Flint’s perfect league start continued at Latham Park, where they triumphed 2-0 thanks to two first half strikes by Danny Harrison and Okera Simmonds, who stuck his second in as many games.
Indeed, Simmonds also had a big part to play in the opening goal. With just 3 minutes on the clock, he raced towards the byeline, rode a challenge from a defender, cut back inside and hit a shot from a tight angle that was blocked. The ball bounced into the path of Harrison, who was on the edge of the 18 yard box, and he hit a controlled half volley into the corner of the net beyond Newtown keeper David Jones.
Newtown attempted to hit back, and created a good chance for George Hughes on 13 minutes, who hit a shot from around 15 yards that looked as though it was heading in. But Dawid Szczepaniak had other ideas, and launched himself across his goal, before tipping the effort over the bar.
Flint were sitting back, and choosing their moments to go and win the ball, and the tactics were working a treat. None more so than in the 35th minute, when Bobby Beaumont stepped in and robbed Callum Roberts of the ball, before releasing Simmonds who sprinted down the pitch before cracking in an excellent strike off the post to give the Silkmen a two goal advantage.
Just before the interval Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro almost got in on the scoring act, when he hit a sweet volley which forced a fine save from Jones.
As expected, Newtown came out strongly in the second half, and made a determined effort to get themselves back in the game. Anthony Stephens was in the thick of the action in the heart of defence, producing a great block as the Robins tried to force a way through.
They were given a great opportunity on 53 minutes with the award of a penalty, given when the ball struck the arm of skipper Jay Owen as he came out to block the ball. Whether the arm was in an unnatural position was debatable, but nevertheless the spot kick award stood. Up stepped Aaron Williams, Newtown’s top goalscorer last season, but Szczepaniak got the better of him, getting down extremely well to his left to pull off a great save and stifle the home team’s hope of a comeback.
Just before the hour mark, Flint created another chance, following good foraging work by Ben Hughes on the byeline, as he won possession of the ball. However, Jones was alert to come and pounce on the ball just as it looked that Hughes or Akpa-Akpro were about to take advantage of the situation.
Rhys Hesden spurned an opportunity for the home side on 64 minutes when he was gifted a rare free header inside the Flint box, but was unable to direct it on target.
The hosts were given another glimmer of hope with just under 20 minutes remaining when Owen was shown a second yellow following a challenge just in front of the Newtown bench, which had the home staff up in arms. There must be something about Latham Park, as in our last three visits there we have been reduced to 10 men on each occasion !
But to their credit, Flint refused to let this latest setback unsettle them. At the back, Stephens aided by Harry Owen and Brandon Diau continued to put their bodies on the line, blocking or heading clear, whilst up top we continued to look a threat. On 73 minutes, Simmonds once again broke to good effect. Unfortunately, he hesitated when he could have got a shot away, before eventually pulling the trigger from a slightly worse angle. Jones got down well at the foot of his post to collect the Flint striker’s curling shot.
Akpa-Akpro tried a cheeky lob from the halfway line on 83 minutes, when he spotted Jones off his line, but the effort just cleared the bar.
With the game in stoppage time, Newtown created one last chance, when Louis Robles struck a long range effort that sailed just above the upright, but Flint were not to be denied, and kept up their perfect start to the season, all the more remarkable when you consider the side has only been put together in the last four weeks or so.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Newtown – D. Jones, C. Roberts, R. Sears, S, Sutton, L. Robles, A. Williams (M. Taylor 72), H. Cowans (N. Rushton 58), C. Williams (c), R. Hesden, G. Hughes, J. Walker (T. Wharton 72). Unused Subs – J. Hyde (GK), B. Taylor, K. Mills-Evans, D. Downs
Flint Town United – D. Szczepaniak, B. Beaumont, O. Ibrahim (J. Carroll 78), A. Stephens, H. Owen, D. Harrison, B. Diau, J. Owen (c), J-L Akpa-Akpro, B. Hughes, O. Simmonds (J. Major 88). Unused Subs – H. Allen (GK), L. Ellis, J. Hampson, H. Brindley-Peagram, E. Akobeto
Flint MOM – Bobby Beaumont (all of Flint’s defence including the keeper turned in excellent displays but Bobby just edged it ahead of his colleagues with a standout performance)