As was to perhaps be expected, the home side, still smarting from their heavy defeat to Newtown last Friday, were determined to make amends, and took the game to the visitors from the off. They served early notice when a shot rippled the side netting of Jon Rushton’s goal. Then, on five minutes, Emmanuel Agyemang made a tremendous break from the half way line down the left, which stretched the Flint defence to breaking point. He was eventually held up just inside the box, but then checked back, and with the Flint rearguard still trying to rearrange themselves, played the ball into the path of the supporting Mitch Williams, who slotted it into the net to give the hosts the early lead.
Buoyed by this, Druids set about to frustrate their opponents by packing the defence, taking every opportunity to run the clock down and use the pace of Agyemang on the break to pose a threat. And by and large, the tactic worked, as Flint struggled to break down a resolute defence, with slow, laboured build ups playing into the hands of their opponents. The best outlet looked to be finding Mike Wilde, whose flick ons might release a runner, and that almost proved successful on 8 minutes, when Jack Kenny was the recipient. As Mike Jones raced out of his goal to close him down, Kenny managed to lift the shot past the keeper from a narrow angle on the right of the box, but the ball bounced just the wrong side of the far post, as it went across the face of goal.
Wilde just couldn’t quite reach a Sam Hart corner on 18 minutes, when a touch would almost certainly have directed the ball into the net. But despite the growing amount of possession as the half unfolded, the Silkmen were unable to create any clear cut opportunities, with the final ball either being a wayward pass or delayed too long, allowing the Druids defence to get back into position.
Five minutes into the second half, and Druids spurned a golden opportunity themselves. Following a good break down the left, and an excellent delivery into the box, Williams found himself unmarked in front of goal about 6 yards out. But he failed to direct his header, and the ball bounced off him and over the bar.
Wilde then directed another header onto Kenny, but as the ball bounced up off the artificial surface, the Flint striker lost his balance and could only screw his effort high and wide.
The game then resembled the pattern of the first half, with Flint having the majority of possession, Druids defending stoutly and looking to hit on the break. A mix up due to a lack of communication between Phillips and Rushton almost proved costly, but fortunately Kai Edwards was on hand to just about avert the danger and clear the loosed ball in the nick of time.
Finally, on 77 minutes, a quality ball was lofted over to the far post area by Sam Hart, where Flint had an overload and a height advantage. Ben Nash met the delivery, and headed back across the centre of goal, where Wilde was waiting to nod past Jones and level up the scores. Flint now had the wind in their sails, and Druids looked as though they might start to crumble. From a corner, the ball was headed against Jones’ crossbar, as the Silkmen looked to complete the comeback. But, to their credit, having weathered that five minute spell after conceding, Druids once again regrouped and saw out the remainder of the game relatively comfortably. They had Niall Flint dismissed deep into added on time, after receiving a second yellow, but the resulting free kick came to nought.
It was a frustrating night for the Silkmen, but on balance, they didn’t quite do enough to deserve all three points.