DENBIGH CONVINCING WINNERS AT FLINT
FLINT TOWN UTD 1-3 DENBIGH TOWN
Report by Iwan Jones Photos by Steve Whitfield
Denbigh looked to continue their recent excellent run of form with a win against a highly fancied Flint team. Manager Eddie Maurice-Jones’ recent successes have been recognised by him deservedly being made the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance Manager of the Month for September, but he knew that any trip to Cae y Castell was always going to be a close encounter.
Flint have recently signed Alan Bull from Denbigh who themselves fielded two ex Flint players in their ranks in Danny Sullivan and Steve Cunningham. Cunningham was returning from suspension and he started as a replacement for Kristian Pierce who had been red carded last week against Holyhead Hotspurs and received a four match suspension.
Flint won the toss and the first half saw Denbigh playing into a strong wind with the sun in their eyes on a warm autumn afternoon. It was no surprise that Flint had the better of the opening half with the wind playing a large factor in the game and they had the bulk of the possession as they pressed for an opening goal. Denbigh’s defensive unit held firm and limited the Flint attack to long range shots which proved no problem for Hill-Dunt in Denbigh’s goal as he comfortably saved shots from Ieuan Hewitt and Richie Foulkes.
On 17 minutes Denbigh were forced into an early substitution when Steve Cunningham fell awkwardly and had to be carried off with a knee injury which will keep him out for a few weeks. Cunningham has impressed the Denbigh supporters with his play since he arrived with his endeavour and ball playing skills and he will be missed in the games to come
Jake Eyre replaced him as Town looked to reshape with Warren Duckett dropping into midfield, but the Flint pressure continued and Joe Palmer shot just wide of the Town goal.
Flint’s Chris Li then fell badly after a tussle with Town’s Craig Pritchard and he also had a knee injury and had to be replaced by Levi Mackin. Pritchard was then fouled by Phil Doran and referee Mr Livesey brandished the first of several yellow cards to Flint players.
Flint’s keeper Lee-Bulmer was having a quiet first half with him being called into action twice in the opening 30 minutes, once when Josh Davies’ cross just missed the head of Gareth Partridge and again when Rakim Newton’s cross was met by Pritchard but this time his header went just over the bar.
In Denbigh’s goal Hill- Dunt meanwhile had to stay alert and he was thankful to see Carl Rodgers long range punt from 50 yards catch the wind and fly just over the bar
On 35 minutes came a decisive moment when Phil Doran lunged into a tackle on Rakim Newton and Mr Livesey showed Doran his second yellow card and he had to leave the field.
Despite this Flint continued to apply pressure with Bull and Andy Brown linking well and coming close. They were being thwarted by Danny Sullivan and Ben Nash in the centre of Denbigh’s defence who have formed a great partnership together in recent games.
The final moments of the half saw Flint resorting to long range shots with Bull having a 25 yard shot comfortably saved by Hill-Dunt.
The second half started with Denbigh looking to take advantage of the wind now behind then and the strong sun in the late afternoon. Left back Nathan Williams sent a high up and under from his own half towards Lee- Bulmers goal. The swirling wind carried the ball at pace over the despairing keeper’s arms as he fought against the sun in his eyes, and into the net on 47 minutes to give Town a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later the Town lead was doubled with Warren Duckett getting on the end of a Gareth Partridge cross to put Denbigh into a very comfortable 2-0 position just 50 minutes into the game.
Denbigh now had most of the possession and controlled the game with Flint feeling the effects of being down to 10 men. Opportunities came to Josh Davies, Danny Sullivan, Jake Eyre and Gareth Partridge but the third goal eluded them. The first twenty five minutes of the second half saw Denbigh play with such composure and conviction that bodes well for the rest of the season.
Flint’s experienced manager Andy Holden, formerly an Everton coach for 12 years, knew he had to change things if he wanted to get anything out of the game, and on 70 minutes he made a double substitution when he brought off ex Denbigh striker Alan Bull and Levi Mackin who had come on as a substitute for Flint in the first half. On came youngsters Luke Tyson and James Hooper who had pace on their side and posed a threat to Denbigh’s defence who had become complacent after a long period in control of the game.
On 75 minutes this over confidence by the Town defence led to a sloppy back pass to Hill-Dunt which fell into the path of Hooper who looked to round Hill-Dunt but was brought down and referee Livesey pointed to the spot and yellow carded Hill- Dunt. Up stepped Richie Foulkes to take the penalty and although Hill-Dunt did get his fingers to the shot, it was not enough to save a goal and Flint getting back into the game.
Flint now looked to get back on level terms and they were unlucky not to do so as Kyle Smith ran though the Denbigh defence and laid on Hooper for a great chance only for him to have his effort cleared by Matty Cook. From the resultant break Craig Pritchard’s shot was blocked and the rebound fell to Gareth Partridge who fired in from 18 yards to wrap the game up for Denbigh with a 3-1 lead.
It was now time to play the game out and with the extra man advantage Denbigh could do this comfortably. This was an impressive performance from a team which are playing with confidence and a belief in themselves and their teammates. Their run of six wins on the run is testament to the strong team spirit running throughout the squad and the Club itself.
Flint Town Utd
Niki Lee-Bulmer, Ieuan Hewitt, Phil Doran, Carl Rodgers, Stefan Halewood, Chris Li, Joe Palmer, Richie Foulkes, Alan Bull, Andy Brown, Kyle Smyth. Subs: Luke Tyson, Matty Woodward, Levi Mackin, Joel Haack, James Hooper
Jon Hill-Dunt, Rakim Newton, Nathan Williams, Dan Sullivan, Ben Nash, Matt Cook, Gareth Partridge, Steve Cunningham, Warren Duckett, Josh Davies, Craig Pritchard Subs: Jake Eyre, Andrew Swarbrick, Liam Smith
Referee – Alex Livesey - Wrexham