After enduring a frustrating first half, in which their team were out of sorts and extremely passive, Flint fans were treated to a much livelier second period, in which their side went on to score three goals and ended up deservedly winning the game.
Airbus, still searching for their first points of the season had gone ahead early on when ex-Silkmen Dan Roberts popped up at the far post to head home a corner. The warning sides were there for Flint barely a minute earlier, when another ex-player, Joe Palmer, sized up a long range shot, and wasn’t closed down. His effort forced Dawid Szczepaniak into a smart save as he got down well to divert the shot around the base of his post.
Flint’s response to the goal was very muted, although on 17 minutes they did create a decent opportunity. Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro forced his way to the bye-line, and scooped the ball to the far post where Jay Owen came in to meet it at close range, but Airbus keeper Mike Jones thwarted him with an excellent reaction save.
For most of the half, though, the Silkmen were content to play hopeful, sometimes aimless long balls forward, that Gareth Edwards at the heart of the home sides defence was able to comfortably deal with. Meanwhile, Airbus were being allowed far too much time and space in the middle of the park to dictate matters.
Fortunately, it was a different Flint side that emerged for the second period, as they belatedly began to take the game to their opponents. Okera Simmonds began to find himself at the heart of most good moves that were being put together, although he was often guilty of not always making the right decisions at crucial times. Nevertheless, we was proving a thorn in the side of the Airbus defence.
On 51 minutes he was released down the right, and took a shot on the run from a very acute angle that flashed wide, when, if he had looked up he would have seen Akpa-Akpro waiting in space for a ball to be rolled across to him. Then a few minutes later he hit a fierce strike from the right that struck the top of the bar.
The equaliser arrived on 62 minutes, from a free kick awarded just inside the Flint half. Skipper Owen launched it long, deep into the Airbus box. Jones raced off his goalline screaming “Keeper” but he was always going to be very much second favourite to reach the ball amongst a crowd of players. Instead, Brandon Diau met the ball and headed it over the onrushing Jones and into the net.
From that point on, Flint seized control of the game, and mounted a number of attacks to try and win the game. On 73 minutes a long cross field ball from Bobby Beaumont attempted to find Akpa-Akpro, who looked to get the faintest of glances on it as it found its way into the path of Simmonds who was marked by two players. He took control of the ball, pulled away from his markers, before turning towards goal and firing a shot from 20 yards just inside the post, to make it 2-1 to his side.
A few minutes later, Simmonds tried his luck from just inside the Airbus half, with a shot that was on target, but Jones managed to get back onto his goal line in time and save the audacious attempt.
Substitute Jayden Major had injected some pace into Flint’s attack following his introduction, and he instigated a good move on 83 minutes when he did well on the right. He played a lovely ball into the middle to find Simmonds who was well placed in the centre of the goal, but this time instead of taking the shot he elected to play in the incoming Omar Ibrahim, who was galloping in from the left. Unfortunately, his shot was a tame effort and what should have been a goal, was instead cleared off the line.
A couple of minutes before the end of regulation time, Flint forced a corner on the right. The ball was initially cleared to the edge of the box, but Major flicked it into the path of Jordan Carroll who strode onto it and struck a sweet shot that whistled into the corner of the net to seal the points for the Silkmen.
Unfortunately, towards the end of the game, Simmonds was the recipient of a heavy challenge, one of several he sustained during the game, and had to leave the field due to an ankle injury which may put him in doubt for Saturday’s trip to Cardiff Met.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Airbus UK – M. Jones, D. Roberts, J. Phillips, S. Tomasson (c), J. Palmer, G. Edwards (R. Mwakona 80), R. Edwards, J. Crowther, O. Payne (M. Dabo 81), C. Curran, G. Peers. Unused Subs – L. Dutton (GK), M. Burke, B. Cornish, E. Orton, T. McManus
Flint Town United – D. Szczepaniak, J. Carroll, O. Ibrahim, B. Diau, H. Owen, D. Harrison, L. Cole (J. Major 61), J. Owen, J.L. Akpa-Akpro (J. Hindle 86) , B. Beaumont, O. Simmonds (B. Hughes 87). Unused Subs – H. Allen, J. Hampson, L. Ellis, E. Akobeto
Flint MOM – Okera Simmonds (was the catalyst for the second half comeback)