This 3rd round JD Welsh Cup tie away to Bala was always going to be a tough proposition, especially as we have yet to gain even a point at Maes Tegid in the league since returning to the Cymru Premier, but Flint rewarded their travelling fans with a gutsy performance that had plenty of desire, but just lacked that bit of finesse in the final third.
The Lakesiders started strongly, with two long range efforts in the space of a minute. First, a misdirected backpass found it’s way to George Newell on the edge of the box, and he cracked his smartly taken shot against the bar. Then Kieran Smith seized onto a clearing header to volley the ball back goalwards and bring a good sprawling save from Harry Owen.
After that initial onslaught, Flint cleared their heads and started to gain a foothold in the game. On the quarter hour mark, Anthony Stephens eyed up a free kick from fully 25 yards out, and glanced his shot off the top of the bar, with Bala keeper Alex Ramsay well beaten.
However, a lapse in concentration, proved fatal on 27 minutes, when Lassana Mendes was afforded too much room in the Flint box to receive a ball played in from the left. He was allowed to turn, and then stood up a ball just beyond the far post to where Chris Venables was lurking. The Bala skipper planted his header into the net despite the best efforts of two Flint defenders.
The Silkmen reacted strongly to this setback, and almost found an equaliser within a minute of the restart. Okera Simmonds outmuscled Smith to win the ball, break free and slip the ball to Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro who was positioned centrally 23 yards from goal. His shot went agonisingly just wide of the post.
Flint came out for the second half with renewed purpose and took the game to the home side. On 50 minutes, a slip by Dave Edwards let in Mark Cadwallader. The forward raced in on goal from the right wing, and unleashed a shot from a tight angle, but the effort was wide of Ramsay’s goal. Then, a couple of minutes later, Akpa-Akpro won the ball off Niam Arsan, and laid it off to Cadwallader, who delivered a fine cross for Simmonds to challenge for. Although he got to the ball, he was unable to direct it under the bar, and another chance got away for the Silkmen.
Flint’s hopes of mounting a comeback were dealt a critical blow on 62 minutes, following a corner. Although, all but one of their outfield players were brought back to defend it, no one was stationed on the edge of the box, and as it was initially cleared, Smith was waiting in exactly that position to chest the ball down and then strike a half volley through a crowd of players and into the net.
Although they gamely fought to the end, there was no coming back from that for the Silkmen, and so they exited this season’s Welsh Cup competition. Nevertheless, if they can reproduce this type of performance and purposeful play in their forthcoming league matches, especially against those teams around and about them, they will surely start picking up some more valuable points before the end of phase 1.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Bala Town – A. Ramsay, N. Peate, D. Edwards, N. Arsan (O. Shannon 77), P. Rutherford, K. Smith, L. Mendes, L. Wall (R. White 77), O. Southern, G. Newell, C. Venables (c). Unused subs – H. Lloyd (GK), E.A. Soulayman, E. Jones
Flint Town United – H. Allen, B. Beaumont, T. Garratt (O. Ibrahim 46), A. Stephens, H. Owen, D. Harrison (J. Carroll 67), L. Cole (B. Diau 46), J. Owen (c), J. Hindle (M. Cadwallader 22 (B. Hughes 64)), J.L. Akpa-Akpro, O. Simmonds
Flint MOM – Anthony Stephens (turned in a top notch performance against his former club)