Airbus UK Broughton FC are still searching for their first win in a live televised game after this 2-1 defeat away at Port Talbot Town. The cameras from S4C's Sgorio show broadcasting from the GenQuip Stadium were treated to a good game with the hosts just having the edge over a Wingmakers side hit by injury and suspension.
The most notable area of the side affected was the last line of defence with Niki-Lee Bulmer absent with a knee injury. Making his Airbus debut in Bulmer's place at the age of 40 years-old was veteran Welsh Premier goalkeeper Andy Mulliner. The experienced custodian went on to have an impressive showing - at times keeping the Wingmakers in the game.
From the kick-off Port Talbot put the Wingmakers under pressure with Mulliner holding a shot on the goal-line within the first two minutes. A header from a Port Talbot corner on 3 minutes was nodded off the line at the near post by Danny Taylor as Airbus sought to clear their goalmouth. On 7 minutes Mulliner made a good low stop from Cortez Belle but gradually Airbus grew into the game, Glenn Rule having a shot wide after quarter of an hour. After 20 minutes Wingmakers forward Ian Sheridan picked up a booking for a foul.
On 25 minutes Belle fired wide in the area while at the other end Mike Hayes found himself through on goal only to be foiled by Port Talbot's own debutant goalkeeper Bartek Fogler. It was the Wingmakers best chance of the game and the first opportunity either Hayes or Ian Sheridan had to beat the offside trap.
Five minutes later however, the hosts deservedly had the lead. From seemingly nothing the ball dropped in front of the penalty area for the increasingly influential Cortez Belle to lash home inside Mulliner's right-post with a half-volley. In truth the goal had been coming but frustratingly it arrived when the Wingmakers looked likely to start creating chances of their own.
Minutes before half-time a Danny Taylor back-pass almost caused problems for Mulliner before Paul Keddle headed over from a corner for the home side. The hosts held their 1-0 lead at half-time which was a fair reflection of the game, with Port Talbot perhaps feeling they should have been further ahead.
The opening stages of the second-half were a little scrappy but the presence of Belle continued to trouble the Wingmakers defence. On 56 minutes good work by Mike Hayes on the byline saw him cross across the face of goal for Mark Cadwallader. Unfortunately Cadwallader lifted his shot over the bar from yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Shortly after, a strong run from Craig Whitfield set up shots for both Ian Sheridan and Mike Hayes in the penalty area but both were blocked. Just past the hour-mark the Wingmakers made their first substitution with Eddie Hope coming on in place of Mark Cadwallader. Port Talbot also made a change with Lewis Harlin replacing David Brooks. Within a minute Harlin had been booked for a late foul.
After building up a good spell of possession the Wingmakers found themselves back on level terms after 63 minutes. A ball down the right channel was picked up by Ian Sheridan who noticed Fogler off his goal-line. From outside the area the Wingmakers forward lifted the ball over Fogler into the far corner of the net to make it 1-1.
Despite having earned their equaliser the Wingmakers were behind again just five minutes later. A driven cross into the penalty area was met with a powerful header from Cortez Belle which gave Mulliner no chance. It was Belle's second of the game and again, it had come at a stage when the Wingmakers had appeared to be in the ascendency.
Immediately after going behind again the Wingmakers made another substitution with Andy Moran coming on in place of Craig Whitfield. Despite the change Port Talbot were back on top and Belle nearly grabbed a third when he glanced a header wide of the far post. On 77 minutes Andy Mulliner had to make a superb diving save to deny Dylan Blain with a header, and after further pressure, Mulliner made a quality one-handed save to turn a Paul Cochlin header over the bar.
With 10 minutes to go Belle put another header wide while Cochlin picked up a booking for Port Talbot for pulling the shirt of Mike Hayes. With 6 minutes to go the Steelmen made their second change with Dylan Blain being replaced with Chris Hartland. A minute after that they would be reduced to 10 men.
Heading into the last five minutes Port Talbot substitute Lewis Harlin received a red card after a poor challenge on Glenn Rule saw him pick up his second yellow of the game. However, the numerical advantage probably came a little too late in the game to help the Wingmakers. With 3 minutes to go the Wingmakers captain Rule picked up a booking of his own for a foul.
With two minutes to go the hosts made their final change with Martin Rose replacing Cortez Belle. There was enough stoppage-time for the Wingmakers to have one last chance. Andy Moran played Ian Sheridan into the area but Fogler was equal to his low shot and subsequently Port Talbot held out for their 2-1 win.
The main difference between the two sides was 'Man of the Match' Cortez Belle who proved dominant in the air and with the ball at his feet. Though Port Talbot had more chances the Wingmakers were still unlucky to return from South Wales with nothing, sensing that on another day they could have snatched a point.
Airbus - 1: Andy Mulliner 2: Danny Taylor 3: Adam Worton 4: Mark Allen 5: Gavin Cadwallader 6: Glenn Rule (c) 7: Ryan Edwards: 8: Mark Cadwallader (Hope) 9: Ian Sheridan 10: Mike Hayes 11: Craig Whitfield (Moran)
Subs - 12: Eddie Hope 13: Josh Atkin 14: Josh Griffiths 15: Andy Moran 16: Chris Thomas
By Rory Sheehan