Flint substitute Larnell Cole made a dramatic late intervention to secure a first win in six league games for Lee Fowler’s Silkmen, which moved them up a place in the table to ninth.
It was a deserved win for Flint, who were the better side in the first half, though Caernarfon did hit back in the second period, and looked much more dangerous, hitting the bar before Cole’s winner.
Flint took the lead on 9 minutes, following a foul on Okera Simmonds about 22 yards out on the left of the area. With Simmonds and Anthony Stephens poised over the ball, Stephens took responsibility and hit a blistering shot into the top corner of the net, leaving Josh Tibbetts stranded in the Caernarfon goal.
The home side continued to pose a threat without being able to find that cutting edge, with a typical example being Jordan Carroll making a good run into the box, getting to the bye-line just in front of Tibbetts and then cutting the ball back in front of goal, but there was no-one there to apply the finishing touch. Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro also had a couple of good opportunities fall his way, but was unable to convert them, whilst Simmonds hesitated slightly too long after getting himself in an excellent position with only the keeper to beat, and he allowed Tibbetts to smother his effort.
Caernarfon’s threat was sporadic, but there was always a danger when balls were delivered from wide positions, and the Flint defence had to be on their toes to clear the danger.
On the stroke of half time, Flint though they had strong claims for a penalty when Simmonds looked to have been taken out on the edge of the box. There was some debate about whether the challenge was inside or outside of the box, but in any event it was academic as the referee awarded a goal kick, much to the frustration of the Flint bench. In the aftermath, Assistant Manager Iwan Williams received a straight red card for his protestations regarding the incident.
Early in the second half, the visitors served notice that they were upping their game. Sion Bradley got on the end of a cut back, as the Flint defence backed off, and from a decent position he fired over. It was becoming end to end, as Noah Edwards cleared an Akpa-Akpro header off the line. Another goal line clearance denied Mark Cadwallader on 52 minutes, this time Aaron Simpson with the vital interception. But just after this, disaster struck for the Silkmen. A mis-placed pass in midfield gifted possession to Joe Faux, who embarked on a run down the left. He eluded Jay Owen, who seemed to feel his hamstring as he attempted to give chase, and then weaved past Harry Owen before hitting a shot across Harry Allen into the far corner for a fine individual goal.
Flint then endured a rocky five minute spell, and Allen had to be alert to push an effort by Iwan Cartwright behind. Gruff John met a Darren Thomas corner, but was unable to find the target with his header.
Edwards tried his luck from distance, but Allen was able to hold onto his shot, unlike Tibbetts who momentarily spilled a Cadwallader shot, before gathering at the second attempt.
By the last quarter of the game, Flint had regained their composure, and once again looked to be the stronger side, but Akpa-Akpro spurned as couple of chances and Simmonds miscued badly when he should have done better.
They were almost hit by a sucker punch on 89 minutes, when a 20 yard Edwards volley stuck the crossbar. But they made the most of their let off by grabbing the winner in the final minute of normal time.
A free kick deep inside their own half was launched up to the edge of the Caernarfon box, to where the towering presence of Brandon Diau rose to meet the ball and headed it on into the path of Akpa-Akpro who was bearing down of the goal. Tibbetts stuck out an arm, and got a partial block on the shot, but it still needed the intervention of Cartwright on the line to stop it crossing. The ball then came back out to Akpa-Akpro, who kept his composure to square it towards the far post where Cole was waiting to slot home.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Barcud-Coch Photography.
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – H. Allen, J. Carroll, B. Beaumont, A. Stephens, H. Owen, D. Harrison, B. Diau, J. Owen (c), J-L Akpa-Akpro, M. Cadwallader (L. Cole 75), O. Simmonds. Unused Subs – A. Johnson (GK), O. Ibrahim, B. Hughes, E. Akobeto, H. Brindley-Peagram, M. Roberts
Caernarfon Town – J. Tibbetts, I. Cartwright, A. Simpson (A. Mudimu 72), G. Williams, L. Bell, N. Edwards (c), S. Bradley, D. Gosset, T. Marsh-Hughes, D. Thomas (R. Hughes 66), J. Faux. Unused Subs – T. French (GK), O. Evans, R. Williams, B. Wynne, C. Griffith
Flint MOM – Anthony Stephens (capped off another fine performance with an exquisite free kick goal)