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Sat 05
Flint Town United
Llanfair United
R Foulkes (6'), J Hooper (13'), J Culshaw (33')
Flint rocked by Llanfair fightback

Flint rocked by Llanfair fightback

By Nigel Sheen
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A remarkable second half collapse coupled with a tremendous comeback by the visitors saw Flint crash out of the Welsh Cup

Having powered into a 3-0 half time lead, a complacent Flint were left reeling in the second period, as Llanfair tore into them, showing the type of fighting spirit that earned them a victory at Caernarfon last week, and deservedly booked their place in the third round of the cup, scoring four goals, and hitting the woodwork a further three times, in addition to striking the crossbar in the first period in which the home side had dominated.
It really was an astonishing turnaround, as Flint deservedly led by three goals at the break, but instead of closing up the game they were caught cold at the start of the second half, and from then on were always on the back foot, as Llanfair got back on terms within nine minutes of the restart, before clinching the killer goal with 10 minutes to go.
The opening quarter of an hour was all Flint, as they played with a confidence befitting of a side who were unbeaten in their last 8 games. With 3 minutes on the clock, a great little passage of play saw Chris Li and James Hooper play a neat one-two, which ended with Li playing in Richie Foulkes, but with the goal at his mercy, he somehow lost the ball between his feet, and the chance went begging.
A couple of minutes later, a corner found its way to Kyle Smyth, who was about five yards out with his back to goal. He swivelled and hit his shot, but Llanfair keeper Chris Brown saved well, at the expense of another corner. This time the ball was half cleared, but Joe Culshaw threaded a through ball into Foulkes, who looked suspiciously offside, but got the benefit of the doubt, and slotted home.
On 8 minutes, Culshaw got away down the left, before cutting in and hitting a 20 yarder that went just wide of the target.
Flint doubled their advantage on 13 minutes, when good work by Culshaw saw him regain possession for his side, before feeding Foulkes, who in turn, picked out James Hooper who was in space on the left. Hooper charged in on goal and hit a fierce shot from a tight angle that nestled in the corner of the net.
The visitors were afforded a rare sight of the Flint goal on 25 minutes, when a wind assisted free kick from Brown was allowed to find its way into the path of striker James Davies, whose long range effort struck the bar.
On 33 minutes Flint struck again, following the awarding of a free kick some 25 yards out. Mackin drove the ball in from the set piece, and Mark Cadwallader challenged Brown for the ball, before the ball rebounded to the feet of Culshaw, who blasted it in from close range off the underside of the bar.
Flint spurned two further opportunities before the break, as the game looked all but over. Firstly, on 41 minutes, Chris Li showed good anticipation to intercept a ball, before supplying a cross which just eluded Foulkes' head, but ended up with Smyth collecting the ball and hitting a shot that stung the hands of Brown. Then on 44 minutes, the Llanfair keeper raced to the edge of his box to clear a ball, but could only find Luke Douglas, who lofted it back over Brown but a covering defender was on hand to clear it off the line.
Unfortunately, football is a 90 minute game and not 45 as Flint found to their cost in the second half, when they were completely overrun by the visitors, who decided that if they were going down, then they were going down fighting. The home side got caught completely cold within 1 minute of the restart, and allowed Llanfair too much space and time to attack down the right, with the result that a cross from the byeline eluded both goalkeeper and defenders, and found its way to the waiting Andrew Hughes, who had a simple tap in.
This early gift, put a spring back into the step of the visitors, and all of a sudden Flint were guilty of losing possession too cheaply and not closing down their opposite numbers.
On 50 minutes, Douglas was penalised for handball 20 yards out in a central position. Dan Kenyon struck the resulting free kick which cannoned off the bar and onto the head of Joe Vaughn, who could only direct his header into the grateful arms of Danny McAdam in the Flint goal.
However, Flint failed to heed the warning, and the midfield were guilty of going AWOL offering scant protection to their defence. Instead of tightening things up, large gaps were alarmingly opening up, and on 52 minutes a ball through the centre was allowed to reach Vaughn all too easily, and he showed great composure to chip over McAdam to pull another goal back.
Now was surely the time to introduce Steve Cunningham from the bench to plug those gaps, but indecision proved fatal, as Llanfair struck again on 54 minutes, to complete a remarkable comeback. This time a quick free kick found Hughes in acres of space, and McAdam had initially come off his line, before realising he wasn't going to reach the ball, and so found himself in no mans land as Hughes cooly lobbed the ball over him and into the net for his second of the game.
Flint belatedly shuck off their second half lethargy and tried to reimpose themselves on the game, after this latest setback. On 58 minutes, Cadwallader won possession on the edge of the box, and worked some space for himself, before hitting a shot just wide.
At this stage the game was anybody's and Stewart Carroll must have been itching to get on from the bench and try and turn things back around for the home side.
On 69 minutes, Hughes broke clear down the left once more for Llanfair. He got himself into a great position inside the box, and if he had have looked up could easily have picked out an unmarked team-mate in the centre, but instead elected to shoot, and McAdam beat away his effort for a corner, from which Paul Griffiths hit the bar yet again for the visitors, with an attempted lob, when the ball was cleared to him on the edge of the box.
Flint were back on the attack on 73 minutes, when Hooper rounded off a good run with a shot on target that Brown looked to have covered quite comfortably, but fumbled it, before recovering to stop the ball from creeping over the line.
Llanfair grabbed the winner on 80 minutes, when Griffiths played a delightful through ball into the path of James Davies to score with ease.
Flint attempted a late rally, with the best chance falling to Smyth on the 90 minute mark, but his header went just wide after Hooper had delivered a decent cross having retrieved an overhit ball. There was still time for Llanfair to hit the woodwork once more, as Davies crashed a shot against the post in stoppage time, not that it mattered at that stage, as the damage was already done.
Having been so much in control of the game, it almost beggars belief as to how we managed to lose it, with an inability to close the game up, and having a midfield and defence that parted down the middle like the Red Sea being the main contributory factors. The only consolation being that it wasn't a league game, which would have been so costly in terms of our title aspirations. Hopefully, the appropriate lessons will be learned so that when we reconvene in a fortnight against Caersws, we can pick up where we left off at Penrhyncoch and continue our winning run.

Line Ups :
Flint Town United - D. McAdam, L. Douglas, J. Culshaw (J. Palmer 83), C. Li, (S. Cunningham 75), J. Hill, J. Davies. L. Mackin, M. Cadwallader (c) (L. Austin 83), J. Hooper, R. Foulkes, K. Smyth. Unused Subs - S. Carroll, R. Coney
Llanfair United - C. Brown, Alun Hughes, M. Spencer, P. Griffiths (c), R. Davies, S. Andrew, J. Vaughn, D. Kenyon (L. Gethin 70), N. Blake, J. Davies, Andrew Hughes (M. Jones 87). Unused Sub - J. Astley

Goalscorers :
Flint Town United : Richie Foulkes (6), James Hooper (13), Joe Culshaw (33)
Llanfair United : Andrew Hughes (46, 54), Joe Vaughn (52), James Davies (80)

Bookings :
Flint Town United : none
Llanfair United : Paul Griffiths (45)

Flint MOM - James Hooper (one of the very few Flint players who delivered a consistent performance over the full 90 minutes)

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Match details

Match date

Sat 05, Nov 2016


James Hooper

Player of the match

James Hooper