Flint come out on top in feisty 5 goal Thriller
For the second successive week, a stoppage time goal gave Flint all 3 points, this time in an incident packed game at Bastion Gardens.
This match seemingly had it all, quality goals, penalties scored and missed, three players sent off with straight red cards, and a dramatic finale.
Flint took an early led after three minutes, when Francois Antoine was bundled over in the box, giving skipper Richie Foulkes the opportunity to put his side 1-0 from the penalty spot, a chance which he gladly took.
Prestatyn pressed for the equaliser, and thought they had got it when Alex Jones supplied a through ball to Oliver Buckley, whose header came back off the bar into the path of Ian Griffiths who tucked away the rebound. But the linesman's flag was up for the initial pass to Buckley, who was offside when he received it, and so the goal was ruled out.
The Seasiders' also went close on 19 minutes, when Buckley received the ball, ran into space and then thumped a shot against the Flint bar from 20 yards out. The ball was then cleared out for a corner, but Flint's let off was short lived, as this time Prestatyn did successfully find the net. From the set piece, the ball ran through to Dan Roberts, who had been afforded too much space and hit a low shot into the corner of the net.
But Flint hit back to regain the lead shortly after. Andy Brown won possession of the ball in an advanced position, towards the bye line, and then played the ball back to Foulkes who was on the edge of the box. He looked up, and then hit a delightful curling effort that was perfectly judged, and went in off the post.
It was then Prestatyn's turn to apply the pressure once more, as they tried to get back on terms. Most of their attacks came down Flint's right, and former Prestatyn player Tom Kemp was being kept fully occupied as he tried to repel them. To his credit, he was generally successful, as he enjoyed what was probably his best game for the Silkmen since joining. Just after the half hour mark, the Seasiders did manage to make inroads, and the ball was played into Griffiths who hit a fierce shot that was well saved by Aaron Jones in the Flint goal.
Flint were looking to hit the hosts on the counter, and Damien Ketley fizzed an effort just wide on 40 minutes. At this stage, the Silkmen were beginning to look reasonably comfortable, and were successfully repelling any attacks, but then they suffered a setback on the stroke of half time, when Antoine was shown a straight red card following an off the ball altercation with Prestatyn's skipper Jones.
As the second half got underway, Flint kept trying to play on the front foot and refused to go into a defensive shell. They were succeeding in frustrating their opponents, who in desperation sought to playing a long ball game which was being dealt with quite easily by the Flint back line. In the midfield, Brandon Burrows and Foulkes were covering a lot of ground, and harassing their opposite numbers, not giving them time to settle on the ball. On one occasion, after winning back possession in his own half, Foulkes spotted Ryan Roberts off his line, and with quick thinking tried an audacious long range effort, that had the Prestatyn keeper desperately back peddling. With the Flint supporters urging the ball in, it bounced just wide of the target, with Roberts well beaten.
When they did manage to put an incisive move together on 65 minutes, the home side were rewarded with a goal. Danny Davies received the ball from a cross from the left, and then drifted in field before hitting a powerful shot that Jones was unable to keep out, despite getting his hands to it.
Flint almost retook the lead on 73 minutes following a Jack Lewis long throw, which Foulkes connected with and headed towards goal. As the ball bounced just in front of the goal line, a desperate scramble ensued, and nobody from Flint was able to force the ball over the line , before it was cleared to safety.
A couple of minutes later, Lewis brought down Davies, with the foul looking to have been committed just outside of the box. But despite the Flint defender's protests, the referee awarded a second penalty of the afternoon. With Flint down to 10 men and facing a spot kick, the advantage now looked to lie firmly with the hosts. But for the second week in a row, and for the third time in all this season, Jones distinguished himself with a save, foiling Griffith's spot kick.
There then was to be a further twist, when, on 79 minutes, Chris Bennett lunged in forcibly on Lewis in a tackle, forcing the Flint's man's boot to come flying off in the process. The referee had no hesitation in issuing his second straight red card of the afternoon, as he deemed the challenge to be reckless. This was almost immediately followed by a third red card, which was shown to David Hayes, as he manhandled the official in the aftermath of the incident. Lewis was unable to continue, and had to be substituted.
But, with 10 minutes remaining, the pendulum had swung back in Flint's favour, as it was now a nine men versus ten men contest.
As the game entered a lengthy period of stoppage time, Foulkes played a good ball out to Jake Hampson, who was faced with three defenders between himself and the goal. He twisted one way, and then the other, as he got past his immediate marker, before quickly unleashing a drive that flashed into the back of the net, before he could be closed down any further. It was a strike of real quality that provided a fitting end to an absorbing match.
Line Ups :
Prestatyn Town - Ryan Roberts, Chris Bennett, Casey Faulkner, David Hayes, Dan Roberts, Danny Davies, Nathan Hulme (Warren Adam 46), Alex Jones (c), Ian Griffiths, Oliver Buckley (Macauley Taylor 80), Alex Williams. Unused Subs - Sam Herd, Matty Griffiths, Scott Williams.
Flint Town United - 1. Aaron Jones, 2. Tom Kemp, 3. Jack Lewis (16. Ryan Smith 80), 4. Sam Hart, 16. Jacques Welsh, 11. Kyle Smyth (20. Jake Hamspon 72), 7. Francois Antoine, 8. Richie Foulkes (c), 22. Damien Ketley (9. Jack Higgins 72), 5. Andy Brown. Unused Subs - 14. Luke Blondel, 25, Socrates Martins
Prestatyn Town - Dan Roberts (19), Danny Davies (65)
Flint Town United - Richie Foulkes (3 pen, 23), Jake Hampson (90+5)
Prestatyn Town - Yellow : Alex Jones (49); Red : Chris Bennett (79), David Hayes (79)
Flint Town United - Yellow : Kyle Smyth (18), Damien Ketley (50), Brandon Burrows (65); Red : Francois Antoine (45)
Flint MOM - Richie Foulkes (Flint's skipper led by example, with two goals and an assist)