In what was a sometimes fiery Flintshire derby, a strong second half showing by the Silkmen was enough to get them over the line and earn their first league win since the end of August. An Okera Simmonds penalty proved the difference, as he netted the second spot kick that was awarded to Flint in the match, having seen his earlier effort saved by Airbus keeper Lewis Dutton who was having an inspired game for the visitors.
Flint were dealt a pre-match blow when Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro broke down during the warm up, and had to be withdrawn from the starting line up. Jack Hindle was promoted from the bench in his place, and took his opportunity to impress by giving by far his best performance in Flint colours.
Hindle combined well with Tyler Garratt after just 3 minutes, with Garratt sending the striker away on goal, but a last ditch recovery tackle blocked his shot. Garratt then produced a deep cross after 14 minutes, which found Simmonds on the back post, but Dutton saved his effort, in what was to be the first of several vital stops by the keeper during the match.
The Airbus players, obviously keen to impress new boss Jamie Reed, then started to find their feet, and began to cancel out the Flint threat, whilst not overly troubling Harry Allen in the home goal, save for some speculative efforts. As the half progressed, it became something of a war of attrition, with the ball spending long periods up in the air, as both sides resorted to long ball tactics to try and break the impasse. All too often, however, the long ball was played more in hope, than anything else.
For the second half, Flint started with much more purpose, and both Simmonds and Larnell Cole attempted to make inroads into the opposition with the ball at their feet, which offered much more promise for the home side. Hindle was also getting more into his stride, and was causing problems with his movement up front.
Five minutes in, and Simmonds took a tumble in the box with the ball at his feet. It looked for all the world as though the ref had pointed to the spot, but instead he was signalling a free kick to Airbus for a dive, and Simmonds was cautioned for simulation.
On 55 minutes, Simmonds went down again inside the box, and this time the official ruled in his favour, awarding the spot kick. The Flint forward elected to take the penalty, but saw his effort saved by Dutton, who kept it out with his legs.
It then seemed to be a case of the Flint attack versus Dutton, as the keeper was kept busy keeping his side in the game.
A swift turn and shot by Hindle was acrobatically kept out by the Airbus keeper, and then following a scramble in the box just after the hour mark, Dutton dived low to save from Hindle once more.
Danny Harrison found himself well placed with a rare sight of goal, but his effort went high over the bar, as Flint continued to press.
On 68 minutes, from a free kick, Brandon Diau helped the ball on to Hindle, and he brilliantly improvised a clever flick on the ball, but once again Dutton was there to fingertip it over the bar.
A second penalty award was to provide the vital breakthrough. This time Dutton was the villain, as he collided with Diau, as the centre half attempted to latch onto a ball played back into the box following a corner. A penalty was awarded for the untidy challenge, but there was a long delay as Diau received treatment. Eventually, Simmonds was presented with his second opportunity from 12 yards, as he elected to take responsibility once more. However, he first had to endure some gamesmanship from Dutton, who took an age to assume his position in the goal, and was booked for his actions. Even whilst that was going on, veteran Airbus centre back Gareth Edwards was in Simmonds’ ear, in a further attempt to put the player off. But to his credit, Simmonds blocked out all the distractions, and at the second time of asking succeeded in blasting his penalty beyond Dutton to give Flint the lead.
Diau was unable to continue following the injury he sustained and was replaced by Jordan Carroll.
In the remaining 15 minutes or so, Airbus tried to press forward, and managed to force a series of free kicks and corners. Edwards was a real threat from these with his height, especially as Diau had departed the action for Flint. But Anthony Stephens used his experience to manage the situation well, and looked to block Edwards at every opportunity.
The Silkmen held firm for a deserved, and much needed win, and completed a league double over their Flintshire neighbours.
Report by Nigel Sheen, Photos by Damon Mead
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – H. Allen, B. Beaumont, B. Diau (J. Carroll 79), A. Stephens, H. Owen, D. Harrison, L. Cole, J. Owen (c), J. Hindle, T. Garratt, O. Simmonds Unused Subs – D. Szczepaniak, O. Ibrahim, L. Ellis, H. Brindley-Peagram, E. Akobeto, A. Mather
Airbus UK Broughton – L. Dutton, J. Phillips, O. Payne, S. Tommasen (c) (T. McManus 46), J. Palmer, G. Edwards, R. Edwards, J. Crowther, B. Knight (C. Curran 56), J. Eyre (A. Davies 74), G. Peers . Unused Subs – M. Busby (GK), B. Cornish, B. Nicholas, E. Orton
Flint MOM – Jack Hindle (a creative display which showed Flint fans what he can offer the team)