Once again, Flint’s twin strikers, were on form, with Jack Kenny bagging a brace and Michael Wilde adding another goal to his tally. Centre Half Kai Edwards also got in on the act, opening the scoring for the home side.
Flint had the blustery wind at their backs as they started the game, as the rain poured down, and the general feeling was they needed to head into the break with the cushion of at least a couple of goals, as they would probably have to withstand the pressure in the second half when their opponents had the advantage of the wind. As it turned out, they managed to carve out a three goal advantage to stand them in good stead.
The first chance came on four minutes, when Wilde fed Mark Cadwallader, who was recalled to the starting line up. Cadwallader hit a 20 yarder, which Lee Idzi, in the visitor’s goal did well to parry. But the danger was not over, as the ball was knocked back into the box, and Wilde met it with a stooping header that was directed just the wrong side of the post.
Haverfordwest’s best opportunity of the half came on 13 minutes, when Jack Wilson sprung the offside trap and raced into the area bearing down on goal. Flint keeper, Ryan Woods, who was also recalled to the starting eleven, spread himself well and blocked the shot, with Ben Maher on hand to eventually complete the clearance.
Flint made the most of that let off and took the lead a couple of minutes later. Maher was this time involved at the other end, as he received the ball on the right of the area, darted in between two defenders, and then stood the ball up to the back post where Kai Edwards pounced with a close range header that gave Idzi no chance.
The Silkmen then looked to turn the screw and use the conditions to their advantage. Kenny got free on 22 minutes, and shot across Idzi and across the face of goal from a narrow angle on the left, but the effort was wide of the target. Then, just before the half hour mark, Kenny and Wilde combined well, with Wilde laying a lovely ball back into the path of the incoming Cadwallader, but from extremely close range his effort smashed onto the post and bounced out, to the disbelief of the watching Silkmen faithful.
As time ticked on, and the visitors started gaining more possession, there was a growing concern that a slender one goal advantage at the break wasn’t going to be enough. However, a two goal salvo in the final five minutes of the half for the home side, went a long way to easing any such worries. First, Cadwallader brought down the ball in the middle of the park, and then swiftly released Wilde, who took it in his stride, before striking a low powerful shot into the net from around 20 yards.
Cadwallader was again the provider for the third, this time putting an exquisite defence splitting through ball into the path of Kenny, who galloped onto it, and from an acute angle steered it home.
The Flint defence knew that they were likely to be put under pressure at the start of the second period, and so it proved, but, by and large, the back three unit of Edwards, Ben Nash and Dan Roberts stood up to the challenge extremely well. A double substitution by the visitors on 54 minutes, however, was instrumental in them getting a foothold back in the game. Ben Fawcett got the benefit of a possible handball decision not being given against him, and raced to the bye-line down the left. He pulled a lovely ball back to fellow sub Dan Williams, who stroked it past Woods.
The Bluebirds scented a possible way back into the game, and Flint had to weather a difficult period, but they came through it without any more serious chances threatening Woods’ goal. They also continued to pose a threat on the break, and with ten minutes remaining, they broke to make the game safe. Danny Harrison won a crunching 50:50 tackle in the midfield, and the ball broke to Maher, who delivered a telling pass to Kenny, who slipped the ball past Idzi to claim his second goal of the game.
Fawcett hit a good long range strike for the visitors shortly after the restart, but Woods made a flying save across his goal to deny the striker.
Kenny almost registered a hat trick on 86 minutes, when he got to the ball just before Idzi, but couldn’t quite get enough power on his shot as he knocked it past the keeper, and as the ball rolled slowly towards the goal, a defender was able to get back and hack it off the line.
Then, down the other end, Woods spilled a cross, dropping it just in front of the goal line, but two covering defenders managed to prevent it from crossing, and cleared the danger.
This was a good return to form for the Silkmen, with all of the team putting in a tremendous shift in very awkward conditions.