Rearguard action earns injury struck Flint a point
Flint maintained their unbeaten start and ended Port's winning run, but had to dig deep to do it, especially when they lost keeper Josh Hart to injury
The home side got off to a bright start with just 6 minutes on the clock, when they took the lead in somewhat unusual circumstances. A long throw from Jack Lewis on the right, caused confusion in the Port defence,and the ball flicked off a defender en route into the net. Despite protests from the Porthmadog defenders that the ball had passed into the net untouched, the referee and linesman agreed that there had been a touch and the goal stood. New signing Brandon Burrows was enjoying a fine start on his debut, with several eye catching passes, as the Silkmen looked to consolidate their advantage.
Flint thought they had doubled the lead on 18 minutes, when following a short corner, the ball was crossed to Richie Foulkes, The Flint skipper, in his first appearance of the season, met it with a powerful header that was destined for the top corner, until the intervention of Port keeper Paul Pritchard, who got a vital touch to it to push it over the bar.
The visitors, after a sluggish start, then started to pull themselves together, and began to look more like the side that had started the season with three consecutive wins. On 22 minutes, a free kick from the left, caused problems for the home defence, and Joe Chaplin blazed over the bar from a good position.
That was the signal that Port were starting to up their game, and on the half hour mark, Jay Gibbs let fly with a 22 yard free kick, that sailed just over the bar.
With 10 minutes to go to the break, Flint keeper Josh Hart suddenly collapsed to the turf, and was obviously in some discomfort, as he received a lengthy spell of treatment. He carried on playing, but was extremely immobile, only being able to hobble around in his area, as he was unable to put any weight on his knee.
Porthmadog equalised on 42 minutes, with a well executed goal. Iwan Lewis supplied a quality cross to the far post, and Sion Edwards met it with a sweet volley that arrowed into the net, which even a fully fit Hart would probably have been unable to stop.
As the half time whistle blew, Hart fell to the ground once more, and it was clear that he would be unable to continue. With no substitute keeper on the bench, Andy Brown was called up to don the gloves and take his place between the sticks for the second half.
He was called into action on 50 minutes, when he came off his line to spread himself well and deny Port's Warren Duckett who had breached Flint's rearguard and was through on goal.
From that point on, however, Port's view of the Flint goal from open play was to prove elusive, as the defence sought to put a protective shield around their rookie keeper. The outstanding Jacques Welsh was immense in this rearguard action, putting his body on the line with last ditch tackles and blocks to frustrate the visitors time and time again.
As an attacking force, Flint's aspirations were further blunted, when top goalscorer Mark Cadwallader had to depart the action with a thigh strain. They did, however, put together a fine passing move on 56 minutes, which ended with Foulkes breaking into the opponents' box and unleashing a shot that Pritchard parried well.
Port almost took advantage of a rare sight of goal on 58 minutes, when their captain Gruff Williams hit a snapshot that thundered against the angle of post and crossbar. Apart from that moment, however, their most dangerous efforts on the Flint goal came from set pieces, as any moves from open play were being continually thwarted. In the dying stages both Josh Banks and Duckett had free headers from corners, but fortunately from Flint's point of view, they were unable to direct them on target.
Given the circumstances, this was a well earned point for Flint has they preserved their unbeaten start to the season, and became the first side to take points off the visitors.
Line Ups :
Flint Town United - Josh Hart (Andy Brown 46), Tom Kemp, Jack Lewis, Sam Hart, Jacques Welsh, Mike Williams, Kai Wallis (Jake Hampson 46) Richie Foulkes (c), Brandon Burrows, Mark Cadwallader (Aron Jones 55), Kyle Smyth. Unused Subs - Mamudo Dabo, Johnny Hill.
Porthmadog - Paul Pritchard, Gruff Williams (c), Josh Banks, Ceri James, Ifan Emlyn, Ryan Taylor, Iwan Lewis, Jay Gibbs, Sion Edwards (Shaun Cavannagh 70), Joe Chaplin (Warren Duckett 34), Julian Williams. Unused Subs - Rob Evans, Dan Dascalu, Dale Davies
Flint Town United - OG (6)
Porthmadog - Sion Edwards (42)
Flint Town United - Jack Lewis (44), Kai Wallis (45)
Porthmadog - Gruff Williams (6), Sion Edwards (65)
Flint MOM - Jacques Welsh(superb defensive display which nullified Port's attacking threat from open play in the critical second half period)