Bluebirds claim first home win at Flint's expense
A dismal day, weather wise, was matched by a similar level of performance by Flint, as Caersws notched up their first league win at home.
Neither side were anything to write home about, with both keepers being largely untroubled throughout the match, but at least 'Sws showed some hunger and commitment, and played more as a team, thoroughly deserving their much needed 3 points. For Flint it was a case of back to the drawing board, after the false dawn of last week's good win.
The Silkmen were decidedly one paced, especially in the first half, with no one seeming willing or able to break with any pace from midfield, and the front two of Smyth and Bull were too often isolated and starved of any any decent service. Indeed, as the half wore on, Alan Bull resorted to coming back to the half way line more often than not in order to try and get some decent possession. When Flint had the ball in wide areas, they failed to attack the bye-line and resorted to curling balls in some 20 yards from the bye-line, which by and large were cleared with ease by the Caersws defence, in which Elliot Jones was dominant and snuffed out Flint's limited attacking thrusts.
The Bluebirds, in their first attack, did reach the bye-line on 15 minutes, when the lively Aron Hughes-Jones broke through on the left, and whipped in an excellent cross that was just begging to be finished off. Steve Blenkinsop obliged, with a bullet header, to open the scoreline for the home side.
The expected reaction from Flint never materialised, and they failed to seriously test Callum Hawthorne in the 'Sws goal. The nearest they got to equalising was when home captain Jake Parr effected a clearance facing his own goal, and put the ball out just beyond his own post after 40 minutes.
With a minute to go to the interval, Flint's small band of travelling supporters had some cheer, when their side managed to fashion their first effort on target. Bull received the ball with his back to goal, he turned and hit a decent strike from 22 yards out that Hawthorne did well to palm out for a corner.
At the start of the second half, Flint brought on two replacements and ditched the 3-5-2 formation they had started off with, instead reverting to the 4-4-2 that had served them well last week. Unfortunately, it was to have little effect, as too many of their players were having a collective off day, and were regularly guilty of making the wrong decision whilst in possession. One of the newly introduced substitutes, Chris Li, was on the pitch barely a minute, when he lunged into a tackle on a Caersws player, on the greasy surface. Fortunately, the referee gave him the benefit of the doubt, and only produced a yellow card, as otherwise, it could have been the very briefest of appearances.
The second half wore on in much the same vein as the first, with neither side really testing the opposition keeper.
It wasn't until the game was reaching the final stages that the excitement levels eventually rose. On 80 minutes, Hughes-Jones found himself in space just inside the Flint box, and curled a lovely shot that had Lee-Bulmer well beaten in the Flint goal, but the ball struck the inside of the post, and incredibly bounced back out.
Then, Flint had a decent shout for a penalty, when Bull was bundled into from behind as he tried to control a ball played into him. But the referee was unmoved by the appeals, much to the ire of the Flint fans, and waved play on.
Shortly after, on 82 minutes, Caersws broke clear through Blenkinsop, and he crossed to an unmarked Luke Sherbon, who calmly slotted home.
Flint had their second shot on target of the afternoon on 83 minutes, when Richie Foulkes tested Hawthorne, but he parried it out, and he similarly denied Foulkes a few minutes later.
Caersws had the last say, when in added on time, a Phil Jones free kick was tipped over the bar by Lee-Bulmer.
Line Ups :
Caersws - C. Hawthorne, J. Parr (c), P. Jones, E. Jones, T. Bethel, G. Jones, R. Davies, L. Vickers, S. Blenkinsop, L. Sherbon (J. Hartrick 88), A. Hughes-Jones. Unused Subs - G. Evans, J. Andrews, J. Tranter, L. Evans (GK)
Flint Town United - N. Lee-Bulmer, I. Hewitt, A. Brown, C. Rodgers (c), S. Halewood, J. Haack (C. Li 46), J. Palmer, L. Mackin (J. Hooper 46), A. Bull, R. Foulkes, K. Smyth (L. Tyson 70).
Caersws - Steve Blenkinsop (15), Luke Sherborne (82)
Flint Town United - Chris Li (46), Richie Foulkes (68)
Flint MOM - Stefan Halewood (one of the few Flint players to produce an above average performance)