Flint Town United 2 (McGregor 75, Smyth 82)
Mold Alexandra 1 (McDowell 88)
Cymru Alliance – November 7, 2015
All the goals arrived in the last 15 minutes on a blustery afternoon at Cae-y-Castell where Flint ground out a win over neighbours Mold five years ago this weekend.
The Silkmen had the wind in their faces during the first half, and both teams struggled to create many clear cut chances on a heavy pitch.
On 12 minutes, the hosts put together a neat move, which ended with Lee Healey breaking infield from wide right to let fly from 22 yards.
As the ball swerved in the air, Mold keeper Stephen Longrigg had to be alert to touch it over the bar.
Despite that effort, Flint were unable to find any sort of momentum and had a let off on 21 minutes, when Ross McDowell cut through the defence like a knife through butter.
Fortunately, Ross Dalton was on hand to come rushing off his goal-line to get a telling touch on McDowell’s shot to send it over the bar.
Three minutes later, McDowell sent a looping header just over.
Just after the half-hour mark, Healey hit a great ball into the path of Kyle Smyth, who could not escape the attentions of his marker to get a clear shot in.
Instead he laid it off to Simon Thelwell, but a split-second delay before hitting the shot allowed a covering defender to get in a good block.
The main talking point of the first half came in the 45th minute, when Flint had a great shout for a penalty. Darren Torpey blatantly shoved Thelwell in the back, sending him sprawling, but the referee waved play on.
Into the second half, and the stalemate looked set to continue.
After about quarter of an hour, Flint changed their formation from 4-3-3 to a more conventional 4-4-2, and this was to ultimately pay dividends.
Under the previous formation, despite having three forwards, they were so far apart, one wide on the left, one in the centre and one wide right, and no midfield runners, there was no linking play up front.
In the new system, the strikers were closer together and could play off one another.
This also meant Flint were more compact in midfield, denying their opponents the space they enjoyed in the first half.
Paul McManus, in particular, was very effective in breaking up play and getting in telling blocks on passes and shots.
On 65 minutes, Smyth nodded just wide from a Russ Courtney cross.
A minute later, Healey sprinted into the box to get on the end of a cross, but from six yards he hit the underside of the bar and the ball was cleared to safety.
The opening goal arrived on 75 minutes following a corner. Phil Doran delivered a great ball to the back post, where the unmarked Mark McGregor’s deflected header found the net.
Flint doubled their advantage on 82 minutes, when Thelwell picked up the ball in midfield and fed Kyle Smyth, who beat the offside trap and found himself on the edge of the box with just the keeper to beat. He kept his composure and buried his shot into the back of the net.
Mold grabbed a consolation with two minutes left, when the Flint defence did not react to a low ball played across goal and McDowell pounced for 2-1.
Flint Town United: R Dalton, J Hill, P Doran, (P Djon 90), M McGregor, R Courtney, C Jones (c), L Healey, S Carroll (A Dobson 88), S Thelwell, P McManus, K Smyth (B Brierley 90).
Mold Alex: S Longrigg, M Girvan, J Culshaw, D Dalton (c), D Torpey, A Ahmed (J Erroll), T Murray, J Mcauliffe (A Economides 78), R McDowell, G Mullen, D Calvert (M Bell 65).