An Aaron Williams first half brace gave Newtown the advantage that they managed to retain despite a spirited showing from a Flint side missing a few key regulars.
Indeed, it was Flint that often put together the more flowing football, especially in the first period, but two costly defensive lapses saw them concede a couple of cheap goals and they went into the interval 2-0 down. Nevertheless, a fightback looked to be well on the cards when Mark Cadwallader scored early in the second half only for an aberration from Alex Jones, who got himself dragged into an off the ball incident, meant Flint were reduced to 10 men for the closing half an hour or so, when the skipper picked up a straight red card following his actions.
The opening chance of the game fell to the visitors, when Dan Roberts looked to follow up his March goal of the Month award with an early contender for April, as he hit a snapshot on the volley, that Robins keeper Dave Jones just about parried away.
Newtown’s Fumpa Mwandwe then had a sight of goal, when Jon Rushton failed to deal with a cross, but his header lacked the necessary accuracy, and the ball was cleared.
On 14 minutes, Flint paid the price for not adequately clearing a ball that was allowed to bounce around inside their box. No-one seemed willing to take responsibility, and it eventually found it’s way to Newtown’s top scorer Aaron Williams, who wasn’t closed down quickly enough, and he swung his boot and drilled a shot low into the bottom corner.
The Silkmen responded well, and were knocking the ball around with aplomb, with Cadwallader leading the line well in the absence of the injured Mike Wilde, and both Ollie Nugent and Callum Bratley finding some good space down either flank and causing danger. It was just the final delivery that tended to be lacking, with hopeful rather than accurate passes meaning the good work was too often undone.
An equaliser looked to be on the cards following a free kick played into the box, but Roberts saw his shot cleared off the line, and then Cadwallader’s follow up struck the crossbar, as the Silkmen cursed their luck.
Then, on the stroke of half time, Ben Nash was penalised for what was deemed to be a push in the back of Shane Sutton, as the giant central defender crumpled to the ground in dramatic fashion. Williams stepped up to roll the spot kick into an empty net as Rushton dived the wrong way.
It was rough justice on Flint, as they clearly felt they weren’t getting the rub of the green in terms of decisions going their way.
But they started brightly in the second half, and on 51 minutes successfully reduced the deficit. A Jake Phillips free kick was flicked on inside the box by Jones, and Cadwallader nipped in behind the defenders to head home. The wind was then taken out of the Silkmen’s sails when Jones went toe to toe with Newtown’s George Hughes shortly after, and as the two brushed heads, Hughes tumbled to the ground, and Jones was issued with a straight red, which will effectively rule him out of the remaining games of the season. The Flint man clearly believing his opponent had made the most of it., as he angrily left the field of play.
Faced with a man disadvantage, Flint had no choice but to leave gaps at the back, as they chased the game, and the home side sought to exploit them to effectively seal the game. But Rushton cut an imposing figure in the Flint goal and he repelled all advances. First, he stood up to deny his brother Nick, tipping his shot over the bar. Then he sprinted off his line to collect a ball under pressure from substitute James Davies who tried to latch onto a through ball. Finally, he pulled off a tremendous double save, first by thwarting Mwandwe who was clean through on goal, then by once again denying his brother on the follow up, as he recovered to spread himself well and block the shot.
Although they still enjoyed their fair share of possession with 10 men, Flint were unable to fashion any clear cut chances, although youngster Ben Hughes who was introduced into the fray in the latter stages did make a great run down the middle, and tried to find Ben Maher, who appeared to be yanked back as he went for the ball, but on this occasion contact inside the box went unpunished.
Injuries and suspensions are undoubtedly now starting to take the toll on the Silkmen, as they have just one win and four defeats to show from their opening five phase 2 matches, although each loss has just been by the odd goal. And things are unlikely to get any easier, as more injuries and suspensions continue to pile up at the business end of the season.
Report by Nigel Sheen
Line Ups :
Newtown – D. Jones, J. Walker, H. Cowans (B. Taylor 66), R. Sears, C. Williams, S, Sutton, F, Mwandwe (R. Hesden 87), N. Rushton, A. Williams, G. Hughes, Z. Ismail (J. Davies 73). Unused Subs – M. Williams (GK), D. Downs, A. Jones, B. Guest
Flint Town United – J. Rushton, J. Phillips, S. Hart, B. Maher, B. Nash, D. Roberts, O. Nugent (B. Hughes 65), A. Jones (c), J. Higgins (S. Duffy 17), M. Cadwallader, C. Bratley. Unused Subs – R. Woods (GK), J. Williams, L. Ellis, D. Harrison, J. Davis
Flint MOM – Mark Cadwallader (led the line well and ran himself into the ground)