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Match Report

Kaiser with the Equaliser to stun Saints

Flint Town United
The New Saints
Flint Town United
The New Saints
If you’re visiting the Essity this season, the morale of the story is not to leave early, as once again Flint served up some late drama
An added on time equaliser from centre half Kai Edwards gave the Silkmen a share of the points, as Flint rallied against a New Saints side that had earlier been reduced to 10 men following the sending off of Leo Smith.
Up until Smith’s departure, Saints had dominated the play but a combination of excellent goalkeeping, brave, last ditch defending and the woodwork had limited them to a solitary goal. The sending off then turned the game on its head, as Flint took the game to their illustrious opponents and were awarded with a series of free kicks around the edge of the box, as Saints suddenly looked rattled. Chances came and went for the Silkmen in the final quarter with Paul Harrison in the away goal being kept very busy, and it looked as though they would hold out, until up popped Edwards to lash home a loose ball with the game deep into stoppage time.

The Saints started off by stroking the ball around confidently, and began to look particularly dangerous down their right, where Danny Davies was being afforded too much time and space. In the 8th minute, he cut inside after receiving the ball from the opposite flank, and unleashed a curling shot that finished just the wrong side of the point from his perspective. Then, Declan McManus had a shot deflected just wide as Saints continued to press.

It was beginning to look like a mirror image of the previous week’s game when Connah’s Quay dictated play and Flint couldn’t get close to them for long periods.

Jon Rushton was called upon to pull off a terrific save on 25 minutes, as he managed to push a Jon Routledge shot over the bar. Shortly after, he was in the midst of a frantic goalmouth scramble, as the opponents peppered the Flint goal. He pulled off an initial point blank save, before the ball was bouncing around pinball style and Flint defenders were throwing legs and bodies in the way to block it and somehow manage to clear it off the line on a couple of occasions.

Davies was denied again on the half hour mark, having cut in from the flank once more. For once Rushton was beaten by his shot, but fortunately for Flint it rebounded back off the post.

Just as they had looked to have weathered the storm and would reach the break all square, a couple of lapses in concentration cost Flint. First, despite having ample chances to clear the ball from the danger zone, they dwelt on it, put themselves under self inflicted pressure and had to concede a needless corner. Then, they switched off, allowed TNS to take a swift, short corner, with Ryan Brobbel being allowed too much space to get into a dangerous position, and deliver a low cross into the path of Ryan Astles, who had the easiest of chances to tap the ball in from close range.

From the restart, Saints continued to press, but unlike the previous week, where an early goal killed the game off , this time Flint managed to hold out. Rushton had to be alert to quickly dive on top of the ball to prevent McManus from getting on the end of it, as it hurtled into his six yard box. Then, on 52 minutes, Chris Marriott sent over a dangerous cross which found Robles, but Rushton was able to claim. A few minutes later, Routledge made a determined run into the Flint box, supplied a low cross and McManus struck his shot onto the post.

Flint were trying their best to break out, and started to put together some better passages of play in the middle of the park, that were causing Saints players to give away fouls. Leo Smith was penalised with two yellow cards in the space of around 5 minutes either side of the hour mark, and his dismissal on 63 minutes was to prove the catalyst for the Flint fightback.

From the resulting free kick after his second booking, Michael Wilde produced a terrific header that struck the post, and then was hastily cleared away from along the goal line. The game was now beginning to turn completely on it’s head, with Flint becoming the dominant force, although Saints were still to pose a threat on the break.

However, with the dominant Astles at the back, it was still proving difficult for the Silkmen to make sufficient inroads in terms of clear cut chances.

But they kept persevering, and gradually, the Saints rearguard began to creak. Alex Jones was released through on goal on 73 minutes, from a fine through ball. Harrison raced out to meet him, spread himself well, and pulled off a good block to deny the Flint skipper the equaliser. Marriott was then penalised for a deliberate handball just outside the box, as Wilde got the better of him, and the New Saints captain was lucky to escape without a caution. From the resulting free kick, Ben Nash rose magnificently to power a header on goal, but somehow Harrison managed to claw it away and stop it from crossing the line.

Alex Jones made a surge into the box on 82 minutes, pulling the ball back to Wilde on the edge of the area, but for once the Flint striker’s touch let him down, and he scooped his shot over the bar.

Down at the other end, Jordan Williams managed to burst past Kai Edwards, although Edwards did manage to force him slightly wide, and Rushton stood up well to parry the substitute’s effort away.

The game was now set up for it’s grandstand finish. From a throw in on the left, Ben Maher received the ball, and delivered it into the TNS box. It was half cleared to Nash, whose effort on goal was blocked by Blaine Hudson before it ricocheted into the path of Edwards, who thumped it home, to the delight of the majority in the Essity. TNS appealed in vain for an offside decision, but under the current interpretation of the law, with Hudson having made a deliberate attempt to play the ball, Edwards was clearly onside.

Next Friday Flint travel to Aberystwyth with the game being streamed live on Sgorio’s Facebook and YouTube platforms.