A goal to the good at the break, and Flint were looking comfortable, but they were the wrong end of a couple of crucial refereeing decisions in the second period that helped turn the game in the visitors favour, and which Newtown fully capitalised on.
Flint’s Harry Allen was the first of the two keepers to be called upon as the game was underway, tipping over a Shane Sutton shot from the edge of the box on 25 minutes, after Zeli Ismail had pulled the ball back to him. Barely a minute later, Nick Rushton was allowed the freedom to run to the 18 yard area, before hitting a shot that had Allen beaten, but bounced back off the post.
Flint responded when Bobby Beaumont delivered a dangerous cross, which Ryan Sears did well to deal with by heading clear from within his six yard box. This was the prelude to a decent spell by the home side, which culminated in the opening goal on 34 minutes. Omar Ibrahim delivered the ball from the left, and Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro knocked it back across goal to Mark Cadwallader, who was physically stronger than his marker and picked his spot in the corner of the net from about 8 yards out.
Newtown fought back, and Flint skipper Jay Owen was forced to head clear from under his own crossbar when a deep cross beat Allen. Just before the break, Akpa-Akpro sent a lovely curling shot just over the bar for the home side.
Apart from one lapse on 51 minutes, when Henry Cowans got on the end of a ball from barely 6 yards out but somehow contrived to put it over the bar, Flint were looking reasonably comfortable at the onset of the second half, and were forcing corners and throw ins deep in the opposition half. On 55 minutes. Newtown keeper Dave Jones had to pull off a smart save from an Akpa-Akpro header who was supplied by Anthony Stephens.
The Silkmen then had a strong claim for a penalty that went unheeded, when Harry Owen was being grabbed around the neck as a corner was delivered. But as play was allowed to continue, disaster struck, as Newtown equalised with their very next attack. Aaron Williams received the ball following good interplay down the right, and cut it back into the path of Cowans, who fired his first effort at Allen, but he followed up and had the simplest of tap ins as the ball came back off the prone keeper.
Then came the moment of real controversy which really changed the game. Owen made what appeared to be a great challenge to cleanly win the ball just outside of the area, and then after a long pause, the referee decided to award a free kick, and added further insult to injury by booking Owen. Ismail stepped up to plant a quality free kick into the net from around 22 yards out and swing the game into the visitors favour.
Flint were then forced to leave gaps a the back as they chased the game. And they were caught by a classic counter attack with just under ten minutes remaining. Ismail broke swiftly down the left, and delivered a pin point centre, which just eluded the Flint defender and fell just right for substitute Jake Walker who poked it home off the post.
That was effectively game over, and Flint’s misery was complete when Rushton lofted the ball to Williams to nod home from 6 yards out late on.
The final scoreline was somewhat harsh on the home side, but we are on a run at the moment where mistakes are inevitably getting punished, and key decisions are tending to go against us.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Damon Mead.
Line Ups : Flint Town United – H. Allen, B. Beaumont, O. Ibrahim (L. Cole 71), A. Stephens, H. Owen, D. Harrison (B. Hughes 81), B. Diau, J. Owen (c) (A. Mather 89), J-L Akpa-Akpro, M. Cadwallader, O. Simmonds. Unused Subs – A. Johnson (GK), J. Carroll, H. Brindley-Peagram, M. Roberts
Newtown – D. Jones, R. Sears (J. Walker 81), C. Roberts, K. Mills-Evans (c), S. Sutton, N. Rushton, G. Hughes, H. Cowans, A. Williams, L. Robles (R. Hesden 90) Z. Ismail (M. Jones 87). Unused Subs – J. Hyde (GK), B. Taylor, N. Aris, D. Downs
Flint MOM – Jay Owen (lead by example and put in a great shift)