Opening Day Delight For Flint Mountain
Goals from Jake Williams, Dylan Roberts and Marc Gunther (2) see off the challenge of Halkyn United on the opening day of the new season at the Northop Hall Pavilion
It's been a long wait since May for competitive football to return, but it returned with a bang tonight, as Flint Mountain welcomed Halkyn United to the Northop Hall Pavilion for the opening fixture of the new season. It was also the first game to be played at our new home after the summer switch from Wat's Dyke Way in Sychdyn. Flint Mountain were largely unchanged from last season, but with the addition of new signings Marc Gunther and returning striker Sean Wilkes to lead the line against a side tipped to win the league within local media earlier.
Halkyn got off to a lightning start and could have been ahead within the opening minute. After getting down the Flint Mountain right side, the ball across the area was steered on target, but somehow Mountain goalkeeper Ricky Bennett was forced into a fantastic save to deny them. There followed a succession of corners as Mountain struggled to clear their lines, with Bennett again called into action with another fine stop.
Flint Mountain managed to ride the early onslaught and got themselves into the game, as Karl Griffiths fired wide, before deservedly opening the scoring after 22 minutes. From a corner, Marc Gunther's ball into the box was punched away by the Halkyn goalkeeper, but Jake Wiliams was alert on the edge of the penalty area to loop the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net. The spark was suddenly ignited in the home side, as they grabbed a quickfire second. Marc Gunther picked up the ball just inside the Halkyn half, before firing a pinpoint diagonal ball to Dylan Roberts, whose first time control of the ball allowed him to get the ball out of his feet, before he smashed the ball low past the goalkeeper into the net.
With Flint Mountain on a high, they were dealt a body blow by gifting Halkyn a goal, and a way back into the match. With the defence appealing for offside, a hopeful ball into the penalty area was inadvertently headed into his own net by Shane Owens. With Halkyn pressing for an equaliser, the first half fizzled out with Mountain still in the lead.
As the second half began, Flint Mountain immediately looked to regain the ball from the opposition, with Sean Wilkes, playing against his former team tonight, blocking an effort and picking up the ball. Once in the corner, he delivered a teasing ball into the box, where Marc Gunther turned the ball into the net from close range. With the second half continuing, Rob Marshall made his first substitution, replacing Rob Rush, who had picked up an injury, with Liam Mortimer, a new signing from Trearddur Bay United. Mortimer made an instant impact on the game, as within a couple of minutes, he fired a diagonal ball to Marc Gunther, who controlled the ball and beat his man, before planting the ball past the goalkeeper.
Halkyn tried desperately to get back into the game, with Flint Mountain making further substitutions to shore up the win, as Mark Hughes and Alex Millington replaced Dylan Roberts and Andy Probert. With time running out, Halkyn did manage to grab themselves a consolation, as their striker jinked past Flint Mountain's defence, before hitting home, despite the best efforts of Bennett. Flint Mountain, however, held on to record the win.
Next up for Flint Mountain is a second home game, as they welcome the first of seven new teams into the North East Wales League, Airbus UK Broughton Youth. The young Airbus side lost out 2-0 in their opening fixture to Connah's Quay Nomads Academy and Flint Mountain will be looking to pick up another early season win at home, in their quest for the league.