THE NEW SAINTS U19 1-1 FLINT TOWN UNITED U19
JD WELSH PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE (NORTH)
PLAYED AT PARK HALL STADIUM, OSWESTRY
SUNDAY 28TH JANUARY 2018
MATCH REPORT BY DAVID FIGG
The New Saints Under 19 team’s hopes of extending their lead at the top of the JD Welsh Premier Development League (North) were dashed as they could only draw 1-1 at home to Flint Town United at Park Hall Stadium on Sunday.
Saints had gone into Sunday’s game with a 7 point lead at the top over 2nd placed Bangor City after a 5 match winning run dating back to their only league defeat so far (2-3 away by Connah’s Quay Nomads) on 12th November.
Meanwhile, Flint went into the game in 8th place out of 12 in the table with a record of 5 wins, 2 draws and 5 defeats from their 12 league games so far.
Indeed, it was Flint who took something of a surprise lead in the 4th minute when Joel Griffiths’ free kick from the halfway line to the right of middle saw Connor Turner challenge Saints’ keeper Aaron Jones, with the ball falling to Nathan Mendoza who fired his low left foot shot from 12 yards into Jones’ right hand corner.
Saints went close to equalising in the 29th minute when Paul Naylor’s free kick from 20 yards just to the right of middle was well tipped past his left hand angle by Flint keeper Elliot Quinlan for a corner.
There were few serious clear-cut chances for either side in the first half but the next one came Flint’s way in the 42nd minute when Turner’s low through ball down the right found Charlie Hughes, who made a strong run into the box before having his right foot shot saved at his left hand post by Jones.
A golden chance came Saints’ way in the 44th minute when Harry Bower ran down the right before crossing to the far post to Rob Reynolds, whose left foot angled drive from 8 yards seemed to be heading into Quinlan’s left hand corner till the keeper somehow managed to hold onto it.
Saints suffered a blow when Naylor was shown a straight red card by referee Patrick Wilding 27 seconds into added time at the end of the half for kicking out at Flint’s Iwan Rogers to leave the hosts to battle on with just 10 men.
The first serious chance of note in the second half came Saints’ way with exactly 14 completed minutes played when Liam Ihekwoaba’s long ball over the top on the right found Bower who ran towards the byeline before seeing his low cross diverted by Flint defender Griffiths towards goal before Quinlan made a great save to his right to prevent an own goal.
A great chance came Saints’ way in the 62nd minute when Bower ran down the right before crossing to Reynolds, whose right foot shot from 2 yards out was spilled by Quinlan before the ball ran towards James Gregory-Cork who was tackled as he tried to take a shot from the rebound.
There was a touch of controversy about Saints’ equaliser in the 90th minute when, from a throw in on the Saints’ right which should have been Flint’s after both the referee and his assistant failed to spot that the ball had nicked off a Saints player. Michael Cole’s throw in found Chris Craven whose right foot flick on found Bower who ran into the right of the box before being adjudged to have been brought down by Jack Jones. Referee Wilding said penalty and after the fuss had died down, Callum Jones stepped up to calmly fire the resulting spot kick into Quinlan’s left hand corner.
There were no more serious chances for either side after that and a few seconds into the 6th minute of an originally indicated minimum of 5 minutes added time at the end, the final blast of referee Wilding’s whistle brought the game to a close.
It had been an overall below par performance by Saints who played better in the second half with manager Steve Benyon saying his side “hadn’t been at the races.”
Indeed, it was much more a case of 2 points dropped than a point gained with that late equaliser.
Saints: Aaron Jones, Matt Cole, Liam Ihekwoaba, James Gregory-Cork, Paul Naylor, Callum Jones, Rob Reynolds, Harry Bower, Chris Craven, Lewis Kaye. Subs: James Parry (for Kaye 55), Dennis Bates (for Craven 72), Liam Parry (for Reynolds 63).
Flint: Elliot Quinlan, Zach Williams, Tom Burrows, Joel Griffiths, Jack Jones, Ryan Coney, Connor Turner, Iwan Rogers, Nathan Mendoza, Charlie Hughes, Nathan Saunders. Subs: Kieran Townson (for Coney 79), Lewis Roberts (for Saunders 53)