Connah’s Quay Nomads kept up their impressive run of form with a 2-0 victory in this Boxing Day derby courtesy of two second half goals.
Flint had done a reasonably effective job of containing the hosts during the first half and limiting their opportunities. The Silkmen were, however, susceptible to crosses being delivered into the box, and there was almost an air of inevitably that a slip or failed clearance would from one of these deliveries would prove to be their undoing at some point in the game.
In terms of an attacking threat, Flint seemed to rely on the pace of Okera Simmonds as their outlet. But as he was usually marshalled by two defenders, it was a tough ask for the player to break free and fashion a decent chance for himself. He did find himself in a bit of space in the 10th minute, and he tried a speculative effort from long range that Nomads keeper Andy Firth dealt comfortably with.
Nomads were generally mastering the tricky conditions of the heavy pitch better than their opponents, and little short passes into midfield from the flanks were often their way of creating openings through the Flint defensive block. On 14 minutes Aron Williams worked his way into a shooting position inside the box, but a good block denied him, and then Flint mounted a swift counter attack up the other end of the pitch, but an initially promising situation fizzled out to nothing, and Firth had a routine catch as the wrong option was chosen.
An inswinging corner from Anthony Stephens then looked to put the Nomads defence under some pressure, and with Brandon Diau lurking at the backpost, the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar just before the tall centre half could connect with it.
On 20 minutes, Bobby Beaumont was called upon to put his body on the line, as he blocked well from Joe Malkin’s goalbound effort. Five minutes later, Firth was called upon to make the first real save of the game up to that point, when he pushed a snapshot from Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro wide of his post, as it looked as though the Flint striker’s effort was going to break the deadlock.
Thereafter, it was mostly a rearguard action from the visitors, as Nomads continued to push forwards, but were frustrated by a resolute Flint rearguard, well marshalled by Stephens,, and we entered the interval goalless.
Flint began the second half with a bit more purpose to their play in terms of attacking intent, but were left flatfooted on the hour mark as Nomads took the lead. Danny Holmes was not closed down as he advanced down the right, and he delivered a perfect ball onto the head of Malkin, who outjumped Diau, and powered it into the net.
The second goal arrived in the 73rd minute. Paulo Mendes got to the bye-line and crossed, the ball striking the crossbar, and bouncing perfectly into the path of George Horan, who despite the attention of Diau, was able to bundle it over the line.
Some of Flint’s younger players were introduced from the bench, and the Silkmen did put together a few nice passages of play, without ever looking too threatening in front of goal. Following a flowing passing move, Simmonds did at least test Firth with a long range effort, but the keeper was able to save it without too much trouble.
In added time, Nomads broke through their substitute Luca Hogan, who made an impressive run down the left before cutting in and smashing a shot against the bar.
On New Year’s Eve both sides will lock horns once more, this time at the Essity Stadium, kick off 2-30pm.
Report by Nigel Sheen.
Line Ups :
Connah’s Quay Nomads – A. Firth, J. Disney, D. Holmes, B. Nash, G. Horan (c), A. Edwards (J. Williams 83), P. Mendes (M. Hayes 76), C. Morris, A. Williams (R. Harrington 76), J. Malkin, C. Bratley (L. Hogan 90). Unused Subs – J. Rushton (GK), J. Watkin, J. Pownall
Flint Town United – H. Allen, J. Carroll, O. Ibrahim (H. Brindley-Peagram 71), A. Stephens, B. Diau, D. Harrison (M. Roberts 82), B. Beaumont, J. Owen (c) (L. Cole 66), J-L Akpa-Akpro, M. Cadwallader (B. Hughes 66), O. Simmonds. Unused Subs – A. Johnson (GK), E. Akobeto, A. Mather
Flint MOM – Anthony Stephens (another solid display at the heart of defence)