Both sides share the points in League Cup final dress rehearsal
An entertaining game at the Oval saw Flint banish the demons of their 6-1 home defeat against the Cofis earlier in the season
The lush Oval playing surface allowed both sides to play some decent football, and the Silkmen responded with a much more positive performance than of late and they deservedly took a share of the spoils. The point gained coupled with the defeat of Caersws elsewhere also means we are guaranteed a top 6 finish in the league, as we move ahead of the Bluebirds on goal difference into fifth spot. So, even if Holywell win their final game next weekend, we will finish no worse than sixth.
With Luke Tyson and Shaun Beck both being given starting places and Kyle Smyth occupying more of a "number 10" role, Flint posed much more of an attacking presence than of late, and Tyson set up a couple of moves down the right in the early stages. Flint went in front on eight minutes. Beck initially fed Tyson, and he found some space to run into before delivering a well flighted cross that James Hooper knocked back into the path of Beck, who was lurking some 15 yards out. As the ball came to him, he pulled the trigger, and there was little doubt that it was destined for the back of the net, as he notched up his second goal in consecutive games.
Things might have got even better for Flint a couple of minutes later, when Beck won possession inside the box on the right hand side of the area, and then was summarily bundled to the ground. But just as he did a few weeks earlier in our home match against Prestatyn, referee My Harms incurred the wrath of the Flint supporters and players by waving away their strong penalty claims.
The Cofis were looking to release their dangerman Jamie Breese at every available opportunity, and were favouring the long ball over the top into his path, which by and large the Flint defence were coping with quite comfortably. However, a misjudgement of a bouncing ball on 40 minutes, was to prove horribly costly, as Breese seized upon it and raced clear on goal before slotting the ball past Ben Jones, to underline just why he is one of the most clinical finishers in the league.
A minutes before the break, Flint had a let off, when wideman Danny Brookwell cut loose and played in a wicked ball across the face of goal, that Breese flicked onto the post.
At the start of the second half, Caernarfon looked to turn the screw, and started to pile on the pressure. On 53 minutes, John Davies got caught in possession and was robbed by Brookwell. But fortunately Ben Jones came to the rescue with a great block as he raced out of his goal. Then a few minutes later, Matty Holt was in the thick of the action as he made two excellent blocks in quick succession as he threw his body in the firing line to deny the Cofis. During this period, Beck was feeding on scraps up front for Flint, but even so he still continued to pose a threat when he received the ball.
The Silkmen managed to weather the storm, and gradually reasserted themselves into the game, with Levi Mackin and Stewart Carroll getting more onto the ball in midfield. Just before the hour mark, Smyth did well to break free down the right, before supplying a good ball to Joe Palmer who had raced forward in support. Palmer should probably have taken the shot first time rather than look to control it, as by the time he attempted to get away his shot his effort was blocked.
A Stewart Carroll thunderbolt on 75 minutes looked to have restored Flint's lead, but his effort from 23 yards out struck the face of the post, with Cofi's keeper Alex Crofts well beaten. The Silkmen created another good chance on 79 minutes, when Leon Williams, who had been introduced for Beck, got on the end of a through ball, but from a tight angle he dragged his shot wide of the target.
In the last 10 mniutes, the game swung back in Caernarfon's favour, and on 82 minutes Brookwell broke clear, beating both Hewitt and Culshaw, before delivering a dangerous ball across the face of the Flint goal. Fortunately, skipper Carroll had shown great presence of mind to get back and cover the danger, and produced an excellent clearance. Then, in added on time, from a corner, Clive Williams got his head on the ball from close range, but his effort cleared the Flint bar.
If the League Cup final in a couple of weeks time follows in a similar vein, then hopefully it should be quite a game.
Line Ups :
Caernarfon Town - A. Crofts, J. Williams, Chris Williams, Clive Williams, G. Edwards (c), K. Roberts (N. Williams 53), J. Roberts (N. Craig 53), J. Gibbs, J. Breese (K. Lloyd 77), D. Thomas, D. Brookwell. Unused Subs - J. Vousden, A. Davies-Thomas
Flint Town United - B. Jones, I. Hewitt, J. Culshaw, L. Mackin, J. Davies, M. Holt, S. Carroll (c), L. Tyson (A. Edgar 77), J. Hooper (J. Palmer 46), S.Beck (L. Williams 61), K. Smyth. Unused Subs - J. Hill, D. McAdam
Caernarfon Town - Jamie Breese (40)
Flint Town United - Shaun Beck (8)
Caernarfon Town - Darren Thomas (33)
Flint Town United - Stewart Carroll (4), Ieuan Hewitt (33), James Hooper (45)
Flint MOM - Shaun Beck (gave an exemplary display of centre forward play for his side)