembled more an attack v defence training exercise as the confident visitors poured forward.

With Michael Boulding alongside him up front, Thorne couldn’t believe the sort of space he was being gifted as City’s slick build-up play created chance after chance.

Paul McLaren and Lee Bullock bossed the midfield as livewire wingers Joe Colbeck and Omar Daley tore into leaden-footed Macclesfield.

City were obviously keen to put their midweek Carling Cup disappointment behind them and boss Stuart McCall was delighted with the way in which they set about their task.

Their hosts had stunned Championship outfit Blackpool. Maybe they had got ideas above their station.

Paul Arnison and Daley both saw long-range shots narrowly miss the crossbar in the early moments while Thorne, rested in that 4-0 defeat against Huddersfield, was soon into the action.

He crossed for Boulding, whose bouncing header at the back post was pushed clear for a corner, but Macclesfield didn’t survive long.

McCall put Colbeck straight into the starting line-up after he completed his three-match ban carried over from last season, leaving out Kyle Nix, and the wideman quickly repaid his boss’s confidence.

He sent over a lovely floated cross from deep on the right that Thorne shuffled back to meet with a header that looped perfectly back over stranded keeper Jon Brain for a tenth-minute opener.

Macclesfield almost responded immediately but youngster Gareth Evans shot weakly straight at namesake Rhys and City made the most of the let-off.

Thorne tested the keeper again with a fierce volley but didn’t give him a chance when, after a defensive mix-up left him free in the box, he drilled home his next effort.

Only 15 minutes had been played and Thorne was on a hat-trick.

It has been a spectacular start to the season for the forward, with four goals in two games – having hit the brace that handed City victory against Notts County a week earlier.

His partnership with summer signing Boulding, who worked tirelessly, showed real signs of promise and both could have stretched City’s lead after the break.

Macclesfield switched from 4-5-1 to a more traditional 4-4-2 in the second period in an effort to make more of an impact on the match and it worked as they enjoyed more possession.

Keith Alexander’s side forced plenty of corners and the introduction of the dangerous Francis Green up front caused some problems but rock-solid City rarely looked genuinely troubled.

Composed skipper Graeme Lee marshalled the defence brilliantly, coming up with countless clearing headers to divert danger, Matt Clarke’s quality block tackle denied Ahmed Deen while Evans produced a couple of fine stops, including one spectacular save off Green when he had gone clear.

However, for all Macclesfield’s pressure, it was City who created the best opportunities, chiefly through their ability to break with pace.

In speed merchants Colbeck and Daley, they boast two players who can really penetrate on the counter-attack.

They combined brilliantly in one swift rush-out with Colbeck eventually playing in Thorne with Macclesfield all at sea but his treble chance went after Brain turned his well-struck effort wide.

Thorne had also been left unmarked for a diving header but couldn’t get enough force on the ball, while one of his flick-ons saw Boulding almost open his account.

The ex-Mansfield marksman turned well on the edge of the box but his left-foot strike cannoned off the post and back across the goal-line.

Martin Gritton had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty turned down after Clarke’s challenge just inside the box. The City defender may have placed his arms on his shoulder but the hefty Macclesfield striker went down far too easily to convince the referee.

Boulding was later replaced by Willy Topp, his arrival bringing warm applause from the vociferous City support, glad to see the Chilean in City colours again after rumours of discontent last week.

Topp buzzed around for the last 15 minutes and showed some neat touches as space opened up again for City. Green had a couple of last-ditch efforts for Macclesfield but the first was scrambled clear and then he skewed his second chance wide.

It was Daley who came closest to adding to the scoreline, his blazing shot rattling the woodwork after the Jamaican had cut back inside following another crisp counter.

Six points from six for City and plenty of positives, not least the form of a veteran striker looking as fresh as ever.