A dramatic equaliser scored in the 95th minute by the home side’s keeper Carl Jones sent this tie into a penalty shoot out, with Flint eventually prevailing 8-7 in the sudden death spot kicks.
There was little notice of what was to come later in the game, as the first half was a very low key, humdrum affair, with neither keeper being seriously tested. Flint seemed to struggle to get to terms with the heavy pitch, and passes kept going astray with alarming regularity.
The home side created a good opportunity on 7 minutes, when Cai Powell went on a rampaging run through the middle, before reaching the edge of the box, and slipping the ball out to Liam Morris who was in space on the left. But from a good position, he blazed his effort over the bar.
In the 12th minute, Flint went close when an Anthony Stephens free kick smacked against the Bangor crossbar.
Fortunately, the second period served up some more exciting fayre, and the introduction of Harley Peagram for the Silkmen injected some much needed urgency into their attacking moves. It was Peagram who was instrumental in setting up the opening goal, as he did well foraging down the left, won the ball in the corner, and played it into the path of Elliott Reeves, who looked up, saw his opportunity and drilled a low shot across the goal into the corner of the net.
Having taken the lead, Flint looked reasonably comfortable, and were posing quite a threat to the Bangor rearguard, for whom Iolo Hughes, was having an excellent game, with his interceptions and headed clearances proving pivotal in keeping them in the game. When he was bypassed, the Flint forwards were unable to capitalise, with Reeves being a case in point when a heavy touch knocked the ball through to Jones in the Bangor goal after he been played in to a one on one situation.
With 10 minutes remaining, the Silkmen spurned another opportunity to effectively put the game to bed. Josh Jones made a dangerous run into the box, and his shot was blocked, only for it to run across goal, and be partially cleared. However, it ran to the incoming Ben Hughes, who from wide on the right, fired it back goalwards, with Jones caught out of position. But the shot lacked sufficient power and accuracy, and Jones was allowed to trap it under hios foot on the goal-line before effecting the clearance.
Whilst Bangor had been showing plenty of endeavour, they were seemingly lacking a cutting edge up front, and despite getting into good positions in and around the box, they weren’t seriously threatening Rhys Williams in the Flint goal. It was from corners that they looked the most dangerous, with inswinging deliveries under the crossbar being their most effective tool.
A corner delivery on 83 minutes gave them a great chance to equalise, as Hughes found himself free at the back post, but he lifted the ball over the bar, in a let off for the Silkmen.
Flint looked to have done enough to have seen the game out, but as we entered the fifth minute of stoppage time, Bangor were awarded a hotly disputed corner. Another excellent delivery into a crowded 6 yard box, was met by Williams who attempted to punch clear, but under pressure from all sides, the ball dropped down into the goalmouth area, where an almighty scramble ensued. Williams’ opposite number, Jones, had been sent up for the corner in an attempt to salvage something, and he did just that, as he managed to force the ball over the line, and trigger scenes of delirium amongst the Bangor supporters.
There was barely time for the game to restart, before the final whistle blew, with the Bangor players jubilant and the Flint players looking crestfallen.
Matters looked to getting worse for the Silkmen, when Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro stepped up to take the first penalty of the shootout, only to send his effort high over the bar. The pendulum appeared to have swung decisively in Bangor’s favour as Corrig McGonigle calmly dispatched his spot kick to give his side the lead in the shootout. The next two kicks were both scored, giving Bangor a 2-1 lead. Anthony Stephens then lashed his penalty into the corner to draw Flint level, although they had taken an extra kick. But the next twist in the drama was about to unfold, as Rhys Williams dived to his right to keep out Gethin Thomas’ effort. So, after three penalties apiece it was all square at 2-2.
The next four players all held their nerves and scored, meaning it went to sudden death at 4-4 after the regulation 10 spot kicks.
If anything, the quality of penalty taking seemed to improve with neither keeper being able to do much about things, as we reached 7-7 after eight penalties apiece.
Sol Forde then strode up and tucked his away to make it 8-7 to Flint, with Cai Powell for Bangor then being the unfortunate player to make the crucial mistake as he sent his kick wide of the post.
So, by the narrowest of margins, Flint progress into the last 16 of this season’s Welsh Cup, and they will find out who their opponents are in the draw which will take place at 8pm next Friday.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Steve Parker (All Sports Media)
Line Ups :
Bangor 1876 – C. Jones, C. Powell, J. Culshaw, J. Sullivan (G. Thomas 77), I. Hughes, C. Jones, J.Petrie (c) (C. Barry 83), C. Whelan (D. Cox 75), S. Jones, C. McConigle, L. Morris Unused Subs – B. Owen, H. Shaw
Flint Town United – R. Williams, J. Phillips (H. Peagram 61), J. Williams (J-L Akpa-Akpro 67), A. Stephens, S. Forde, P. Lacey, B. Hughes, J. Owen (c), R. Kavanagh, E. Reeves, J. Jones. Unused Subs – L. Murphy (GK), M. Roberts, A. Mather
Flint MOM – Elliott Reeves (worked hard for his team up top and applied a clinical finish when the opening came along)