Bala completed a clean sweep of victories over Flint this season, but were made to work hard for this latest win as the Silkmen turned in a much better performance than in their last outing against Caernarfon.
However, their recent tendency to give away soft goals and spurn decent chances was on display once more, as they slipped to another phase 2 defeat. Even the somewhat controversial sending off of Bala’s Anthony Kay on the hour mark wasn’t enough for them to get back into the match, as some excellent game management by the visitors made sure the door remained firmly shut.
Flint gave as good as they got for much of the opening period, and should have gone in front on 22 minutes. Some excellent work down the left flank by Sam Hart and Callum Bratley resulted in Bratley picking out Ross Weaver unmarked coming in at the far post. His shot, as the ball bounced up to him, had Alex Ramsey beaten, but as it went across the goal, instead of going in, it struck the post. Even worse, the incoming Conor Harwood was just inches away from making contact with his head virtually right on the goal line. As he threw himself at the ball, it seemed to take an awkward bounce off the turf, and it eluded the forehead of the Flint striker, in what was a double let off for the Lakesiders as their goal somehow remained intact.
But Bala had their chances too, and Ryan Woods, back in the Flint goal for this game, made two important saves for his side during the goalless first period. First on nine minutes, he produced a good one handed save from a Dean Ebbe header, then later he got down well to palm away a stinging Sean Smith effort, as the visitors combined well down their left and opened up some space in the Flint defence.
But nothing separated the two sides at half time, and the Silkmen had acquitted themselves well, However, things fell apart seven minutes into the second period. Ross Weaver put in what looked like a perfectly fair challenge on Kieran Smith, but the Bala player spun and landed awkwardly following it. At first the referee played on, but with Smith lying prone on the ground, and is some distress, he blew up, awarded a foul and proceeded to book Weaver for the tackle. To add insult to injury, Bala scored from the resulting free kick which had been awarded just inside the Flint half. Ramsey made his way upfield to deliver a raking long ball deep into the Flint area, which dropped inside the 6 yard box. Nathan Peate outpaced two Flint defenders, and with Woods rooted to his line, he connected with the ball and slid it across goal from a tight angle into the opposite corner. It was another piece of poor defensive play from Flint that was punished.
Bala were reduced to 10 men on 62 minutes when Kay tangled with Mark Cadwallader near the touchline. The Flint man was left in a heap following the challenge, which was judged by the officials to be too robust, and Kay was shown a straight red, to his utter bemusement. However, Flint failed to make the most of their one man advantage, and instead of trying to feed their main playmakers of Bratley and Harwood, they all too often resorted to long ball tactics, which the Bala defence dealt with fairly comfortably. When they did manage to get close enough to the Bala goal, Ramsey was well protected as his defensive shield blocked any shots that were on target, or else headed clear from any free kicks or corners. And in truth, Bala looked just as likely to nick a second as Flint did to equalise.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – R. Woods, J. Phillips, S. Hart, B. Maher (c), B. Nash, K. Edwards, D. Roberts (L. Ellis 86), R. Weaver (O. Nugent 77), C. Harwood, M. Cadwallader, C. Bratley. Unused Subs – J. Rushton (GK), S. Ward, J. Williams, H. Brindley-Peagram, N. Collings (GK)
Bala Town – A. Ramsey (GK), S. Smith, N. Peate, W. Evans, D. Ebbe, K. Smith, A. Kay (c), P. Rutherford (A. Stephens 65), D. Edwards, B. Bauress, O. Shannon. Unused Subs – D. Walker-Rice (GK), J. Spittle, L. Mendes, O. Southern
Flint MOM – Callum Bratley (was always a threat to the Bala backline whenever he was in possession of the ball)