A dogged Airbus side pushed Flint all the way in this local derby, but the Silkmen just edged it thanks to Danny Harrison’s glancing backward header on the hour mark.
The game was played in bitterly cold conditions, with heavy rain and sleet pummelling the players in a tough first half, which saw both sides get on the scoresheet.
With the game barely a minute old, the Wingmakers went close, when ex-Silkman Jake Phillips turned in the box on the bye-line and shot from an acute angle, forcing Harry Allen to tip the effort over his bar. Then, a few minutes later, Flint burst into life when a fine ball from Bobby Beaumont sent Zach Clarke hurtling away down the right. Forced wide of the goal, he pulled the ball back to the supporting Rhys Kavanagh, whose shot was stopped at the foot of his post by Airbus keeper Lewis Dutton, who stuck out a strong arm to deflect the ball out for a corner.
Flint opened the scoring in the seventh minute. A free kick from Jay Owen just inside the opposition half was swung into the box from the left. The ball was flicked on and then cleared to the edge of the area, before being rolled back to Beaumont, who sent it back in towards the penalty spot, where Clarke proved too strong for his marker, shrugging him off to turn and smartly fire past Dutton, to give the hosts the lead.
To be fair to Airbus, who had Mark Allen taking charge for this game, having suspended previous manager Jamie Reed earlier in the week, they didn’t let their heads drop after this latest setback, and fought hard to get back into the match. Their reward duly arrived on 25 minutes, via a free kick from another Flint old boy, Joe Palmer. Palmer curled his shot around the Flint wall and just beyond the reach of Allen, and into the corner of the net, from around 23 yards out.
With 3 minutes to go to the break, the visitors almost went ahead. Adam Davies got on the end of a Steve Tomassen long ball, and hit it on the half volley. The shot beat Allen, but bounced back off the crossbar.
As the second half developed, the game was becoming something of a stalemate, until Flint manager Lee Fowler decided to roll the dice and bring on Okera Simmonds and Jordan Carroll, to give some fresh impetus to his side. Their impact was immediate, as they instantly started causing problems down each flank for the visitors defence. In the 59th minute, a corner was played back to Carroll, stationed on the angle of the box, and he floated a ball into the area, which Harrison met with his head, flicking it backwards and beyond the reach of Dutton into the far corner of the goal.
Flint were now in the ascendency and an Owen free kick was met by Clarke, but the forward’s header smashed against the bar and stayed out. Then Carroll shimmied his way into a shooting position inside the box, only for his effort to be kept out by Dutton’s legs.
Airbus responded by making some substitutions of their own, one of which was Jeanny Leblanc-Akpo, whose pace was to cause alarm for the Flint rearguard in the latter stages.
On 79 minutes, a Palmer free kick was knocked into the path of another substitute, Lloyd Dean, who from 6 yards out looked certain to score, but Allen came to Flint’s rescue by throwing his body in the way, and deflecting the shot just around his post.
Leblanc-Akpo made a great run into the Flint area on 87 minutes, before pulling the ball across goal, but it eluded everyone, and was cleared towards Owen Payne , who thumped it back into the box. It looked as though his effort might be creeping inside the post, until a teammate intercepted, and his effort to steer it on target only succeeded in dragging it wide across the face of goal.
After that let off, Flint went back up the other end, and some nice interplay between Simmonds, Akpa-Akpro and Beaumont, resulted in the latter delivering a ball onto the head of Clarke at the near post, but the striker header it just wide of the target.
In added on time, Allen was once again forced into making an excellent stop, this time denying Jamie Crowther, following more good work by Leblanc-Akpo.
Although we’ve so far managed to come out on top in all three of our meetings with Airbus so far this season, on each occasion they have pushed us close, and if they keep up this level of performance in their remaining games, the evidence suggests that they must bag that elusive first league win sooner or later.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Geoff Quinn. (For full album go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnys/albums )
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – H. Allen, B. Beaumont, T. Garratt, B. Diau, H. Owen, D. Harrison, A. Mudimu (J. Carroll 56), J. Owen (c), R. Kavanagh (O. Simmonds 56), Z. Clarke, J-L Akpa-Akpro. Unused Subs – A. Johnson (GK), O. Ibrahim, B. Hughes, S. El Amri, M. Roberts
Airbus UK Broughton – L. Dutton, J. Phillips (S. Rickett 79), O. Payne, S. Tomassen (c), J. Palmer, G. Edwards, R. Edwards, J. Crowther, A. Davies (B. Knight 85), B. Cornish(L. Dean 70), G. Peers (J. Leblanc-Akpo 70). Unused Subs – J. McHarrie (GK), T. McManus, P. Perry
Flint MOM – Danny Harrison (grabbed the all important winner to cement a solid all round performance)