Flint downed by Denbigh
Flint tasted their first home league defeat of the season against a Denbigh side that won their sixth consecutive game.
On a mild, and blustery afternoon at Cae-Y-Castell, Flint had the strong wind at their backs in the first half, but failed to capitalise on it, and paid dearly for it in the opening minutes of the second period.
Joe Palmer had an early sighter for the Silkmen, but his 25 yard effort was straight at the imposing figure of Jon Hill-Dunt in the Denbigh goal, and he safely gathered the effort. On 17 minutes, Palmer was again involved,as he hit a curling effort from the edge of the box, that just cleared the bar.
But Flint were too often guilty of not making the most of the conditions, and instead got tangled up in a feisty midfield battle, which suited their opponents who successfully stifled the game. The one bit of quick thinking which utilised the windy conditions came from a free kick on the half way line on 23 minutes, when Flint skipper Carl Rodgers hit a wind assisted effort that caught Hill-Dunt off guard, but the ball once again flew over the crossbar.
Denbigh were largely content to disrupt the Flint play and soak up the pressure in the first half, but did break to good effect on 27 minutes. Rakim Newton surged forward, and his momentum carried him to the bye line where he delivered a good cross to the far post, from where Gareth Partridge headed his effort over the Flint bar.
Flint's cause was done serious damage just a couple of minutes later, when Phil Doran picked up his second yellow card in the space of 7 minutes and received his marching orders. Why he decided to make a rash challenge near the half way line, in a non-threatening position for his side, especially having only just been booked, only he will know. But in doing so, he forced the referee to make a call, and it was one which went against the home side, reducing their numbers to 10.
The best bit of play Flint managed to put together resulted in a good opportunity on 32 minutes. Palmer did well to win back possession, and he fed Andy Brown, who combined well with Alan Bull, with a slick one-two, that released Brown into space down the left. As he cut in on goal, he screwed his shot across the face of goal from a narrow angle, and missed the target.
Within moments of the restart, Denbigh signaled their intentions of taking full advantage of the conditions and put the Flint goal under pressure. Josh Davies chased the ball down in the right corner, before whipping in a curling ball that should have been dealt with. Instead, Nik Lee-Bulmer was rooted to his spot as the ball flashed across him, before striking the upright. However, this let off was only fleeting, as the ball was cleared to the waiting Nathan Williams just inside the Flint half. The Denbigh left back wasted no time in letting fly, and the ball whistled past Bulmer into the net. Things went from bad to worse three minutes later, when a cross from the right across the 6 yard box was not dealt with, and Warren Duckett was on hand to poke home to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
Flint were in serious disarray at this point, and with Denbigh's shoot on sight policy in operation, it could have got worse for the home side, who were struggling to contain their opponents, especially the tricky Craig Pritchard. With the exception of Kyle Smyth and Palmer, the rest of the Flint side looked extremely laboured and were seemingly unable to string more than a couple of passes together.
It took the introduction of Luke Tyson and James Hooper on 72 minutes to inject some much needed pace and vitality into the Flint ranks. Within a couple of minutes of coming on, Tyson latched onto a though ball, got inside the area, sent his shot past Hill-Dunt only to see his effort cleared off the line.
Then, on 76 minutes, Hooper was through on goal, only for Hill-Dunt to clean him out, and concede a penalty. The Denbigh keeper got the benefit of the doubt from the officials for his challenge, and only received a caution. Richie Foulkes kept up his good record with spot kicks by pulling a goal back for the hosts.
No sooner had they hauled themselves back into the game, than Flint pressed the self destruct button, and weak defending let Denbigh score the third goal a couple of minutes later. Bulmer palmed out a cross from the left, but could only push into the path of Partridge, who was stationed on the edge of the box, and he returned it with interest as his shot went into the roof of the Flint net.
For a side that, prior to the start of the season, expected to be challenging near the top of the table, the last two league defeats have been extremely damaging, and we now sit in a lowly 11th place, with just 11 points from 9 games. The Silkmen's disgruntled supporters will demand, and expect, a much improved showing next weekend, when we face local rivals Holywell in the League Cup.
Line Ups :
Flint Town United - N. Lee-Bulmer, I. Hewitt, P. Doran, C. Rodgers (c), S. Halewood, C. Li (L. Mackin 20; L. Tyson 72)J. Palmer, R. Foulkes, A. Bull ( J. Hooper 72), A. Brown, K. Smyth. Unused Subs - M. Woodward, J. Haack
Holywell Town - J. Hill-Dunt, R. Newton, N. Williams, D. Sullivan, B. Nash (c), M. Cook, G. Partridge, S. Cuningham (J. Eyre 16), W. Duckett (L. Smith 77), J. Davies, C. Pritchard. Unused Sub - A. Swarbrick
Flint Town United - Richie Foulkes (76)
Denbugh Town - Nathan Williams (46), Warren Duckett (49), Gareth Partridge (78)
Flint Town United - Yellow : Phil Doran (22,29), Ieuan Hewitt (65), Levi Mackin (67), James Hooper (87); Red : Phil Doran (29)
Denbigh Town - Yellow : Jack Eyre (71), Jon Hill-Dunt (76)
Flint MOM - Kyle Smyth (demonstrated the commitment sadly lacking from too many of his teammates on a day when Flint were out thought and out fought)