Flint successfully negotiated a potential banana skin at already relegated Airbus to keep their fate in their own hands. Having gone ahead early in the game, they allowed their opponents back into the match, who equalised within seconds of the restart, but just as Silkmen fans were beginning to fear the worst, a double strike within a two minute spell just after the hour mark put the game to bed.
The opening goal came after just 4 minutes. Okera Simmonds delivered a corner to the near post, and Danny Harrison got on the end of it to squeeze the ball home, although the final touch may have come off an Airbus player stationed on the post. That was just the start Flint needed. However, they were unable to capitalise in terms of more goal scoring opportunities. The closest they came was on 25 minutes, when a slick move down the right resulted in Bobby Beaumont delivering a ball to Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro, who in turn laid it off to Zach Clarke on the edge of the box. Looking up, Clarke sprayed the ball out to Okera Simmonds who was in space further over, and his fine curling effort finished just wide of the target.
After that, Airbus started to grow more into the game, and began to dominate the midfield area, as Flint allowed them too much time and space. Jean Leblanc-Akpo raced clear down the left for the home side on 33 minutes, made it to the bye-line and delivered a tantalising ball across the face of goal that two incoming Airbus players failed to connect with. Then, on the stroke of half time, Airbus skipper Steve Tomassen met a corner on the far post that tested Flint keeper Harry Allen’s reflexes to the limit, but he was up to the challenge and somehow kept the ball out.
However, the warning signs weren’t heeded, and Flint were caught cold as the game restarted and Airbus equalised through Beau Cornish. Jake Phillips received the ball on the right, and knocked it back inside to Adam Davies, who found himself in bags of space just outside of the area. He whipped in a shot that struck the post, but bounced out kindly for Cornish to apply the finish.
Flint seemed to be lacking a bit of urgency and creative spark, and Rhys Kavanagh was introduced into proceedings to supply just that.
The Silkmen regained control on 63 minutes. Akpa-Akpro delivered a fine cross field ball to Simmonds, who was in space out on the right. He collected it but still had plenty to do, as he advanced into the box and was faced by two Airbus defenders. He weaved one way and then another, before creating the necessary space to unleash a shot from an acute angle that zipped into the roof of the net.
Flint now had the bit between their teeth once more, and struck again a minute later, before Airbus could regain their composure. The lively Kavanagh got on the end of a lofted ball that put him through on goal. His attempted shot looked to be heading just wide of the target, but Akpa-Akpro was alert enough to come in on the far post and touch it home to give Flint a vital two goal advantage.
The Silkmen were now enjoying a purple patch, and snapping into tackles to win back possession. Akpa-Akpro went close with a shot just over after receiving the ball from a Tyler Garratt cross.
This vital win moves Flint back up the table out of the relegation spot, although it remains very tight. If we at least match Aberystwyth’s results in the final two games we shall be safe, but a victory in Wednesday’s rearranged match with Caernarfon would be huge in terms of our survival chances.
Report by Nigel Sheen. Photos by Geoff Quinn. (For full photo album go to www.flickr.com/photos/quinnys/albums)
Line Ups :
Airbus UK Broughton – L. Dutton, J. Phillips, O. Payne, S. Tomassen (c), J. Palmer, S. Rickett, R. Edwards (J. Crowther 76), B. Cornish, A. Davies, L. Dean, J. Leblanc-Akpo (K. Cooke 67). Unused Subs – J. McHarrie (GK), B. Nicholas, E. Orton, T. McManus
Flint Town United – H. Allen, B. Beaumont, T. Garratt, A. Stephens, B. Diau, D. Harrison (c) (B. Hughes 89), O. Ibrahim (J. Carroll 43), A. Mudimu, J-L Akpa-Akpro, Z. Clarke (R. Kavanagh 55), O. Simmonds. Unused Subs – D. Szczepaniak (GK), C. Huxley, S. El Amri, M. Roberts
Flint MOM – Bobby Beaumont (another combative performance from a player who is really coming into his own at this crucial stage of the season)