On a difficult playing surface, and against obstinate opponents, Flint did just enough to book their place into the third round of the Welsh Cup, courtesy of a second half penalty from Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro.
There was a real lack of goalmouth action throughout the game, but the turning point came on 55 minutes when a Larnell Cole centre was headed goalwards by Brandon Diau. The ball was cleared off the line, with both Caersws keeper Jack Perry and defender Calum Bennett in the thick of the action. A good spot by the referee saw that it was Bennett who had actually kept the ball out with his hand, after it had beaten Perry. Bennett then received a straight red for his actions and Akpa-Akpro converted the penalty, albeit in not the most convincing fashion, to score the only goal of the game.
Flint had earlier enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges in a lacklustre first 45 minutes, but struggled in the final third against a well organised Caersws defence.
On 12 minutes, a nice diagonal ball from Harry Owen found the head of Tyler Garratt, but his effort was well over the bar from a good position. Jayden Major then cut in from the left and hit a curling shot, which finished just a few yards the wrong side of the post. It was to be the story of his afternoon, as he got into several decent shooting positions throughout the game, but on each occasion was unable to really test the keeper.
Harry Allen was called upon to divert a header around his post on 26 minutes, as Caersws threatened from a corner, although whether the effort would have been on target was difficult to tell, but it was definitely good to be safer than sorry from the keeper’s point of view.
And that was about it, in terms of chances for an underwhelming first half.
The game burst into life with the penalty award and the sending off, 10 minutes into the second period. It looked as though Perry has actually kept out Akpa-Akpro’s penalty, as he sent it straight down the centre, and the keeper stood his ground. But instead of pushing it out, he could only succeed in pushing it into the corner of the net, and Flint had the hard earned advantage which they were determined not to relinquish.
Okera Simmonds was then introduced into the action, and Flint immediately looked much more of a threat going forward, thanks to the pace and trickery of the front man.
Just before the hour mark, Garratt did well to whip in a cross to the near post, that Akpa-Akpro as converging on, but a defender just beat him to it, to squeeze the ball out for a corner. The Flint marksman was thwarted again on 75 minutes, when, following a good dribble by Major, he was presented with a good opportunity, but his tame shot was easily dealt with by Perry.
Caersws did manage to briefly bare their teeth, when they fashioned a couple of chances in the space of a minute or so. First, a flick header from Harry Cottam at the near post from a corner found it’s way to the far post, but was lashed away by a covering defender. Then a miscued clearance from Diau ended up at the feet of Neil Mitchell, and with Allen off his goal line, the ex-Newtown player tried to chip the ball in, but only succeeded it putting it high over the Flint bar.
Simmonds could have put the game beyond doubt on 84 minutes, after he was played in by Akpa-Akpro, but Perry produced a great stop to deny him. Then in added on time, Akpa-Akpro saw his shot well blocked by a defender, with the ball spinning agonisingly over the bar.
But it mattered not, as it was job done by the Silkmen and they had negotiated a potentially dangerous banana skin.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Caersws – J. Perry, L. Evans, W. Evans, M. Mumford (c), C. Bennett, S. Williams, N. Mitchell, H. Cottam, I. Probert (N. Collins 61), G. Coney, C. Harris
Flint Town United – H. Allen, J. Carroll (O. Ibrahim 81), T. Garratt, A. Stephens, H. Owen, B. Diau, L. Cole (O. Simmonds 61), J. Owen (c), J-L Akpa-Akpro, B. Beaumont, J. Major (J. Hindle 88)
Flint MOM – Harry Owen (another assured display by the young defender)