Whilst both sides were missing key players through injury and suspension, Nomads were at least able to field a starting 11 which still boasted considerable first team experience, whereas Lee Fowler had little alternative but to pitch some youngsters into the fray, with Ben Hughes and Morgan Roberts handed starting positions. There was also a surprise recall up front for Jack Hindle. All of the Flint players rose to the challenge superbly, and a disciplined, organised performance saw them emerge with a well deserved, and what could prove to be, vital point, if they follow this up with similar displays against Aberystwyth and Pontypridd as they complete their phase 1 fixtures.
Hughes was immediately making his presence felt in the midfield, and on 5 minutes set off on a mazy run down the right that took him into the box and ended with Nomads keeper Andy Firth being called into action to block his shot.
Ex-Silkmen Callum Bratley looked to be the biggest threat for the visitors in the opening period, as he was constantly probing down the left side and threatening to cut infield.
On 33 minutes, Aeron Edwards moved into space and unleashed a strong shot which Flint keeper Harry Allen initially did well to parry, before spreading himself to block a follow up effort. Nomads were successful in forcing a number of corners during the half, but Flint were equally successful in defending them, with Allen punching the ball clear on several occasions and the defence, as ever being marshalled by the impressive Anthony Stephens, coming up with vital headed clearances.
On 44 minutes, Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro lofted a nice ball over the Nomads backline for Hughes to run onto and finish from a narrow angle, but the youngster was flagged for being marginally offside and his effort was ruled out.
At the start of the second half, the Nomads noticeably upped their tempo, and Flint were forced to weather a difficult 10 minute spell. On 48 minutes, Josh Williams hit a shot from the edge of the box, which Allen got down well to save, before Ryan Harrington cleared the bar with an effort from a dangerous position.
On 55 minutes it was Nomads turn to have a goal ruled out, for a foul on Allen who had initially smothered an Edwards effort after he had managed to break through the Flint defensive line.
Just before the hour mark, Callum Morris was allowed too much time and space to run straight through the middle, before curling a shot wide of the Flint post.
The home side created their first real chance of the second half on 65 minutes, when Stephens floated a delivery into the box, which Bobby Beaumont met, but his header flew just over the Nomads bar.
Jordan Carroll had been enjoying a decent game for Flint in the midfield, with some neat and tidy passing, but an underhit header back to his keeper almost proved costly on 73 minutes. As Mike Hayes looked to latch onto the ball, Allen just got there first, and his attempted clearance rebounded off Hayes, before the danger was finally averted.
In the closing stages, the Flint box came under renewed pressure, as crosses rained in. On 83 minutes, a mad scramble developed following Allen’s punch not having sufficient distance on it, and Williams was presented with an opportunity but fired over.
A break up the other end of the pitch almost saw Flint sneak it on 85 minutes. Hughes combined well with Akpa-Akpro, and the forward got to the bye line before pulling the ball back into the path of Liam Ellis, who had got himself into a good position. Unfortunately, the Flint substitute couldn’t find sufficient power on his shot, and Firth made a fairly routine save.
Bratley then raided down the left, before delivering a dangerous ball that eluded attackers and defenders alike, until it fell to Morris just beyond the far post, who screwed his shot wide of the upright., as the Flint fans held their breath.
Before the game, the large crowd joined in a minute’s applause in appreciation of Brummie, our former groundsman, who had sadly passed away the night before. Brum would have been rightly proud of the battling qualities shown by his beloved Flint side as they took a point from their high flying near neighbours, and it was a fitting tribute to the memory of this marvellous man who devoted so much time to the club over the last 25 years or so.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Damon Mead & Geoff Quinn.
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – H. Allen, J. Carroll, O. Ibrahim, A. Stephens (c), B. Diau, B. Beaumont, L. Cole, B. Hughes, J. Hindle (L. Ellis 70), J-L Akpa-Akpro, M. Roberts. Unused Subs – N. Collings (GK), H. Brindley-Peagram, E. Akobeto, A. Mather
Connah’s Quay Nomads – A. Firth, J. Disney (c), D. Holmes, R. Harrington, A. Edwards, J. Williams, A. Williams (L. Hogan 86), C. Morris, M. Hayes (P.Mendes 75), J. Malkin, C. Bratley. Unused Subs – J. Rushton (GK), J. Watkin, J. Pownall, L. Bennett, J. Sodhi
Flint MOM – Ben Hughes (a lively performance from the youngster who provided a valuable outlet for his side)