Flint finally overcame a dogged Buckley side with two second half goals, after the visitors had succeeded in frustrating the Silkmen for the opening 45 minutes, with a high pressing game that the home side found difficult to cope with. But the introduction of half time substitutes Jake Phillips and Harley Peagram injected fresh life and vigour into a hitherto lacklustre Flint display, and eventually turned the tide in their favour.
Buckley were without a regular goalkeeper, having seen their normal number one Ryan Goldston injured last Saturday, and his replacement subsequently being suspended after he was sent off. So, outfield player Keiron Moore was forced to deputise, and to be fair acquitted himself admirably, saving his side several times in one on one situations.
The first of those arose on 8 minutes, when Joshua Jones ran onto a Anthony Stephens lofted ball. But Moore blocked well with his legs. Ten minutes later, Luis Lacey showed good skill, jinking his way inside the box, before laying the ball off to Rhys Kavanagh on the edge of the box, whose on target effort was deflected over the bar.
But that was about as good as it got for the Silkmen in a dour first period, as an organised Buckley team defended strongly, and with relative comfort. Indeed, they could have even gone into the interval a goal to the good, were it not for Rhys Williams in the Flint goal springing smartly to his left to turn an effort from Max Moore around the post in added on time. From the corner, Callum Humprhies was gifted a clean strike, but lifted it over the bar, in a let off for the home side.
The introduction of Phillips and Peagram breathed new life into Flint after the break, with Phillips in particular making his mark on the game, almost single handedly raising the tempo.
On 50 minutes, he delivered a wicked inswinging corner that deceived Moore, but fortunately a covering defender was able to head it off the line. Just before the hour mark, Elliott Reeves, who had come on in the first half for the injured Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro, was released into a one on one situation with Moore, but a loss of control as he neared the keeper allowed the Buckley custodian to clear.
The breakthrough arrived on 63 minutes, and it was unsurprising that Phillips was instrumental in it. Receiving the ball in midfield, he spurned the chance of a square ball, instead opting to thread a ball into the path of Jones who was poised on the shoulder of the last defender. Jones accelerated away, looked up and lobbed a lovely delivery over Moore and into the net.
Flint were now starting to look comfortable, and another Phillips delivery from a corner picked out Stephens at the far post, but the defender was unable to direct his effort on target as he sent his header wide of the post.
Then Joe Williams released Phillips through on goal, but for the third time in the game, Moore came to the rescue in a 1 on 1 situation, saving well with his legs.
The clinching second goal arrived on 74 minutes. Jay Owen delivered a free kick into the danger area, and Reeves ghosted in between a couple of defenders to get the merest touch on the ball with a glancing header to send the ball beyond Moore.
A quick counter from Buckley almost paid dividends on 82 minutes, with a ball crossed from the right to find Connor Littler, who sliced his strike from close range and sent it spinning over the bar.
A minute later, Reeves did well to win possession in the right corner, before cutting in and curling a shot just around the post.
In the final minute the Silkmen could have made it three, after Williams played in Peagram, but yet again Moore was on hand to save with his legs , and cap an excellent individual display.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos courtesy of Buckley Town FC.
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – R. Williams, L. Lacey, J. Williams, A. Stephens, S. Forde, D. Harrison (P. Lacey 88), B. Hughes (J. Phillips 46), J. Owen (c), R. Kavanagh (H. Brindley 46), J. Jones, J-L Akpa-Akpro (E. Reeves 31). Unused Subs – J. Beswick (GK), M. Roberts
Buckley Town – K. Moore, J. Allen, D. Roberts, D. Burgess (c), C. Humprhies (J. Donroe 80), S. McHarrie, S. McCormick (A. Boydell 58), A. Bellis, C. Littler, L. Driscoll (A. Smith 66), M. Moore. Unused Subs – L. Atkins, C. Urquhart, C. Meredith, R. Burdsall
Flint MOM – Jake Phillips (his introduction turned the game decisively in Flint’s favour)