Mountain Cruise Against Spirited Bellevue
Despite a scrappy performance, Jack Aitken's four goal haul is the highlight, as Flint Mountain stroll to a win over the league's bottom side at the Northop Hall Pavilion
With the weather bringing yet more postponement misery last weekend, Flint Mountain were set to welcome Bellevue, the league's bottom side, to the Northop Hall Pavilion. With a tough run of fixtures coming up, manager Rob Marshall rung the changes, giving debuts to three new signings, Dylan Evans, Mike Reid and Modestas Krukonis, whilst Phil Marshall started a match for the first time in three years, after recovering from a serious knee injury.
Flint Mountain looked in control from the kick off, playing high in the Bellevue half, but not making a clear chances for themselves. The Mountain were also forced into an early change, as David James Jones was feeling unwell. Keiran Farr then replaced him in a straight swap in midfield.
It wasn't until the seventeenth minute that they opened the scoring. Phil Marshall picked up the ball on the right, before sliding it through to Jack Aitken in the penalty area, who fired home from close range. The goal seemed to open the floodgates, as the lead was doubled just two minutes later. It was Phil Marshall again who was provider, finding Jake Williams in the area, who turned and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.
A third goal arrived a minute later, with the ball being passed to Jack Aitken in space, before turning and running directly at goal. Despite a late challenge from a Bellevue defender, Aitken managed to stab the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net. Three soon become four, as debutant Modestas Krukonis capped his debut with a goal. After bursting down the left, Krukonis got into the penalty area, and after an initial shot was blocked, Krukonis blasted the ball into the net.
After half an hour, Jack Aitken had completed his hat-trick and Flint Mountain were looking comfortable, as the team looked for more, with Mike Reid and Dylan Evans missing opportunities to also score on their debuts, along with other missed chances. At half time, Modestas Krukonis was withdrawn and Sean Wilkes replaced him.
The second half started off it much the same way as the first. It took seven minutes of the half before Flint Mountain added a sixth goal, courtesy of Jake Williams. On the edge of the area, and with the goalkeeper off his line, Williams chipped the ball over the keeper and into the net. Bellevue then give away a needless penalty. In the absence of regulat penalty taker Colin Davies, Phil Marshall calmly stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom corner, for his first goal since returning to Flint Mountain and returning from a serious knee injury.
After getting his goal, Andy Probert then replaced Marshall. It was then the turn of Sean Wilkes to get into the scoring, grabbing a quick double. Firstly, a lovely ball played into the area was misjudged by the goalkeeper. Wilkes anticipated the ball falling to him, leaving him with a tap in into an empty net. Wilkes then scored from a corner, cleverly controlling the ball, swivelling and firing into the net.
Flint Mountain were not done, and with seven minutes remaining, reached double figures. With a teasing ball delivered into the penalty area, Jack Aitken stooped low to head the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net. The lead could well have increased, but for the Bellevue goalkeeper, who made several good saves to deny further goals.
That win sees Flint Mountain jump to second place in the league, with the teams above not playing this weekend. Next up is the visit of Mold Town United to the Northop Hall Pavilion. Mountain will be looking for a repeat of earlier in the season, where they run out comfortable winners in August.