Flint cruised into the next round of the Welsh Cup thanks to a dominant and impressive first half display, which saw them notch up three goals, a lead they were not to surrender in a more equally balanced second half. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect afternoon for Lee Fowler was the second half dismissal of Luis Lacey, after receiving two yellow cards.
Injuries and unavailability meant that four players were brought into the starting line-up compared to last week, but to a man they all slotted into their roles extremely well and took their chance to impress.
From the point of view of a Flint fan, the first half was a joy to behold, as the Silkmen knocked the ball around with clinical precision, and the front three, ably supported by the wing backs were able to cut through the Denbigh rearguard with relative ease.
The opening goal came on 7 minutes, when a quick break by Flint caught Denbigh napping. Ben Hughes shifted the ball out wide to the right to find Josh Jones, who still had plenty to do, with two defenders facing him. He cut inside, and for a moment a gap opened up where he could have shot with his left foot. Just as it looked as though the opportunity had passed him by, he switched the ball back on to his right, wrong footed the closest defender, and calmly found the bottom corner with a well placed shot.
After that boost, Flint started attacking at will. And a couple of minutes later, Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro sprayed the ball out wide to Harley Peagram. He sent over a dangerous looking ball, only for it to be narrowly deflected the wrong side of the post for a corner, rather than an own goal, which had looked as though it may well have been the case.
But on 12 minutes, the second goal did arrive, and it Jones once again who struck. Following a throw in, the ball was centred and Morgan Roberts produced a clever little flick to set up Jones from about 6 yards out, and he accepted the invitation and slammed the ball home.
The home side were looking shell-shocked but did have a good sight of goal on 17 minutes, following a poor clearance by the Flint defence. The ball was played into the path of ex-Silkman Nathan Brown, and although his shot was on target, keeper Rhys Williams was able to comfortably pat it into the ground, as he made the save.
Going forward, Flint were putting some slick passing moves together, and although the end product was sometimes found wanting, it was extremely good to watch. Indeed, with some better finishing Jones could have wrapped up his hat-trick in the space of 21 minutes. He was released into a one on one situation with Denbigh keeper Aaron Jones, who just managed to get a vital touch on the ball to deflect it around the post. From the resulting short corner, Lacey played the ball into the danger area, and it was met by Anthony Stephens, who brought an excellent save from Jones, as he dived low down at his near post to deny the Flint man.
Other chances came and went for the Silkmen, especially for Akpa-Akpro, who despite getting into good positions, couldn’t get his efforts on target, and when he did find the back of the net, found his effort ruled out for handball.
But four minutes from the break the Denbigh goal was breached for the third time. Lacey showed good purpose in getting to the bye-line and then standing the ball up in the middle of the goal. Hughes somehow managed to outjump two defenders and headed the ball over the line from close range.
Chances were much fewer and far between in the second period, not helped by the dismissal of Lacey with 20 minutes remaining. Having been booked ten minutes into the second half, he unwisely dived in to a challenge to try and win the ball back, inside the opposition half, and received his second caution of the game. However, thanks to the experienced heads of skipper Jay Owen, Danny Harrison and Stephens, Flint were still able to control matters quite comfortably, and kept the home side at arms length, despite their greater share of the play. Indeed, Lee Fowler even took the opportunity to give promising youngster George Maire his first team debut as he introduced him into the action, along with fellow Academy graduates Ashton Mather and Harvey Drazdauskas.
The Silkmen created another good opportunity on 83 minutes, when Akpa-Akpro made a good run, before firing in on goal from the left, with his effort being cleared off the line, with a follow up shot also being blocked.
It wasn’t until the game reached added on time that Denbigh seriously troubled the Flint goal, with a couple of efforts from substitutes. First, Josh Griffiths came running in to get on the end of a low cross, and his shot beat Williams but struck the upright and bounced out. Then Owen Herbert was presented with a good opening when he had a close range strike, but Williams spread himself well to make the save a keep a clean sheet for the second consecutive week.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Steve Parker (All Sports Media)
Line Ups :
Denbigh Town – A. Jones, S. Jones, C. Rogers (D. Clarke 58), W. Holmes (O. Herbert 78), B. Lockley, J. Lock, K. Roberts (J. Griffiths), O. Hansen (H. Lockley 57), T. Weir, P. Fleming (c) (J. Thomas 78), N. Brown
Flint Town United – R. Williams, L. Lacey, H. Peagram (H. Cartwright 72), A. Stephens, M. Roberts, D. Harrison, B. Hughes (H. Drazdauskas 87), J. Owen (c), R. Kavanagh (G. Maire 74), J. Jones (A. Mather 75), J-L Akpa-Akpro Unused Sub – P. Lacey
Flint MOM – Joshua Jones (very sharp up top and weighed in with two well taken goals)