Yet again Flint returned home from Maes Tegid empty handed, but they at least had the consolation of running their hosts close, and scoring the two best goals of the night. Although on the balance of play, Bala were worthy winners, Flint remained in contention right up until the end, unlike on their visit last season, when they capitulated and were defeated 5-0, and so it is a further sign of the progress made at the club since we returned to the Premier League.
With Sam Hart and Callum Bratley both missing from the lineup, this was always going to be something of an uphill struggle, but the Silkmen started the brighter, with Conor Harwood making an early dart down the right and forcing a corner, which unfortunately came to nought. Then, on 10 minutes, Mark Cadwallader escaped down the left and centred a perfect delivery to Michael Wilde, whose deft flick sent the ball spinning just the wrong side of the post. Next up was Ollie Nugent, who weaved his way through the Bala defence, before shooting across the face of goal, his effort being deflected out for another corner. From the resulting set piece, Kai Edwards was penalised for climbing, and Bala profited from taking a quick free kick that caught Flint napping. Keeper Alex Ramsey sent the ball long up to the edge of the Flint box. As it cleared Ben Maher, it fell perfectly for Will Evans, who lobbed Ryan Woods to put the Lakesiders 1-0 up with their first meaningful effort of the night.
Flint’s response was almost instantaneous, as they hit back a minute later, on the quarter hour mark. Bala had conceded a free kick 20 yards out in a central position. Up stepped Jake Phillips, to smash the ball around the wall and past Ramsey into the net, to claim his first goal in the Cymru Premier league.
Unfortunately, parity did not last long, and Bala retook the lead on 22 minutes. Some good, fast interchange of passing between Dave Edwards and Calum Woods down the right hand side, carved open some space, and the ball was knocked into the box, and flicked on into the path of Dean Ebbe, who just about managed to keep himself onside and nod home just inside the post from about 6 yards out.
This was the signal for Bala to intensify their raids down the right flank, and Flint were finding it increasingly difficult to contain the thrusts from the hosts. A couple of minutes after the goal, Woods was again involved, when he was allowed to cut in from the right, and send in a curling shot that crept just wide of his namesake’s post in the Flint goal.
Flint’s attacks were now becoming more sporadic, but nevertheless they came close to grabbing an equaliser when Phillips delivered a ball to the far post. Ramsey completely missed his punch, but no-one was able to take advantage and force home the loose ball. Then, on the stoke of half time skipper Alex Jones was chopped down, and looked to have been just inside the box when he was caught, but the referee awarded a free kick on the edge, and this time Phillip’s effort just cleared the bar.
With the game in added on time in the first period, Bala came close, when another ball from the right was played in, and Will Evans looked certain to convert from close range, but Woods spread himself well to pull off a good save and deny the Bala player his second goal.
Early in the second half, the Lakesiders extended their lead. Evans was this time the provider, squaring the ball to find Chris Venables, who was afforded way too much space to pick his spot and squeeze the ball home. Bala then upped the tempo again, and Woods was called upon to make another excellent save, this time with his feet, as he foiled Ebbe. Some alert defending by Ben Nash prevented Venables from further adding to his tally, when a great last ditch tackle nicked the ball off the Bala hitman, and allowed Woods to claim it.
To their credit, Flint showed great resilience, and hit back once more on 62 minutes, with the goal of the game. A long throw from Phillips, was headed partially clear, but Dan Roberts was positioned to meet it sweetly on the volley, and send the ball screaming into the net from fully 25 yards.
Evans wend close for Bala on 82 minutes, as he ran into the box and hit s powerful shot that Woods was once again equal to.
Flint struggled to create any more clear cut openings to grab the equaliser, and their last chance was from a free kick won by Jones, after he had made a good surging run into the heart of the Bala defence. But the opportunity was wasted as the delivery was played too close to Ramsey, who was able to collect and avert any danger.
This defeat drops Flint down to fifth, although we are still only five points off second place.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Bala Town – A. Ramsey, C. Woods, S. Smith, N. Peate, A. Kay, K. Smith, P. Rutherford, W. Evans, D. Ebbe (O. Shannon 81), D. Edweards, C. Venables (c). Unused Subs – J. Spittle, L. Mendes, B. Bauress, O. Southern
Flint Town United – R. Woods, J. Phillips, O. Nugent (S. Duffy 81), B. Maher, B. Nash, K. Edwards, D. Roberts, A. Jones (c), M. Wilde, M. Cadwallader (J. Davis 90), C. Harwood (J. Higgins 75). Unused Subs – J. Rushton (GK), L. Ellis, J. Williams, B. Hughes
Flint MOM – Dan Roberts (scored an absolute worldie, so on that basis alone deserves the accolade)