On a wild, wet and windy evening at the Essity Stadium, Flint were unable to bridge the gap in class between themselves and their Cymru Premier League opponents, and bowed out of this season’s Welsh Cup competition. Although far from embarrassed, and showing plenty of honest endeavour, the Silkmen lacked the necessary cutting edge in the final third, and paid the price for defensively not cutting out a couple of low crosses into their 6 yard box.
They got off to the worst possible start, conceding the opening goal after just five minutes. Ryan Harrington received a crossfield ball out wide on the left, and took on Joe Williams before delivering a cross into the danger area. Former Flint player Jack Kenny looked to have got a faint flick on the ball, sending it onto the unfortunate Anthony Stephens who could only turn it into his own net.
It was then a struggle for Flint to regain the initiative, as their game plan had gone out of the window so early on. With Declan Poole being afforded so much space out on the right, the Nomads wide players were causing real problems, and it began to look ominous for the Silkmen.
Josh Tibbetts, who was making his debut in the Flint goal, having been signed on loan during the week after regular keeper Rhys Williams suffered a fracture to his hand, proved his worth on 17 minutes with a stunning save. Noah Edwards cut the ball back from the bye-line, right into the path of the incoming Jordan Davies, who hit a low shot that Tibbetts somehow managed to flick over his bar, to keep Flint in contention.
The Silkmen took some heart from that escape, and started to make inroads down the other end of the pitch. On 20 minutes, they put together their best move of the game up to that point. Having won the ball back on the halfway line, they countered and Rhys Kavanagh played an incisive ball into the path of Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro, who placed his shot wide of Andy Firth’s post.
Eight minutes later, Luis Lacey received the ball in space some twenty odd yards from goal and tried his luck, but the shot went over the bar. As half time approached, Flint increased the pressure, and Rhys Kavanagh went close when the ball fell to him 20 yards out following a corner. His shot struck the boot of Nomads defender Kai Edwards, which deflected it just the wrong side of the post as the strike looked to heading into the corner of the net. Then, from the next corner, calls for a handball in the Nomads box went unheeded. The set piece was played back to Kavanagh, who was lurking on the edge of the area. He let fly, and it struck Jordan Davies who turned his back on the ball. The shot looked to have struck his elbow as he turned, and it fell into the category of “seen them given” whilst not being an obvious, clear cut penalty. Unfortunately for the Silkmen, though, the referee played on.
Having endured a tough opening 20 minutes, Flint finished the half strongly, and could well have gone in at half time on level terms, had luck gome their way.
Four minutes into the second period, Elliott Reeves controlled the ball well, ran infield and hit a shot that curled just beyond Firth’s post, as Flint continued to look for that elusive equaliser.
However, the game was effectively over on 58 minutes when Nomads grabbed their second. They opened up the Flint defence by creating a quick triangular passing move, which released Poole on the right to deliver a low ball into the 6 yard box. Sol Forde, in trying to prevent Jack Kenny from reaching the ball could only bundle it past Tibbetts for a second own goal of the evening for the hosts.
Having fallen two goals behind, it looked a long way back for the Silkmen, and as the game wore on, tiredness began to creep in, and the worry was that defensively they may start to crumble.
Tibbetts pulled off a good save to deny Harry Franklyn on 68 minutes, as he dived down at his near post to beat the effort out.
Michael Wilde, who had been introduced into the action, almost came back to haunt his former club, but he somehow contrived to head wide from 6 yards out when presented with an open goal, as no-one picked him up,
But the third goal eventually arrived for the visitors on 84 minutes, from the unlikeliest of sources. Following a free kick, that was initially cleared, the ball was returned into the box, Wilde flicked it on, and centre back Kai Edwards, who had remained in the box, connected with a sweet volley to apply a striker’s finish.
And so our journey in this season’s Welsh Cup comes to an end, and we wish Connah’s Quay the best of luck in the next round, as we turn our attention back to the League and the visit of Porthmadog next Friday evening.
Report by Nigel Sheen Photos by Geoff Quinn (Full gallery at https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnys/albums )
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – J. Tibbetts, J. Phillips, J. Williams (J. Jones 62), A. Stephens, S. Forde, D. Harrison, L. Lacey, J. Owen (c) (B. Hughes 71), R. Kavanagh, E. Reeves (M. Roberts 71), J-L Akpa-Akpro. Unused Subs – L. Murphy (GK), P. Lacey
Connah’s Quay Nomads – A. Firth, J. Disney (c), R. Harrington, B. Nash, K. Edwards, C. Morris (D. Roberts 87), H. Franklyn, N. Edwards (J. Williams 87), J. Kenny (M. Wilde 71), J. Davies (A. Williams 87), D. Poole Unused Sub – J. Rushton (GK)
Flint MOM – Elliott Reeves (worked hard up front in difficult conditions)