Airbus UK Broughton exited the Loosemores Cup at the second stage with Welsh Premier champions The New Saints going through 4-2 on aggregate. Both teams fielded strong line-ups but the 2-0 deficit the Wingmakers carried from the away leg proved too much to overcome despite a positive performance.
There was a lively start to the proceedings when the Saints' Craig Williams tried to catch Chris Doran off his line with a long-range drive. Ten minutes later Doran was forced into a save at his near post. The game developed into an even contest but with little significant action in the final third. The Saints' Matthew Berkeley looked the most lively and only a fantastic one-handed save from Doran prevented him from scoring a sreamer in the top corner on half an hour.
On 32 minutes Andy Moran fashioned the Wingmakers first chance when he created space in the area to draw a save from Paul Harrison. As the New Saints broke Leon Clowes was yellow carded for a challenge on Berkeley. The Wingmakers were playing well without creating too many opportunities - the New Saints two goal lead from the first leg seemingly too big a mountain to climb. Just before half-time Danny Desormeaux went close for Airbus with his shot deflected narrowly wide.
It remained 0-0 at the break and shortly after the resumption Mark Allen was booked for a foul on Chris Seargent. Minutes later Marcus Giglio's speculative effort for the visitors just missed the top corner. On 56 minutes the Saints put the tie beyone doubt when Matt Berkeley worked his way into the area unopposed - giving Doran no chance with a poweful shot to make it 1-0 on the night and 3-0 overall. Immediately Craig Harrison replaced Carl Owen with Simon Smith.
Both sides had chances with Nick Rushton seeing a header go just wide for Airbus and Alex Darlington going close with a good drive for The New Saints. On 61 minutes Paul McManus came on in place of Danny Desormeaux. Minutes later Andy Moran picked up a booking for a foul before the away side doubled their lead on 66 minutes. From a cleared corner Craig Williams drove in a long-range effort making it 2-0 - and 4-0 in the tie overall.
There was a break in play with 20 minutes to go after a stamp from Tommy Holmes on Nick Rushton. It took the officials a long time before coming to the right conclusion and handing The New Saints skipper a yellow card. Meanwhile Rushton's night was over and he was replaced with teenage youngster Asa Hamilton for a taste of first-team experience.
The Wingmakers deservedly pulled a goal back on 73 minutes when two substitutes combined - Paul McManus crossing to the far post for Simon Smith to despatch a header for 2-1 on the night. The visitors made a couple of changes in the latter stages as Berkeley and Gigilo gave way to Richie Partridge and Charlie Proctor respectively.
In the closing minutes the Wingmakers looked much the better team with the youngsters introduced as subs' showing real promise while Thre New Saints introduced Ash Jones in place of Barry Hogan.
As the game moved into stoppage-time a foul on Asa Hamilton in the area won the Wingmakers a penalty. Andy Moran stepped up to send Harrison the wrong way with a powerful strike to the right to equalise on the night. At 2-2 the Wingmakers were still 4-2 down on aggregate and that was the final score at the end of the game.
Despite going out of the cup there were a number of positives from the Wingmakers to take from this game. They have now held The New Saints to two home draws already this season and matched them in this one with another good performance. A number of youngsters have also had good experience being involved in the first-team squad which bodes well for the future.
Airbus - 1: Chris Doran 2: Ryan Edwards 3: Giovanni Feliciello 4: Leon Clowes 5: Mark Allen 6: Ashley Williams 7: Andy Moran 8: Danny Desormeaux (McManus) 9: Carl Owen (S. Smith) 10: Nick Rushton (Hamilton)
Subs - 12: Paul McManus 14: Simon Smith 15: Asa Hamilton 16: James Davies 17: Chris Thomas
The New Saints - 1: Paul Harrison 13: Aeron Edwards 3: Chris Marriott 4: Marcus Gigilo (Partridge) 16 Connell Rawlinson 6: Tommy Holmes 12: Christian Seargent 8: Barry Hogan (A. Jones) 9: Matthew Berkeley (Proctor) 20: Alex Darlington 11: Craig Williams
Subs - 7: Scott Ruscoe 14: Craig Jones 27: Richie Partridge 18: Charlie Proctor 17: Ash Jones
By Rory Sheehan