Flint end Gresford's long unbeaten run
By Nigel Sheen
A much more satisfying attacking performance than the previous week saw the Silkmen deservedly edge a tight game against a well organised Gresford.
With both sides coming into the game on the back of decent unbeaten runs, it was always likely to be a tight affair at Clappers Lane, and so it proved. After last week's frustrating stalemate, Niall McGuinness changed the formation to a more attacking outlook and it paid dividends as Flint looked the livelier side in the first half and carved out a number of chances. Richie Foulkes was pushed further forward, with Jacques Welsh adopting the midfield anchor role, whilst the returning Brandon Burrows imposed himself with some good attacking moves.
Indeed it was Burrows who went close to opening the scoring after 12 minutes, when he made a surging run across the pitch, doubled back on himself back into the centre and let fly from 20 yards. His shot took a deflection off a defender and the ball struck the bar. From the resulting corner, Mark Cadwallader met the cross with a firm header, but it went just the wrong side of the post.
Gresford had a near miss of their own on 26 minutes, when Nathan Williams delivered a good cross from the left onto the head of Jordan MacCarter, whose effort went just wide.
A couple of minutes later, Andy Brown headed goalwards from a corner, and his effort was blocked on the line by Colliers' skipper Josh Griffiths who was stationed on the post.
Flint continued to press, and Foulkes whipped in a cross from the right, which Cadwallader connected with from close range, but Ben Jones in the Gresford goal blocked the effort. Cadwallader hit a cross cum shot on 39 minutes, that the incoming Brown just failed to connect with, as another chance went begging.
The second period saw both defences generally on top, with both of Flint's full backs, in particular, doing well to nullify the threats of Tom Freeman and Jordan MacCarter down the flanks. Freeman was substituted on 66 minutes, shortly after picking up a booking. Then, as he had left the field and was walking towards the dressing room, he evidently said something to the linesman, which resulted in him getting a red card. With the substitute already on the pitch, it meant that Gresford weren't reduced to 10 men on the field of play.
Shortly after, Flint grabbed the decisive goal, following good work from Kyle Smyth. A mazy run by Smyth resulted in him slipping the ball into the path of Brown, who slotted home as Gresford appealed for an offside flag that didn't come.
The Colliers made some attacking substitutions to try and get back into the game, but Flint's defence held firm, and on 90 minutes the Silkmen could have doubled their advantage as Smyth broke clear, only to drag his shot just wide of the target.
A very satisfying performance by Flint not only saw them record a fourth consecutive clean sheet, but also successfully break down a dogged and well organised Gresford side, who were themselves on a 12 game unbeaten run coming into the match.
Line Ups :
Gresford Athletic - Ben Jones, Joe Culshaw, Nathan Williams, Josh Griffiths (c), John Jones, Ben Burrows, Simon Smith, Sam Pilkington (Owen Roberts 75), Jordan MacCarter (Lewis George 81), Jack Chaloner, Tom Freeman (Kieron Evans 65). Unused Subs - Tom Williams, Reece Airey
Flint Town United - Aaron Jones, Tom Kemp, Dylan Allshorn, Joe Davies (Ryan Smith 58), Dimitri Christou, Jacques Welsh, Brandon Burrows, Richie Foulkes (c), Andy Brown (Tyreek McCallum 81), Mark Cadwallader, Kyle Smyth. Unused Subs - Ged Kinsella, Aron Jones, Jake Hampson.
Flint Town United - Andy Brown (70)
Gresford Athletic - Yellow : Jack Chaloner (53), Ben Burrows (60), Tom Freeman (65), Ben Jones (70), Josh Griffiths (86); Red : Tom Freeman (66)
Flint Town United - Yellow : Brandon Burrows (40), Joe Davies (47), Richie Foulkes (73)
Flint MOM - Dylan Allshorn (put in an impressive display at left back both offensively and defensively that just put him ahead several of his teammates)