For much of the game Flint found themselves frustrated by the visitors’ resolute defending and, at times, inspired goalkeeping. Helped, in no small part, by the introduction of Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro and Harley Peagram at the start of the second half, they were ultimately able to find a way through.
In terms of possession, the Silkmen bossed the game, but they were often unable to capitalise on this by creating clear goal scoring chances, especially during a frustrating first half. The centre half pairing of Matty Williams and Ryan Williams at the heart of the Chirk defence were proving very effective in blunting the Flint attack, and when they were breached, keeper Jack Edwards was proving a worthy opponent between the sticks.
Flint debutant Ben Wynne squared a ball into the path of Jake Phillips on the quarter hour mark, and he hit a dipping shot from around 20 yards that just cleared the bar. That was to set the tone for the remainder of the half, with Flint being restricted mainly to shots from outside of the box, that were either off target or blocked by the Colliers’ defenders, who were only too eager to throw their bodies on the line.
Wynne could have marked his debut with a goal on 23 minutes, but his on target effort was brilliantly blocked, with the shot ending up spinning just over. From a long throw on 34 minutes, the ball bounced into the path of Sol Forde 6 yards out, who was forced to hurry with his effort, but the lack of composure told as the ball went way over the target.
A rare foray into the Flint half by Chirk shortly after was almost rewarded, when they won a corner. A good delivery was met by their skipper Matty Williams, but under pressure he headed over from a decent position.
Flint’s best chance of the half came as we entered stoppage time, when Danny Harrison saw his effort well saved by Edwards. However, the ball rebounded back to Harrison, but his follow up was blocked once more, in a moment that perfectly encapsulated the opening 45 minutes.
Lee Fowler decided to shake things up with a double substitution at the start of the second half, and the introduction of Akpa-Akpro and Peagram gave the Silkmen some much needed impetus.
Akpa-Akpro was at the heart of the best attacking move of the game thus far on 54 minutes, when he played a lovely 1-2, received the ball back, advanced on goal and saw his shot brilliantly finger tipped just wide of the post by Edwards.
But the Flint faithful didn’t have long to wait for the opening goal, which arrived just a few minutes later. Elliott Reeves made a good dart down the left, before moving infield near the bye-line and shooting from an acute angle. Edwards did well once again to block the effort, but the ball bounced off him and struck the unfortunate Jake Mann who was backtracking towards his own goal, the deflection carrying it over the goal-line with Edwards stranded.
Jake Phillips put in a lofted delivery on 63 minutes from a central position. It was unclear as to whether he had spotted Edwards off his line and was going for goal, or was trying to pick out one of his teammates, but either way it was only the woodwork that denied him claiming Flint’s second goal of the afternoon.
The Silkmen continued to apply the pressure, and from a corner, the ball was half cleared to the edge of the box. Peagram did well to step in and nick it off the foot of a defender before unleashing a powerful shot that looked destined for the top corner. But Edwards flung himself across goal to pull off a breathtaking save to deny the Flint forward.
A floated ball from Wynne towards the far post on 74 minutes was met by Reeves, who got there just ahead of the challenging Edwards. The ball was headed up into the air, and then Reeves was on hand to meet it as it bounced in front of goal and tap home from close range to make it 2-0.
The scoring was rounded off on 83 minutes, when the ball was won back well on the edge of the Flint area, setting up a counter attack. A pass was played into the path of Akpa-Akpro who beat the offside trap, and as Edwards raced out to try and narrow the angle, he kept his composure to slot home.
In the end it was a case of job done for the Silkmen, whose perseverance finally paid off, setting them up for next week’s key derby match with old rivals Holywell Town.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Steve Parker (All Sports Media)
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – R. Williams, J. Phillips, S. Forde, A. Stephens (c), L. Sirrell, D. Harrison (H. Peagram 46), L. Lacey (M. Burke 71), B. Wynne (M. Roberts 85), E. Reeves (C. Davies 85), B. Hughes, J. Jones (J-L Akpa-Akpro 46). Unused Subs – L. Murphy (GK), J. Williams
Chirk AAA – J. Edwards, J. Ellison, J. Mann, R. Williams, M. Williams (c), J. Evans (R. Chorlton-Wilcox 69), S. Parrish (R. Jones 59), S. Rogers, J. Edwards (R. Edwards 30), M. McLaughlin, J. Smallwood. Unused Sub – L. Middlehurst
Flint MOM – Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro (his introduction was instrumental in Flint getting the much needed breakthrough in the game)