Airbus UK Broughton suffered their first home defeat of the campaign to reigning champions Bangor City. With strong wind and driving rain making for a miserable night at the Airfield the two side's produced a better game than could have been expected - but a strong second-half gave the Citizens the win they were looking for.
The Wingmakers made a confident start but neither side created anything of note in the opening 10 minutes of the game. It was a goal out of nothing on quarter of an hour that sparked the match into life and it went the Wingmakers way. An Adam Worton corner was aimed towards the near post where Bangor goalkeeper Lee Idzi appeared to have gathered it comfortably. Possibly due to the difficult conditions however, the ball slipped from his grasp and nestled in the back of the net to give Airbus a 1-0 lead.
Immediately the away side tried to hit back with Sion Edwards drawing a smart stop from Niki-Lee Bulmer. Craig Garside also went close with a shot driven wide while at the other end Danny Taylor set Craig Whitfield up for Airbus - but he could not keep his shot on target. The Wingmakers were worth their lead and Idzi looked suspect at set-pieces, but Bangor were growing into the game.
On 32 minutes the next major incident occurred when one of the visiting defenders clearly pushed Ryan Edwards in the area giving the referee no option but to award the Wingmakers a penalty. Ian Sheridan stepped up to take it but his low shot to Idzi's right was saved by the goalkeeper and cleared by the Bangor City defence.
No sooner had the Wingmakers begun to recover from the blow of the missed spot-kick, they found themselves pegged back on level terms. On 35 minutes a superb cross from Chris Roberts was met by a powerful header from Chris Jones inside the six-yard box which gave Bulmer no chance. It was 1-1 with Bangor seemingly gaining the psychological advantage.
Despite the game having swung in Bangor's favour over the previous 5 minutes, within seconds of getting back level they found themselves behind again. A through ball over the top from Airbus was not cut out by centre-half James Brewerton who, slipping, left Ian Sheridan bearing down on goal. The striker coolly slotted home low to Idzi's left on 36 minutes to put the penalty save behind him and the Wingmakers back in front at 2-1
It was now the Wingmakers turn to enjoy a greater share of possession though Danny Grannon had to clear a shot from the goalmouth. Sheridan turned provider when he set Mike Hayes in on goal with only Idzi to beat. The Bangor goalkeeper saved both attempts from Hayes, the second with his feet to keep his side in the game. Having been let off, Bangor now upped their game even more.
Deep into first-half injury time the visitors found the second equaliser they had been looking for. The Wingmakers cleared a corner only as far as Chris Jones well outside of the penalty area. The midfielder's shot towards goal was nodded beyond Bulmer's reach on it's way in by former Wrexham defender Shaun Pejic. The score remained 2-2 at the interval with both side's feeling they should have been in front.
Bangor started the second-half with an increased tempo, presumably after some choice words from manager Nev Powell at half-time. Jamie Brewerton headed wide of the near post while for Airbus Ian Sheridan looked lively and had a shot straight at Idzi. On 51 minutes Alan Bull curled a shot over for Bangor before Neil Thomas also drove an attempt over the bar.
Danny Grannon cleared another Bangor effort away from the goalmouth but the Bangor pressure was beginning to tell and they soon took the lead for the first time in the game. On 62 minutes following the break-down of another corner Alan Bull fired home low inside the far post from a tight angle inside the area to make it 3-2.
Two minutes after his goal Bull was booked for a foul before Airbus made their first substitution of the game - Mark Allen replacing Tommy Holmes in defence. The change made little difference as a few minutes later the visitors went further ahead as their domination increased.
A low shot from long-distance by Chris Jones crept through Niki-Lee Bulmer in the Airbus goal to make it 4-2 to Bangor after 69 minutes, and effectively put the game beyond the reach of the Wingmakers. A minute later the away side made their first change when Michael Walsh came on in place of Neil Thomas.
With quarter of an hour to go both teams make further changes. Airbus introduced Mark Cadwallader in place of Craig Whitfield, while Bangor replaced Les Davies with Kyle Wilson. To their credit, the Wingmakers rallied as the game entered the final stages but they were unable to create the clear-cut opportunity that would have let them back into the game.
Kyle Wilson headed narrowly over for Bangor with 10 minutes to go before Airbus made their final change - Andy Moran coming on in place of Ryan Edwards. Wilson had another effort - this time shooting wide, before Bangor made their last substitution with two minutes to go - Mark Smyth replacing Sion Edwards.
The last action of the game saw the Wingmakers pick up their first yellow cards of the evening. Glenn Rule and Adam Worton were booked for fouls on Kyle Wilson and Chris Jones respectively as their frustration began to show. Into stoppage-time there were no more chances for either side as the Wingmakers were forced to accept defeat.
Overall Bangor deserved their win for the strength of their second-half performance while the Wingmakers will be disappointed that they could not keep up the momentum they had in the first-half.
Airbus - 1: Niki-Lee Bulmer 2: Danny Taylor 3: Adam Worton 4: Tommy Holmes (Allen) 5: Danny Grannon 6: Glenn Rule (c) 7: Ryan Edwards (Moran) 8: Danny Desormeaux 9: Ian Sheridan 10: Mike Hayes 11: Craig Whitfield (M. Cadwallader)
Subs - 12: Mark Allen 14: Mark Cadwallader 15: Josh Roberts 16: Andy Moran 17: Lee Jones
Bangor - 1: Lee Idzi 17: Shaun Pejic 3: Chris Roberts 5: James Brewerton 6: Michael Johnston 7: Chris Jones 8: Craig Garside 9: Les Davies (Wilson) 11: Sion Edwards (Smyth) 14: Alan Bull 12: Neil Thomas (Walsh)
Subs - 10: Kyle Wilson 15: Eddie Jebb 16: Mark Smyth 18: Michael Walsh 2: Peter Hoy 13: Huws Meilir
By Rory Sheehan