Llanfair United 2 (Alun Hughes 12, Marc Jones 65)
Flint Town United 3 (Stewart Carroll 8 & 70, Kyle Smyth 75)
Cymru Alliance League – October 24, 2015
Five years ago today Flint made sure their first ever visit to Llanfair Caereinion was a memorable one, although they were pushed all the way by their plucky hosts.
Due to the unavailability of attackers Simon Thelwell and Lee Healey, academy player Ben Brierley was thrust into the Silkmen’s starting lineup, and did not disappoint with a hard-working display.
On eight minutes the visitors took the lead when Abe Dobson, in for the suspended Craig Jones, played a quality ball over the back-line to find Stewart Carroll, who had burst through the home rearguard.
Carroll deftly brought the ball under control before finishing with aplomb.
The advantage lasted just four minutes. When a long throw in for the home side near the corner flag caused mayhem in the Flint six-yard box, the ball was scrambled clear to the edge of the area, where Alun Hughes calmly lobbed it back over a crowd of players into the unguarded net.
On 20 minutes, Paul McManus hit a 20-yarder that flashed just wide of the mark.
A minute later, Llanfair’s Andrew Hughes made a penetrating run deep into the visitors half, and played in namesake Alun with a little flick. But he was unable to add to his earlier goal when he could only find the side-netting.
With 37 minutes on the clock, John Davies crossed to the far post, where the arriving Carroll headed downwards, forcing Lee Andrew to palm over the bar.
At the start of the second half, Flint made a major tactical switch, pushing centre back Russ Courtney up front and switching John Davies into his more familiar role.
The management team obviously felt Flint’s attack needed a more focal point, and so put Courtney up front as the target man.
Just one minute into the second period, home keeper Andrew had to scramble to the base of his post to keep out Carroll’s 20-yarder.
On 54 minutes, a Phil Doran cross to the far post was met by the incoming Johnny Hill, whose firm header looked a certain goal but was cleared off the line by a home defender.
A minute later saw another header for the visitors, Courtney failing to hit the target.
After 65 minutes, Doran made an ill-judged lunge on Davies just inside the box, giving away a penalty. Marc Jones blasted the spot kick into the net, giving Flint keeper Ross Dalton no chance, and his team the lead.
There was still plenty of time for the visitors to get back into the game, and to their credit Flint, driven on by the mercurial Carroll and hard-working McManus, were determined to turn the tide.
They were rewarded in the 70th minute, when Carroll fired in a hard and low cross from the right, which took a deflection off home defender Steve Andrew and arrowed into the corner of the net.
The winning goal arrived on 75 minutes, when John Davies cut out a forward pass and played an intelligent ball into the path of Kyle Smyth who was in space down the left flank.
Smyth still had plenty to do when he collected the ball. He cut inside, looked up and then hit a blistering shot that struck the underside of the bar before nestling in the back of the net. A goal worthy of winning any game.
The hosts refused to throw in the towel, and two minutes later went close when Andrew Hughes connected with a diving header from 10 yards out, that went just wide of the target.
Deep inside added-on time, the home side’s Marc Jones hit a thunderbolt that Dalton did well to tip over his bar to secure all three points for the Silkmen.
Llanfair United: L Andrew (c), R Stevens (G Jones 84), M Jones, P Griffiths, D Jones, S Andrew, L Gethin (R Ainsley), R Davies, Alun Hughes (C Gethin 84), Andrew Hughes.
Flint Town United: R Dalton, J Davies, P Doran, M McGregor (c), R Courtney, A Dobson, B Brierley (L Cain 81), S Carroll, J Hill, P McManus, K Smyth.