A trip to the seaside saw Airbus UK Broughton take a late point at Prestatyn Town on a lovely sunny afternoon at Bastion Gardens. Having been reduced to 10 men for most of the second-half this was a good result despite the growing eagerness to get back to winning ways.
The home side are currently propping up the Welsh Premier and were ready and willing to scrap for everything all afternoon. The Wingmakers matched them in this respect which ultimately led to a fiery contest.
The tone was set when after applying some early pressure the Wingmakers saw Ashley Williams booked for a foul on four minutes. The early stages were a little lacklustre with both sides loose in possession although from nowhere on 16 minutes Phil Clarke unleashed a shot which struck the inside left post for Airbus. Unfortunately neither Andy Moran or Carl Owen could reach the rebound with the goal gaping.
On 24 minutes the hosts had Paul O'Neill booked for scything down Carl Owen before three minutes later Gareth Wilson's shot tested Callum Hawthorne in the Airbus goal. The Wingmakers were forced into an early change. Unlike Ashley Williams, Carl Owen was unable to shake off an early knock and was replaced with Nick Rushton.
At the stroke of half-time Prestatyn's Michael Parker received a yellow card for a foul on Gio Feliciello. The cards were totting up whilst attempts at goal were few and far between - summing up the first-half. It remained 0-0 at the break.
In the opening minutes of the second period both sides had attempts at goal through Danny Desormeaux for Airbus and Jon Fisher-Cooke for Prestatyn. The home side made their first change on 49 minutes with Ross tephens on in place of Dan Evans. Over the next five minutes Desormeaux went into the book for a high challenge and Leon Clowes pulled a shot wide for Airbus.
The first real danger the Wingmakers had to deal with saw Callum Hawthorne race off his line to clear only to see Steve Rogers return the ball towards goal. Thankfully skipper Mark Allen was back on the line to head clear. The game's most controversial moment as far as the Wingmakers were concerned however, was only minutes away.
On 56 minutes what appeared to be a good tackle in front of the penalty area by Matty Woodward was deemed a bookable offence and worthy of a free-kick by the officials. Players from both sides became embroiled in protests before Woodward was then shown the red card and the Wingmakers were down to 10 men. Though the free-kick was defended well the odds were being increasingly stacked against Airbus.
Passions were running high and this was underlined on the hour when both teams had players booked for a challenge on the half-way line. Gareth Wilson was yellow-carded for Prestatyn and likewise Phil Clarke for Airbus. The home side nearly had the edge in the encounter when Hawthorne missed the ball from a long throw into the area and - just yards out - Fisher-Cooke had an open goal but couldn't direct his header on target.
Five minutes later the hosts did have the lead. In pushing forward to try and win the game themselves the Wingmakers received a blow when a cross into the area was steered home by Steve Rogers inside Hawthorne's left post - putting Prestatyn 1-0 up. The Seasiders immediately replaced Jon Fisher-Cooke with Steve Harris. A minute later Rogers was after another goal when he drew a one-handed save from Hawthorne.
The Wingmakers responded well as Phil Clarke and Nick Rushton both looked to trouble the goalkeeper. With just over 10 minutes remaining Craig Harrison decided on a double-change to up the momentum. Andy Moran and Phil Clarke were replaced with Simon Smith and Matty Cook respectively. Prestatyn meanwhile replaced player-manager Neil Gibson with Chris Davies.
With 8 minutes to go the Wingmakers had a penalty shout turned down when Simon Smith clearly had his shirt pulled in the area. At the other end and in the closing stages Callum Hawthorne was forced to tip away a Steve Harris shot from an angle. It didn't look like it would be the Wingmakers day.
As the seconds ticked down to time added-on a speculative cross to the far post from Nick Rushton was spilled by Prestatyn goalkeeper Jon Dunt. The ball bounced over the line into the back of the net before the Seasiders could clear it - giving the Wingmakers an a scrappy but well-earned equaliser to make it 1-1. With four minutes additional time to play both teams looked to win it with Prestatyn Town coming closest - only to be denied by another good save from Hawthorne late on.
Though the Wingmakers came to Bastion Gardens hopeful of taking all three points - with what went on during the afternoon, in the circumstances this was a positive result.
Prestatyn - 1: Jon Hill Dunt 2: Kai Edwards 3: Jack Lewis 4: Dave Hayes 5: Paul O'Neill 6: Gareth Wilson 7: Michael Parker 8: Neil Gibson Davies 9: Jon Fisher-Cooke (Harris) 10: Steve Rogers 11: Dan Evans (Stephens)
Subs - 12: Chris Davies 14: Ross Stephens 15: Steve Harris
Airbus - 1: Callum Hawthorne 2: Ryan Edwards 3: Giovanni Feliciello 4: Matty Woodward 5: Leon Clowes 6: Mark Allen 7: Ashley Williams 8: Danny Desormeaux 9: Andy Moran (S.Smith) 10: Carl Owen (Rushton) 11: Phil Clarke (Cook)
Subs - 14: Matty Cook 15: Simon Smith 16: Paul McManus 17: Nick Rushton
By Rory Sheehan