Flint Town United 3 (Beck 18, Cunningham 54, Hill 65)
Holywell Town 0
Cymru Alliance League – Dec 28, 2015
Five years ago this week a crowd of 740 witnessed Flint overpower local rivals Holywell 3-0 to avenge their 2-1 defeat in the September reverse fixture.
As Aden Shannon prepared for his first game in charge, he must have thought the fates were against him, as he had a dearth of striking options, with Simon Thelwell suspended and both Kyle Smyth and Neil Harvey unavailable.
Added to this, skipper Craig Jones was also suspended, leaving a gap in midfield.
Fortunately, local lad Shaun Beck answered his home club’s SOS to re-sign in time for the match, and Shannon also brought in ex-Conwy player Steve Cunningham, playing his first game in six months, plus ex-Rhyl man Phil Clarke, as well as starting himself up front to partner Beck.
Even so, the makeshift look of the Flint line up must have raised a few eyebrows for the home support, but apart from the opening 10 minutes or so, whilst some of them were literally finding their feet on a boggy, bobbly surface, to a man the home side did themselves proud and deservedly swept aside the challenge of their neighbours.
With two minutes on the clock, Holywell’s exciting young prospect Brady McGilloway hit a snapshot from 20 yards that just cleared the Flint crossbar.
Soon after, ex-Flint player Phil Lloyd swept a ball across the face of the Silkmen’s goal, but fortunately for the home side no-one in a red and white shirt could apply the final touch.
Having survived these couple of half-chances, and settled down in the frenzied derby atmosphere, the Flint players began to relax into their game, and from then on were in the ascendancy.
In the 18th minute the hosts hit the front. John Davies won a header just inside the Flint half, and his clearance cum pass found its way into Beck’s path.
Beck out-muscled his marker and nodded over advancing keeper Mike Platt to make it 1-0.
A golden opportunity to double the lead was spurned on 32 minutes, as a Doran free kick was played into the box and fell to Shannon 12 yards out, but he blazed over the bar.
The Holywell keeper produced a fine save five minutes from the break, when a Beck header teed up Stewart Carroll from 20 yards, but Platt was equal to it.
Half-time: Flint 1 Holywell 0.
The Wellmen tried to reassert themselves in the opening stages of the second half, but the Flint rearguard stood firm.
On 52 minutes, Lloyd hit a stinging shot from the edge of the box, but Ross Dalton distinguished himself by leaping to his left to pull off a great stop.
That was to prove a defining moment, as shortly after, Flint scored the crucial second goal.
Carroll crossed low from the left into Paul McManus, whose goalward effort was blocked, but the ball ran out to Cunningham who unleashed a stunning 25 yard shot that swerved its way into the top corner of the Holywell net.
In the 65th minute, a free kick was awarded to Flint on the right, and the ball was played into the box to Beck, whose headed effort was initially blocked. He then collected the loose ball, and in his last contribution before being substituted to a standing ovation from the home fans, found Johnny Hill, who lashed into the net.
Whilst Flint might not have had the legs to match a younger, pacier Holywell side, they certainly had the nous and experience, which proved crucial at the end of the day.
Flint Town United: R. Dalton, J Hill, P Doran, S Cunningham (A Dobson 75), R Courtney, J Davies, P Clarke, S Carroll (c), S Beck (J Breeze 66), P McManus, A Shannon (P Djan 45).
Holywell Town: M Platt, P Williams ( J Maldon 87), J Roberts, J Leonard (C Littler 66), D Griffith, J Jones, B McGilloway (G Williams), T Roebuck, P Lloyd, S Lewis, S Thomas (c).