Flint’s first appearance in the final of the Welsh Youth Cup since 1967 unfortunately didn’t have a happy ending, as they were edged out 1-0 by favourites TNS. But they can be proud of their accomplishment in actually making it to the final, especially as the majority of their players are actually under 17, a year younger than the age limit for the competition. And they were by no means disgraced, putting in a terrific defensive display to make sure they stayed in the game, and hoping to capitalise on a break that just didn’t fall their way.
The young Silkmen were understandably nervous in the opening 10 minutes/ quarter of an hour or so, and they managed to survive a few scares as TNS laid siege to their goal. But as they got to grips with the occasion, they visibly grew in confidence, and started to show more composure on the ball.
It took them around 40 minutes to force their first corner of the match, but they so nearly profited from it. As the ball bounced around dangerously inside the TNS box, nobody in a Flint shirt could make a telling connection to force it over the line, and keeper Rhys Parry was eventually able to collect.
But getting to the break at 0-0 was a morale boost for Flint, given the pressure they had had to withstand earlier in the game.
However, their defence was finally breached in the 53rd minute, in somewhat strange circumstances. Josh Lock delivered an inswinging corner, that deceived the Flint defenders, and what looked like a straightforward clearing header was missed, allowing the ball to continue it’s trajectory into the 6 yard box. Flint keeper Aidan Johnson was wrongfooted, and it eluded him, and ended up in the back of the net. For all of their superb defensive work up to that point, conceding a goal in this manner must have been a bitter blow for the Flint youngsters.
But to their credit, they regrouped and dug in.
A glimmer of hope presented itself when TNS’ Josh Roseberry-Beumond was dismissed after receiving his second yellow card, with half an hour remaining.
Even with 10 men, however, TNS remained an attacking threat, and Johnson had to make a couple of smart saves in one on one situations as they broke through the Flint rearguard.
Into the final 10 minutes, and Flint started to exert more pressure as an attacking force. But the TNS defence stuck to their task well, and were able to stifle the threat and successfully protect Parry’s goal, with the keeper not being called upon to make any meaningful saves.
And so, TNS claimed the FAW Youth Cup for the first time in their history.