Flint suffered their first defeat in three games when they travelled to Pembrokeshire, and in the process were reduced to 10 men when Anthony Stephens was sent off.
The home side started briskly and were two goals to the good after 15 minutes, as they zipped the ball around at pace. The opening goal came after 5 minutes, when the ball was quickly spread from the right wing across the pitch. John Leahy received it in lots of space about 25 yards out, and thought he’d try his luck from distance. Harry Allen parried the effort, but could only push the ball out to the incoming Rhys Abbruzzese wide on the left of goal, who applied a smart finish to give the Bluebirds the lead.
Flint almost got back on level terms on 9 minutes. A corner was initially punched clear by Haverfordwest’s Zac Jones, but only reached Jay Owen on the edge of the box. His shot was blocked, but the ball spun up into the path of Harry Owen, whose goal bound header was stopped on the line by a covering defender.
The home side then increased their lead on the quarter of an hour mark. From a free kick awarded just inside the Flint half, wide on the left, the ball was played to the edge of the box, and Jordan Davies met it with a looping header, that didn’t look to carry too much of a threat, but Allen could only palm the ball into the back of his net as he stretched for it.
For the remainder of the half, Flint were generally the better of the two sides, and started to exert some pressure on the home defence. On 23 minutes, they put together a slick passing move, which resulted in Okera Simmonds laying the ball off to Jay Owen, but from a good position, the Silkmen’s skipper could only screw his shot wide. In the 37th minute. Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro hit a stinging volley that was blocked, but the ball fell to the feet of Harry Owen, who miscued his shot horribly, allowing a relieved Jones in the Bluebird’s goal to save quite comfortably.
With four minutes to go to the break, Flint did manage to pull a goal back. Simmonds attacked down the right, drawing two defenders, before rolling the ball back to the supporting Bobby Beaumont, who clipped a first time ball to the back post where Akpa-Akpro was on hand to head home.
The second half became a more attritional affair, with play constantly being broken up. Although, with barely a minute on the clock after the restart, Zach Clarke almost got in behind the Bluebirds’ back-line, only for the ball to run away from him at the vital moment, and he was unable to connect with a shot.
Rhys Abberuzzse came close to doubling his tally on 51 minutes, when he received a cross field pass some 25 yards out, struck it with the outside of his boot, and it curled towards the goal before eventually striking the upright and bouncing back into play. That was the cue for the hosts to put the Flint goal under siege for a good ten minute spell or so, but a combination of good defending and good luck on occasions kept them out. Allen saw an attempted clearance be charged down, but fortunately the ball spun wide of his goal rather than back into it.
Having managed to ride out the storm, Flint then had a great chance to grab an equaliser on 75 minutes. Clarke was released through on goal, but Jones was quickly out to meet him, and pulled off a good save with his legs to deny the marksman his fifth goal in three games.
Anthony Stephens, who had been booked earlier in the half, took exception to the awarding of a corner for Haverfordwest, when it looked as though Jordan Carroll had clearly been fouled as he conceded it. Unfortunately, his protestations were too much for the match official, and he received his second yellow, and his marching orders in the 78th minute.
The ten men of Flint sought to salvage something from the game, and pushed Brandon Diau up front in the closing stages. However, despite having several chances to put a good delivery into the danger area, they failed to produce a telling ball, squandering the opportunity on each occasion.
Instead, in the last minute of added on time, a ball was hoisted high in the air out of the Haverfordwest defence into the Flint half. Davies beat Carroll to it, and then squared it to the supporting Ben Fawcett, who rolled it in to make it 3-1.
Report & Photos by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Haverfordwest County : Z. Jones, J. Richards (J. Wilson 50), O. Borg, L. Jenkins, D. Rees (c) (R. Watts 62), K. Patten, J. Leah (J. Veale 61), R. Abbruzzese, B. Fawcett, H. Jones (H. John 79), J. Davies. Unused Subs – L. Idzi (GK), I. Humphries, E. Dugan
Flint Town United : H. Allen, B. Beaumont, T. Garratt, A. Stephens, H. Owen, D Harrison (O. Ibrahim 80), B. Diau, J. Owen (c) (J. Carroll), J-L Akpa-Akpro, Z. Clarke (B. Hughes 90), O. Simmonds (R. Kavanagh 56). Unused Subs – A. Johnson (GK), C. Huxley, S. El Amri
Flint MOM – Harry Owen (a solid game at the back, and with a bit more luck/composure could easily have got a couple of goals to get his side back on the game)