3 see Red as Flint lose their Heads
A remarkable bout of ill discipline almost certainly cost Flint any chances of a second place finish as they lost to Porthmadog
With a strong wind at their backs in the first half, Flint fashioned the first chance on 6 minutes, when a Levi Mackin corner picked out Johnny Hill, who had managed to find some space, and planted his header just wide of the post.
But Port replied in kind, and from their own corner on 10 minutes, Cai Jones headed goalwards, only for Ieuan Hewitt to clear off the line.
Unfortunately for Flint, Andy Brown all too often cut a lone figure up front, very similar to last week, and chances created were few and far between, as there was always too big a gap between him and James Hooper and Kyle Smyth. Instead, Flint were reduced to opportunistic efforts on Richard Harvey's goal, and were guilty of not taking advantage of the wind. One such chance fell to Mackin on 23 minutes, when he cracked an effort from wide left on the edge of the box. It smashed against the post, but instead of bouncing over the line, came back out and was was cleared. Just before the half time whistle, Hill delivered a cross to the far post, and Smyth turned it back into the path of Richie Foulkes, who hit a good shot that Steve Bratt was able to clear off the line, and ensure that Port reached the interval with their goal intact.
What developed into a crazy second half started with Flint in the ascendancy, as they started to play some decent football on the deck, as they tried to adapt to the difficult conditions. But just as it looked as though they were looking the more likely to break the deadlock, the red mist descended on several players, and they gifted the game to the opposition.
First off, was Hewitt, who lunged in recklessly on Josh Banks, in the corner on the Flint right. Although he might have been aggrieved that he himself hadn't been awarded what looked to be a clear free kick moments before, there can be no justification for such a tackle, and he was rightly shown a straight red card. The punishment was effectively doubled from the free kick, as Sion Bradley whipped it in across the goal, and it eluded everyone and finished in the back of the Flint net.
Shaun Beck was soon introduced into the fray to try and salvage something for Flint, but before he had the chance to do anything, the Silkmen were reduced to 8 men in an astonishing sequence of events on 72 minutes.
The visitor's Chris Jones was in the process of being booked for a bad challenge when both Chris Li and Richie Foulkes decided to take the law into their own hands and exact their own retribution, as a brief melee sparked between both sets of players. Having just seen their side reduced to 10 men, and with the referee punishing the foul by Jones, it was an amazing reaction that did their team a great disservice, and both were issued with straight red cards, and once again their could be little argument against the official's decision.
From here on in, it was just a question of how many more goals would be added to Port's tally, and thanks to the heroics of Ben Jones in the home goal and the stout defending of Matty Holt and John Davies just in front of him, the answer was just the one. Sion Bradley managed to breach the defensive line on 80 minutes and slot his effort past Jones, despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball. Prior to that, Jones had pulled off a couple of good saves to deny Rob Evans and Cai Jones, and on 85 minutes he spread himself well to deny Jones once more, as he produced a point blank save to deny the Port forward.
To their credit, Flint did their best with 8 men to try and take the game to their opponents when they go the chance, with Stewart Carroll probing for any openings following his introduction to the game. Shaun Beck produced a delightful little cameo as he tricked his way into the box and delivered a good ball to Hooper, but he screwed his effort wide.
However, with what had already gone on in the match, by that point it was mission impossible. One can only hope that lessons will finally be learned from this lack of self discipline that manifested itself in the second half, as not only will it probably cost us the chance of runners up spot but also all three players involved have now ruled themselves out of the League Cup semi-final against Prestatyn.
Line Ups :
Flint Town United - B. Jones, I. Hewitt, J. Hill, C.Li, J. Davies (c), M. Holt, L. Mackin (S. Beck 68), R. Foulkes, J. Hooper, A. Brown (M. Cadwallader 85), K. Smyth (S. Carroll 83). Unused Subs - S. Cunningham, D. McAdam (GK)
Porthmadog - R. Harvey, S. Bradley, J. Banks, S. Bratt, D. Roberts, I. Price (c), Chris Jones, R. Evans, M. Williams, Cai Jones, Paul Lewis. Unused Subs - C. Papirnyk, G. Williams, T. Clarke, C. James, T. French (GK)
Porthmadog - Sion Bradley (62, 80)
Flint Town United : Red - Ieuan Hewitt (62), Chris Li (72), Richie Foulkes (72); Yellow : Chris Li (70)
Porthmadog : Yellow - Chris Jones (71), Dan Roberts (90)
Flint MOM - Ben Jones (produced 3 great saves when Flint were down to 8 men to keep the score respectable)