Flint began their Phase 2 campaign in commanding fashion as they scored 5 goals against visitors Aberystwyth without reply. Manager Lee Fowler promised his side would approach the second half of the league in an attack minded manner and be on the front foot, and he was as good as his word, as Flint recorded their biggest win of the season.
With just 3 minutes on the clock, the home side served notice of what was to come, as Anthony Stevens delivered a corner onto the head of Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro, who was unable to find the target. But just a minute later, he did just that to give his side the lead, After Bobby Beaumont had won possession back for his side on the right wing, he found Okera Simmonds who then delivered a fine early cross and Akpa-Akpro got on the end of it to guide the ball over the line past Matthew Turner in the Aber goal.
Aber looked to quickly hit back, and Brandon Diau had to be alert to clear the ball from just in front of his goal line after John Owen got on the end of a through ball and slid a shot past Harry Allen as he came out to meet him.
But ill discipline started to get the better of the away side, and they were conceding numerous free kicks inside their own half, which Flint looked to take advantage of. Akpa-Akpro in particular was causing all sorts of problems to the Aber defence, winning more than his fair share of headers, and closing down the ball to great effect.
The home side extended their lead on 21 minutes, from well worked corner routine. Stephens rolled the ball towards the edge of the box, and the incoming Simmonds met it sweetly, and smashed a shot through a crowd of players into the back of the net, in a replica of his match winning goal on the opening day of the season at Pontypridd.
With 3 minutes to the break, Aber almost pulled a goal back following a free kick from out on the left. Harry Arnison tried to catch Allen out with his delivery which was heading under the bar, but the Flint shot stopper was alert enough to stretch and fingetrip it over his goal for a corner.
Any chance of a second half comeback by the visitors was dealt an almost fatal blow within a minute of the restart when Flint scored their third. Tyler Garratt received the ball out wide from Akpa-Akpro and his cross from the left picked out Zach Clarke, who rose to meet it, and plant his header beyond the reach of Turner to claim his fourth goal in just two starts for the Silkmen.
The Seasiders tried to get a foothold in the game, but they were in the main restricted to half chances, with former Flint favourite Mark Cadwallader having to endure a frustrating afternoon up front for the away side.
Akpa-Akpro released Clarke for a run through on goal in the 74th minute, with a well executed pass. But the forward was bundled over in the box following a clumsy tackle from behind by Billy Kirkman, and Akpa-Akpro stepped up to despatch the penalty into the corner of the goal off the upright to make it 4-0.
A great team goal rounded off the scoring for the Silkmen with a few minutes remaining. Danny Harrison, Ben Hughes and Rhys Kavanagh all combined well to knock the ball around in a triangle on the right side, before Hughes released Kavanagh who crossed across the face of the goal, and Diau was situated at the far post to side foot home from close range.
From a team who were struggling to score goals in the latter half of phase 1, Flint have suddenly been transformed in the last couple of games, scoring 9 goals and conceding just 1.
They now face two away games, the first of which, next weekend, sees them make the long journey to Haverfordwest, although morale will no doubt be high following on from this display. It was also pleasing to note that Harvey Drazdauskas was introduced into the action towards the end of the game, making him the youngest Flint player to appear in the Cymru Premier at the age of 16 years and 10 months.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Geoff Quinn (For full album go to www.flickr.com/quinnys/albums)
Line Ups :
Flint Town United – H. Allen, B. Beaumont, T. Garratt, A. Stephens, H. Owen, D. Harrison (H. Drazdauskas 88), B. Diau, J. Owen (c), J-L Akpa-Akpro, Z. Clarke (B. Hughes 84), O. Simmonds (R. Kavanagh 57). Unused Subs – A. Johnson (GK), O. Ibrahim, C. Huxley, S. El Amri
Aberystwyth Town – M. Turner, L. Walsh, B. Kirkman, L. Bradford, S. Litchfield, J. Thorn (c), H. Arnison, I. Lewis, J. Owen, M. Cadwallader (S. Davies 77), J. Canavan (J. Evans 62). Unused Subs – N. Flint, H. Horwood, A. Darlington
Flint MOM – Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro (an exemplary display from the forward who drove his side on from the first whistle to the last)