An under strength Flint side suffered a heavy defeat against League Champions The New Saints, as despite holding on well in the first half, they succumbed in the second period conceding five goals.
Illness and injury robbed Flint of both Jake Phillips and Ryan Woods on the day of the game. adding to an already lengthy absentee list, and the squad was down to its bare bones with the substitutes bench comprised entirely of young Academy players. So, in reality, it was always going to be a damage limitation exercise and a backs to the wall performance against a very strong TNS side.
What Flint didn’t need was to concede an early goal, but after 10 minutes, they did just that, when Dan Redmond clipped a ball into the box, and Blaine Hudson was on hand to glance a header past Jon Rushton to give his side the lead.
Having suffered this setback, the Silkmen managed to regroup and defended reasonably comfortably, and when the opportunity afforded itself, the lively Conor Harwood and Ollie Nugent looked to carry the fight to their opponents. Calum Bratley, asked to fill in as an emergency right back in the absence of Phillips, also acquitted himself very well, raiding down the right flank and causing problems. The visitors did force several corners in the first period, a couple of which were swung right in under the crossbar, but on each occasion Saints keeper Paul Harrison displayed good handling, and dealt with them accordingly.
Meanwhile at the other end, the twin strike force of Declan McManus and Jordan Williams were playing on the shoulders of the Flint defence and looking to spring the offside trap at any available opportunity. On the half hour mark, McManus did just that, but Rushton came to meet him, and managed to get something on the shot, before the ball was hurriedly cleared from danger as the Flint defence recovered.
On 35 minutes, Ryan Brobbel tried his luck from range, and his shot clipped the top of the bar, as Rushton retreated, before bouncing onto the netting on the top of the goal.
Just as they were looking as though they would make it to half time trailing by just the one goal, Williams beat the offside trap, and having seen his first effort blocked by Rushton, he smashed the ball into the roof of the net at the second time of asking.
The second half became very much a one sided affair when the third goal went in on 58 minutes. Adrian Cieslewicz broke down the right, caught the Flint defence napping, and cut the ball back to Ben Clark, who slotted home. Just three minutes later, it was 4-0 after a McManus effort struck the post, and fell nicely for Williams who tapped home.
The home side were now in rampant mood, and scored their third goal in the space of seven minutes, as McManus was picked out by Cieslewicz on the edge of the 6 yard box.
Flint’s solitary effort on target in the second 45 minutes, came following a good run down the right by Bratley, who got into the area and fired off a shot that at least warmed the hands of Harrison.
The Flint goal was breached again on 86 minutes, as Williams won possession, before curling a shot into the far corner to complete his hat-trick. The misery was complete for the Silkmen when a seventh was added by Brobbel in the 89th minute, as he headed in off the post,
On a brighter note, five Academy youngsters got a taste of the action in the second period, with Jack Williams and Harley Brindley-Peagram, aged 17 and 16 respectively, getting a good half hour or so, experience which will no doubt stand them in good stead for the future.
The best way to recover from a big defeat is to get another match under your belt as soon as possible to try and put things right, and that opportunity comes on Monday, when we travel to Penybont. So we’ll dust ourselves down, pick ourselves up and go again.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
The New Saints – P. Harrison, C. Marriot (c) (N. Grogan 81), B. Hudson. R. Astles, J. Routledge, B. Clark (L. Smith 66), R. Brobbel, D. McManus (J. Canavan 66), D. Redmond (J. Lock 78), A. Cieslewicz, J. Williams. Unused subs – C. Roberts (GK), K. Davies, A. Denny
Flint Town United – J. Rushton, C. Bratley (S. Ward 90), S. Hart (M. Roberts 90), B. Maher (c) (H. Dowridge 90), B. Nash, K. Edwards, D. Roberts, S. Duffy (J. Williams 61), O. Nugent (H. Brindley-Peagram 61), M. Cadwallader, C. Harwood. Unused Sub – Lewis Ball
Flint MOM – Callum Bratley (filled in well at right back and tried to get forward whenever he could)