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Match Report

Silkmen suffer first League defeat

Flint Town United
Flint Town United
A difficult period at the start of the second half for Flint saw Penybont overturn a 1-0 deficit and go into a 2-1 lead. And despite having a couple of good chances near the end of the game, which could have salvaged a draw, Flint were unable to take them and so tasted defeat in the league for the first time this season.
Home manager Rhys Griffiths was forced into a last minute reshuffle when Ashley Evans was unable to start, and he decided to bring himself into the lineup from the subs bench, a decision which was to prove inspired as he would go on to head the winning goal.
Bont started brightly but the Flint defence held firm and restricted them to long range efforts. It soon became clear that one of their tactics was to put in crosses that cleared the imposing figure of Brandon Diau in the middle and look to find people coming in for them from the edge of the box. One such recipient was Rhys Kavanagh, but he fluffed his line on both occasions and failed to connect properly.
Flint gradually came more into their own, and their twin strike force of Okera Simmonds and Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro started to pose threats of their own. On the half hour mark, Bobby Beaumont sent a raking ball forward onto the head of Simmonds, who was able to knock it down to his strike partner Akpa-Akpro, just outside of the box. He quickly made inroads into the area, before sweeping a left footed shot into the bottom corner of the net.
A couple of minutes later it could have been 2-0, when Harry Owen got on the end of a free kick, but Bont keeper Kellan Absalom got a hand to his header, albeit not too convincingly, and managed to palm it onto the post. Then, in the 42nd minute Simmonds again found Akpa-Akpro, this time with an excellent pass, and he cut in from a wide position before rolling the ball to Larnell Cole, who shot just wide.
Penybont then staged a late rally as the first half drew to a close. First, Kavanagh did finally manage to connect with a cross, when he hit a stinging volley towards the Flint net. Fortunately, Dawid Szczepaniak pulled off a great reaction save to deny him. Then, there was a brief moment of controversy after Szczepaniak had fallen on the ball after collecting a cross. As he got up off the ground, Kavanagh nipped in from behind, dispossessed him of the ball and put it into the empty net. But the Bont player was correctly penalised for this as the Flint keeper did have at least one hand on the ball, and so was deemed to have been in control of it. Finally, Owen made a great defensive block to deny Kai Whitmore to ensure Flint went into the break with the advantage.
The game turned on its head in the opening period of the second half. Penybont were effectively camped in the Flint half for the first quarter of an hour, and the Silkmen were simply unable to gain any attacking momentum. A quickly taken short throw caught Flint off guard on 48 minutes, with Ryan Reynolds then able to send in a low cross that scudded across the six yard box. Kavanagh flew in and met it with a stooping header to propel his side back into the game.
Bont now had their tails up and pressed for a second goal. On 58 minutes, Szczepaniak had to produce a full stretch save to deny Nick Wood, but Flint were guilty of not effecting the clearance despite having a couple of bites at the cherry. Instead the ball was delivered back into the area, and Griffiths used all of his experience to get in font of Diau and send a looping header under the crossbar.
Griffiths nearly found the net again in the 68th minute, this time with a long range shot. But he was denied by a fine fingertip save.
A calamitous defensive mix up on 82 minutes almost meant it was curtains for the Silkmen. Diau undercooked his backwards header, meaning Szczepaniak had to come charging out of his area to try and reach the ball, but in doing so, he collided with Owen, leaving both players out of the game. The ball broke to Griffiths who tried to lob it into the empty net, but he could only clear the crossbar.
Just after that let off, Flint created their first real chance of the half, when Simmonds raced onto a through ball, and he looked odds on to score with just Absalom to beat, until home skipper Kane Owen raced back in the nick of time and put in a tremendous last ditch tackle to rob the Flint forward of the ball just before he could pull the trigger.
Substitute Jayden Major created a good chance for himself in stoppage down as he weaved into the box. His shot looked as though it might just creep inside the post, that is until it struck his teammate Diau on the backside, and it diverted the wrong side of the upright.
Having suffered their first setback, Flint must quickly regroup as on Tuesday night they face Airbus in a Flintshire derby, and the Wingmakers will be determined to get off the mark having lost all three of their games thus far.

Report by Nigel Sheen

Line Ups:
Penybont – K. Absalom, D. Little, K. Owen (c), D. Jeffries, B. Borge, R. Reynolds (T. Tweedy 81), K. Whitmore, K. Reffell, R. Griffiths, N. Wood, R. Kavanagh (M. Davies 75). Unused Subs – A. Pennock (GK), J. Carson
Flint Town United – D. Szczepaniak, J. Carroll, O. Ibrahim, B. Beaumont, H. Owen, D. Harrison (c), L. Cole (J. Major 60), B. Hughes (J. Hindle 53), J-L Akpa-Akpro, B. Diau, O. Simmonds. Unused subs – H. Allen (GK), L. Ellis, E. Akobeto, H. Brindley-Peagram

Flint MOM – Harry Owen (looking more assured every game)