Former Welsh international Dave Edwards was on hand to flick the ball home in added on time to claim all three points for Bala, as the Flint defence paid for a lapse in concentration following a throw in that was incorrectly awarded to the visitors.
Up until the final quarter of the game, the Silkmen had doggedly been holding onto a slender first half lead, given to them by their talisman Michael Wilde, and had spurned at least two other good chances to get the vital second goal, which probably would have been enough to see them over the line, but instead back came Bala to steal the points, with a couple of inspired substitutions by manager Colin Caton proving the catalyst.
The visitors had laid siege to the Flint area in the opening quarter of an hour, but the home defence were resolute, with the central pairing of Kai Edwards and Danny Harrison, in particular, proving dominant, and despite the pressure applied, Bala were unable to forge any decent chances. Flint were set up to make the most of the counter attack, and on 17 minutes almost went ahead. They broke through Jack Kenny down the right, who then held the ball up, and played it back into the path of the supporting Jake Phillips. A first time cross by Phillips was met by dangerman Wilde, but his header finished just wide of the target. Shortly after, a cross from the left found Sam Hart who headed into Bala keeper Harri Lloyd’s hands.
Flint were now gaining in confidence, and on the half hour mark, a fine sweeping move down the left paid dividends. Hart had initiated the play, and after a couple of nice one touch passes he received the ball in space, having made good ground down the flank. He crossed a perfect delivery to pick out the head of Wilde, who from about 8 yards out made no mistake, and planted the ball beyond Lloyd.
On 39 minutes, Wilde almost doubled his and Flint’s tally with a fine solo run that took him into the opposing box. As Lloyd came out to meet him and narrow the angle, Wilde flicked the ball past the Lakesiders’ keeper but the post denied him and the score remained 1-0.
Having not managed to create a meaningful effort on the Flint goal during the opening 45 minutes, Bala set about with more intent in the second half, and with a series of corners ramped up the pressure once more. By and large, though, the Silkmen’s defence were still unruffled, although Nathan Peate was starting to pose a threat at the back post, and on 50 minutes his header was cleared off the line. On 59 minutes, Peate again got on the end of a cross, but Jon Rushton was able to get down well and collect his effort.
Flint were guilty of spurning a golden opportunity on 65 minutes, which if it had gone in would surely have put the game to bed. From a Phillips throw in, Ben Maher collected the ball, turned and near the bye line lifted it into the box. Jack Kenny rose to meet the ball unchallenged, but with the goal in front of him, directed it inches the wrong side of the post.
Lassana Mendes was introduced into the action for Bala shortly after, and on 75 minutes he provided the assist for the equaliser. He received the ball on the left flank, about halfway inside the Flint half, and initially was facing back towards his own goal. He then swivelled and delivered the ball into the Flint box where Chris Venables was gifted a free header to power into the net. Considering all the good defensive work that had hitherto been going on, and where the cross was delivered from, it was a bitter disappointment to concede from this position.
Flint rallied following this setback, and Jake Phillips found himself breaking into the area, screwing his shot just wide. Claims that he had been fouled as he entered the box fell on deaf ears.
A 1-1 draw then looked to be very much on the cards, when, deep into stoppage time, Bala struck again. Sam Hart had clearly played the ball out off Brad Bauress, but incredibly the officials signalled a Bala throw. Flint were then guilty of momentarily switching off, following this error, and to their credit Bala made them pay, as they launched a swift attack down the right flank. Venables exchanged passes with late substitute Chris Sang, and Sang’s delivery eluded the Flint defence, but not Edwards who swept the ball home to the disbelief of the Flint faithful.