Flint are still searching for their first points of Phase 2 after falling to another one goal defeat, following on from the the losses to TNS and Bala. If, however, they had managed to recapture some of the intensity and desire they had showed in that opening second phase match against the newly crowned champions, then they would surely have come away with something from the Oval. As it was, they struggled to get out of second gear, and turned in a below par, subdued performance, letting former Silkmen Rob Hughes orchestrate proceedings for Caernarfon.
It was Hughes who was first to test Ryan Woods in the Flint goal, sending in a shot in the 6th minute that stung the hands of the Flint keeper. But just a minute later, Sion Bradley was allowed too much time and space to penetrate the area, getting on the end of a nice reverse ball to set him away, and he picked his spot slotting the ball past Woods to put the home side 1-0 up.
From the restart, Flint almost found an instant reply, as Mark Cadwallader’s effort was blocked at the expense of a corner. Then from the resulting delivery Cadwallader was granted a free header, but his radar was off as he ended up placing the ball well wide of the target. Mike Wilde was released for a one on one situation with Cofi’s keeper Jakub Ojrzynski in the 11th minute, but the Caernarfon custodian came out on top, saving the shot.
A missed header in the Flint defence almost proved costly shortly after, when a free kick delivery was played into the box, but fortunately the resulting chance was placed over the bar, giving the Silkmen a let off. One that they took full advantage off in the 17th minute.
A Jake Phillips corner was delivered with pin point accuracy onto the head of Wilde, who glanced the ball into the net from close range for a trademark goal.
But having got themselves back on terms, the Silkmen were unable to take full control, and instead Hughes was allowed to start making his mark on the game.
In the 38th minute, a lofted crossfield ball found him on the right side of the area, and he brought it under control, slipped past Phillips, before cleverly cutting it back into the path of Danny Gosset, just as another challenge came in on him. Gossett wasted no time in blasting the ball into the roof of the net from around 6 yards out.
Hughes then fizzed a shot across the face of the Flint goal, before Woods was forced to tip over a shot from the striker, as the Cofis continued to press.
The expected reaction from Flint at the start of the second half failed to materialise, and instead the home side continued to look the more dangerous. They wasted an excellent opportunity to establish a two goal cushion just past the hour mark. Woods parried a Joe Faux effort, but the ball fell invitingly to Mike Hayes, who was presented with what looked like an open goal. But under pressure from a desperate defensive challenge, he screwed his shot wide of the target.
Phillips tested Ojrzynski with a free kick as Flint belatedly looked to rally, but the keeper saved well. Alex Jones, who had been one of the few Flint players to display their normal energy levels on the night, carved open the Caernarfon defence with a fine solo run in the 84th minute. He progressed to the bye line before sliding the ball into the path of a well placed Callum Bratley, but the chance was wasted when a defender rushed out to block the shot, in a brief moment which encapsulated the difference between the two sides on the night.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Caernarfon Town – J. Ojrznski, I. Cartwright, J. Faux, G. Williams, A. Simpson, N. Edwards, S. Bradley, D. Gosset, M. Hayes, D. Thomas (c), R. Hughes (C. Jones 68). Unused Subs – T. French, B. Beaumont-Broadhead, A. Williams, G. Dafydd
Flint Town United – R. Woods, J. Phillips, S. Hart, B. Maher, B. Nash, K. Edwards, D. Roberts (O. Nugent 78), A. Jones (c), M. Wilde, M. Cadwallader (J. Higgins 78), C. Bratley. Unused Subs – J. Rushton (GK), S. Duffy, R. Weaver, L. Ellis, B. Hughes
Flint MOM – Alex Jones (delivered an energetic performance on an otherwise flat night for his side)