FORMER Rhyl boss Niall McGuinness led Flint Town United to an opening victory in JD Cymru Premier with a 1-0 home success over Newtown.

The Silkmen took the place of JD Cymru North champions Prestatyn Town in the top-flight after the Seasiders’ failed to obtain their FAW Tier 1 Domestic Licence on appeal, and United marked their first game in 22 years at the top of the Welsh Pyramid with a valuable three points at the Essity Stadium.

This should stand McGuinness’ side in good stead as they look to follow in the footsteps of Llandudno and Caernarfon Town by making their presence felt in their first season following promotion.

A bright start from the home side saw them dominate possession early on, with ex-Lilywhite Mark Cadwallader flashing a header against the post on 11 minutes.

They did not have to wait much longer to break the deadlock, with high-profile summer signing Nathan Craig marking his full debut for the club with a trademark free-kick that flew into the bottom corner with 33 on the clock.

McGuinness side were dealt a blow after the break when combative midfielder Rob Hughes, who played a leading role for Prestatyn during the first half of the title-winning campaign last time out, was sent off on 50 minutes for an off-the-ball altercation with a Robins’ player.

The introduction of Brandon Burrows brought an added composure to the midfield area, and the substitute almost doubled the hosts’ advantage when he was put through on goal only to see his goal-bound effort diverted to safety.

Jack Kelly went close for Chris Hughes’ side when he headed over on 63 minutes, but United managed to hold on in the face of concerted pressure late on to get their season off to a flyer.

McGuinness will be hoping his side can build on their first fixture success ahead of a busy week that sees them visit Cefn Druids on Tuesday night, before travelling to Aberystwyth Town on Saturday.