Airbus UK Broughton FC's search for a win goes on after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aberystwyth Town at the Airfield on Friday night. Given the number of players absent for the Wingmakers this has to be considered a decent result - especially when the visitors were able to call on ex-Premier League midfielder Sean Thornton and former Football League stalwart Andy Parkinson in their starting line-up.
The game got off to the worst possible start from an Airbus perspective with a goal conceded within the first minute. From the kick-off Aberystwyth pushed forward - the move ending with a ball into the area which was turned in at the near post by Glenn Rule for an unlucky own goal. The visitors had been gifted a 1-0 lead and from the very beginning the Wingmakers were chasing the game.
During early Aberystwyth pressure Wingmakers defender Mark Cadwallader picked up a yellow card for a dubious foul. On-loan Llanelli attacker Jordan Follows played Parkinson wide in the area for 'Aber' but his shot across goal failed to find the target. It was 10 minutes into the game before the Wingmakers created an opportunity but when they did they went close. Good running by Ian Sheridan enabled him to shoot and when goalkeeper Steve Cann palmed the shot away, it was straight to Craig Whitfield who clipped the bar from close-range.
Sion James drove a wild shot over the bar for the away side as the game began to settle down. On 26 minutes Niki-Lee Bulmer made his first save from Andy Parkinson before Adam Worton curled a shot over the bar for the Wingmakers after more good work by Sheridan. The Wingmakers finished the half strongly and were unlucky to be on the end of a few poor decisions from the officials.
After the interval Aberystwyth looked to extend their lead and nearly did so when a Moses Barnett header from a corner was cleared off the line at the far post by Danny Taylor. On 50 minutes the Wingmakers made their first change with a double substitution. Danny Grannon and Mike Hayes replaced Mark Cadwallader and Josh Roberts respectively. Four minutes later they made their final substitution when Josh Griffiths came on in place of Danny Desormeaux.
Just after the hour Bulmer was forced into a point-blank save from Follows before Mike Hayes registered a shot on target at the other end. By now the visitors were much less of a threat but the Wingmakers were struggling to make anything happen in the final third - a Glenn Rule free-kick being held by Cann as close as they came.
The lively Follows did manage to play in Sean Thornton for Aberystwyth who drew a magnificent save from Bulmer on 67 minutes. A powerful shot from the Irishman was destined for the top corner until the Wingmakers goalkeeper managed to tip it around the post. Shortly after Mark Allen saw a header stopped by Cann following the breakdown of a set-piece for Airbus.
Into the last 20 minutes the visitors picked up a couple of yellow cards - for Dave Swanick and Geoff Kellaway for a foul on Josh Griffiths as the game became a bit scrappy. Kellaway tested Bulmer with a shot to the near post with quarter of an hour to go, but just as time seemed to be running out for the Wingmakers they were back on level terms.
Great work by Craig Whitfield saw him put goalkeeper Cann under pressure with the ball at his feet and unable to pick up the back-pass. As Whitfield closed him down the ball reached Mike Hayes who was free in the area to tap home with a low finish to make it 1-1. The equaliser came with 13 minutes to go and gave the Wingmakers the momentum they were looking for.
Wyn Thomas had a chance shortly after for Aberystwyth but Airbus were flying and nearly took the lead again through good work by Whitfield. He beat the offside trap and found himslef in on goal, beating the advancing Cann with a superb shot only to be denied by the left post. Minutes later Mike Hayes went close with a shot as he ran into the area, the chance turned away by Cann as the Wingmakers upped the pressure.
The visitors were hanging on as Airbus enjoyed their best spell of the game - being helped as stoppage-time approached when Aberystwyth were reduced to 10 men. Sean Thornton received a red card on his debut for violent conduct, before 'Aber' made their first change of the night - Craig Williams replacing Geoff Kellaway.
Unfortunately the Wingmakers ran out of time in their search for a winner and had to settle for yet another draw. There are positives to be taken from the game though, and on the evidence of the last 20 minutes of this game, the win will come soon.
Airbus - 1: Niki-Lee Bulmer 2: Danny Taylor 3: Adam Worton 4: Mark Cadwallader (Grannon) 5: Mark Allen 6: Glenn Rule (c) 7: Ryan Edwards 8: Danny Desormeaux (Griffiths) 9: Ian Sheridan 10: Craig Whitfield 11: Josh Roberts (Hayes)
Subs - 12: Mike Hayes 14: Josh Griffiths 15: Danny Grannon
Aberystwyth - 1: Steve Cann 2: Dave Swanick 3: Moses Barnett 4: James McCarten 5: Sion James 6: Wyn Thomas 7: Geoff Kellaway (C. Williams) 8: Sean Thornton 9: Jordan Follows 10: Ricky Evans 11: Andy Parkinson
Subs - 12: Craig Williams 14: Jonathan Evans 15: Kris Nalborski 16: Aneurin Thomas
By Rory Sheehan