A first half strike by Joe Williams proved the difference between two well matched sides in this Flintshire derby, as Flint leapfrogged visitors Airbus to move into second place in the table.
With the wind at their backs, the Silkmen created the better chances in the opening half. On 5 minutes, following a nice move through the middle, Elliott Reeves laid the ball off into the path of Rhys Kavanagh, whose shot went just the wrong side of the post.
Kaiden Cooke caught the eye for the visitors, and midway through the half he tested Rhys Williams in the Flint goal with a shot from 16 yards, but the keeper made a comfortable save.
Flint then reasserted themselves and were the dominant side for the remainder of the half. Just before the half hour mark, Luis Lacey made good inroads down the left, before squaring the ball to Jake Phillips, who, after weighing up his options, decided to unleash a 30 yard thunderbolt, which struck the upright before bouncing clear. Unfortunately, Phillips departed the action shortly after, suffering a gashed knee in a midfield challenge for the ball.
The decisive goal arrived on 39 minutes, following a throw in on the left. Elliott Reeves received possession near the bye-line before turning and making a marauding run back across the area. Under pressure from defenders he laid the ball back to Kavanagh who in turn found Ben Hughes. As Hughes tried to create some space for a shot he was the subject of a hefty challenge, and just as appeals were about to be made for a penalty, the ball ran into the path of Williams, who showed no hesitation in thumping it into the back of the net.
In added time at the end of the half, Flint could have doubled their advantage. Good pressure by Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro on keeper Keighan Jones led to him hurriedly playing the ball out wide, where Jay Owen was able to win back possession. He chipped the ball back across into the 6 yard box where it was met by Reeves, but somehow Jones produced an acrobatic save to deny the striker.
In the second half it was rather a different story, as Airbus upped their game and spent long periods camped in the Flint final third. The defensive trio of Sol Forde, Danny Harrison and Anthony Stephens all acquitted themselves very well as they repelled the attackers, and on the occasions that they were breached, Rhys Williams was on hand to make some vital saves.
The Wingmakers served early notice, when, from a disputed throw, Jordan Evans sent in a shot that Williams was able to beat out at his near post.
Too much space was being ceded to the visitors midfield, and in particular to Ryan Edwards, who was making the most of it. On 65 minutes, he played in Craig Lindfield, who got beyond the Flint defensive line. With Williams committed, Lindfield could only find the side netting with his effort as he was forced wide.
Williams then found himself kept busy as he protected his goal. First he produced a great reflex save from a Steve Tomassen header, then he dived full length to keep out a long range shot.
Harley Peagram and Josh Jones had been introduced from the bench for the Silkmen and their pace was to prove effective on the break for Flint. Akpa-Akpro released Peagram down the left, and as he raced away, Jones hared down the centre in support. Peagram crossed the ball to Jones and his goalbound effort struck the heel of the Airbus keeper as he spread himself, and spun over the top of the bar.
Shortly after, Jones showed some nice skill to make space for himself in the centre of the box, forcing his namesake into making another good save as he got away his shot.
James Davies had been sent on for the visitors, and he went close on a couple of occasions before Flint were able to close out the match. First, he knocked the ball past Williams who had come out to meet him, but was unable to collect it and it rolled the wrong side of the post from his point of view, Then, from the left, he produced a fine curling shot that eluded Williams and struck the inside of the post, but which remarkably bounced out instead of in, and was hastily cleared.
With that let off, Flint breathed a collective sigh of relief and were able to see the rest of the game out.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos copyright and courtesy of George Nikolov
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – R. Williams, J. Phillips (B. Hughes 35), J. Williams, A. Stephens, S. Forde, D. Harrison, L. Lacey, J. Owen (c), R. Kavanagh (J. Jones 51), E. Reeves (H. Peagram 68), J-L. Akpa-Akpro Unused Subs – J. Beswick (GK), H. Cartwright, M. Roberts, P. Lacey
Airbus UK Broughton – K. Jones, N. Grogan, K. Evans, S. Tomassen (c), J. Palmer, K. Platt, R. Edwards, J. Evans. G. Peers (J. Davies 72), K. Cooke (S. Baker 85), C. Lindfield (O. Lanceley 72) Unused Subs – L. Dutton (GK), S. Rickett, E. Orton, T. McManus
Flint MOM – Sol Forde (a no frills, solid defensive display for his side)