HAVING suffered two back to back league defeats for the first time this season just before the enforced break, this win at Barry was the perfect tonic for the Silkmen, boosting their hopes of securing a top six finish.
The long layoff clearly affected both sides in the opening 45 minutes, as they showed signs of rustiness, most notably in the form of wayward passing when not being pressured.
Barry’s best outlet looked to be down the left, through Chris Hugh, who all too often had lots of space to work in.
For Flint, it seemed as though set pieces would be their best chance of creating an opening, or possibly a Jake Phillips long throw, as they struggled to make in roads from open play.
Mark Cadwallader sent a header flying just over the bar from an early free kick, sending a warning of what was to come.
Jack Kenny worked a good opportunity for himself on 20 minutes when he managed to escape the attentions of Curtis McDonald, to race in on goal from the right. Unfortunately, though he dragged his effort across the face of the goal, and it resulted in being neither a shot nor cross.
Just after the half hour mark, McDonald played a simple ball into Hugh, who had moved more infield, and with no-one near him he was allowed to advance deep into the Flint half.
He managed to make it into the 18 yard box without being closed down, and sent in a dangerous ball across the 6 yard line, that just evaded an incoming Nat Jarvis at the far post.
The vital goal came in the 48th minute, courtesy of a Jake Phillips long throw from down near the corner flag on the right. Cadwallader timed his run to perfection, arching his body into perfect position and making a sweet connection with the ball, powering his header into the net.
Barry looked to respond to this setback and made several attempts on the Flint goal in the last half hour or so of the game, but on each occasion they were successfully repelled.
From a corner on 55 minutes, Evan Press came in at the back post to direct a header on target that Ryan Woods had to stretch for, and managed to palm it out from under the bar.
Then, Hugh put over a dangerous cross from the left, that Woods had to dive low and deal with at his near post, although he couldn’t hold the ball. Callum Sainty seized upon the loose ball, but could only push it back into Woods’ path and the big keeper gratefully gathered it up to snuff out the danger.
Phillips then gave away possession just on the edge of his box, and Theo Wharton hit an effort goalwards that Woods looked to have comfortably within his grasp, as he dived to collect it. But the ball somehow squirmed underneath his body, and the Flint keeper’s blushes were spared as it trickled the wrong side of the post, as far as the home side were concerned.
Woods soon made up for that aberration when he produced a fine double save on 78 minutes. Jordan Cotterill sent in a corner that Press met with a thumping header, only for Woods to deny him, then as the keeper lay prone on the ground, McDonald looked certain to score from close range, but somehow Woods stuck out a foot to get a vital block and divert the ball off target.
The remaining time was seen out reasonably comfortably, and if anything, it looked as though Flint might seize a second on the break.
The Silkmen are in action again on Tuesday night (Jan 25) as they take on Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Flintshire derby.
Barry are also in action on Tuesday as they travel to Cardiff Met.
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