Prestatyn are past masters at getting under the skin of opposition players, and just like the game earlier in the season at Bastion Gardens, when 2 Flint players saw red and tempers frayed, we allowed ourselves to be goaded into ill discipline, this time finishing the match with 10 men, as Simon Thelwell, in his first game back following suspension received a straight red, as he went in with a reckless challenge shortly after Flint had gone a goal down. Although Thelwell will claim he made a legitimate attempt to play the ball, the manner of his challenge was definitely reckless and certainly needless, as it occurred near the touchline on the half way line. What he was thinking of, only he will know, but it certainly left his team-mates with a mountain to climb to try and get back into the game.
The first action of the match came on 8 minutes, when an underhit back pass from John Davies played Ross Dalton in trouble, as Prestatyn's Jack Kenny beat him to the ball. The best Dalton could do was to force Kenny wide, and as he approached the bye-line he tried to pick out Noah Edwards but the ball was cleared.
A minute later, Paul McManus delivered a free kick into the box from the left, which found Kyle Smyth, whose flicked header was heading into the corner of the net until visiting keeper Ryan Roberts brilliantly got down low at the foot of the post to save it.
Flint went on to carve out a succession of decent chances during the half, but would go on to rue their inability to convert them.
On 23 minutes, a ball was played through to Aaron Rey, who hit a smart shot from an acute angle, but again Roberts was equal to it.
Kyle Smyth attempted to break through the Prestatyn back line a few minutes later, and was tackled from behind on the edge of the box. Jack Abraham hit a low free kick through the wall, but straight into the arms of Roberts.
Just before the half hour mark, some good build up play from the Silkmen led to Thelwell finding Abraham in space, who in turn found Smyth with a good delivery. Smyth flicked the ball goalwards, but a lack of pace on the effort, allowed Roberts the time to make the save.
Another good chance went begging on 36 minutes, as following a quick throw, Abraham crossed from the right and Russ Courtney met it, only to send his header over the bar.
Prestatyn went close shortly after, when Kenny beat the challenge of Courtney to reach the bye-line, and deliver a cross cum shot across the face of the Flint goal, but Steve Cunningham, who was enjoying a good game at right back was in the right place to clear the danger.
On the 45 minute mark, Kenny raced through, and looked to have a straight run in on goal, only for Joe Culshaw, who had earlier endured a torrid time trying to contain the dangerous Jordan Davies, to get back and put in a fantastic tackle to send the ball out for a corner.
The half ended in somewhat farcical conditions, as despite there being no lengthy stoppages, a total of seven additional minutes were played, as apparently both of the referee's watches had stopped. It was only after consulting his assistants did he realise he was well over regulation time, and then swiftly blew the long overdue half time whistle.
There had been several bad tempered exchanges between both sets of players during the first half, and the general consensus between the home support during the interval was that someone, most probably wearing a black and white shirt, would be sent off in the second half. Following his booking on 15 minutes, from an altercation with Alex Jones, Jack Abraham was the odds on favourite, but to his credit he kept his temper in check reasonably well in the second period, only for the red mist to descend on one of his colleagues.
It's disappointing to report that no chances of note from the home side were created in the second half, in what was to develop into a shockingly inept performance. Yes we may have enjoyed some decent possession, but what did we accomplish with it ? Absolutely nothing, unfortunately.
The opening goal came after 56 minutes. Dangerman Jordan Davies received the ball out wide on the right and cut infield. Joe Culshaw faced him up, but his challenge on the edge of the box was not strong enough, and Davies brushed him off to deliver a ball across the face of the 18 yard box. Two Prestatyn players failed to get any meaningful contact on the ball , before it found its way to Alex Jones, who curled a lovely effort into the top corner of the net.
Barely a minute after this setback, Thelwell received his straight red for his rash challenge, and disappeared from the field of play, along with Flint's hopes of salvaging anything from the game.
Paul McManus was doing his utmost in midfield to chase lost causes and set up attacks, but his efforts were all too often in vain, and Prestatyn keeper Roberts enjoyed a relatively trouble free second half, following his busy opening first 45.
Any lingering hopes were well and truly extinguished on 85 minutes. Flint had been enjoying a lengthy spell of possession, until, urged on by their manager Neil Gibson, the visitors all of a sudden went for a high pressing game. This had the immediate effect of unnerving the Flint players, and the ball was quickly played backwards until it was sent all the way back to Dalton on the edge of his box. The Flint keeper then had a moment he will want to forget, as he mis-controlled the ball allowing Kenny to pounce and steal the ball away from him and to plant it into the empty net. A goal which perfectly summed up the second half performance of the home side.
After witnessing this display, the players certainly owe the supporters a strong, disciplined performance, and if they were to deliver that on Wednesday night in the League Cup semi-final against Gresford, then so much the better.
Line Ups :
Flint Town United - R. Dalton, J. Culshaw, S. Cunningham, R. Courtney, J. Davies, C. Jones (c), P. McManus, J. Abraham, S. Thelwell, A. Rey (S. Carroll 79), K. Smyth. Unused Subs - A. Dobson, J. Palmer, P. Martin, E. Quinlan (GK)
Prestatyn Town - R. Roberts, T. Kemp, N. Edwards, D. Hayes (c), R. Fairhurst, N. Hill, M. Parker, J. Davies, J. Kenny (T. Silvester 87), W. Adam (C. Shackleton 77), A. Jones (A. Williams 63). Unused Subs - J. Stead, D. Chauax (GK)
Prestatyn Town - A. Jones (56), J. Kenny (85)
Flint Town United - Yellow Cards : J. Abraham (15), C. Jones (82). Red Cards : S. Thelwell (57)
Prestatyn Town - A. Jones (15), J. Kenny (35)
Flint MOM - Paul McManus (close run thing between him and Steve Cunningham who enjoyed a solid game at right back, but Macca just edges it with his creativity and work rate)