This pre-season friendly against Airbus UK Broughton's Flintshire neighbours Buckley Town of the Huws-Gray Alliance saw the kick-off delayed significantly due to a road accident that saw the M56 closed in both directions. This meant that the Wingmakers preparations were not helped by the late arrival of a large number of the squad due to the unavoidable traffic problems.
The visitors would offer a tough work-out howeve, being a strong outfit in the HGA with many familiar faces in their ranks - Mark Allen, Andy Moran, Phil Molyneux, Neil Wynne, Joey Desormeaux, Anthony Williams and Ross Rule are all former Wingmakers and on Buckley Town's books.
Within the first five minutes the Wingmakers had an early chance as Jordan Johnson lifted a shot over the bar. Johnson struck again - firing narrowly over on 12 minutes but it was becoming an even game with the visitors getting stuck in and playing their way forward. Only a superb close-range save from Ben Chapman kept a Chris Barrow header out.
Lee Owen dug out a chance for Airbus just past quarter of an hour as the Wingmakers began to shade the game. On 25 minutes Derek Taylor shot just wide of the far-post to prove that Buckley posed a threat on the break. At the other end Mike Hayes turned on the edge of the area but saw his attempt deflected away by a covering defender.
From a Mike Hayes cross on 32 minutes Chris Budrys powered a header towards the bottom corner only to find a Buckley defender on the line. As the Bucks' struggled to clear the Wingmakers were foiled by goalkeeper Leon Bimpson who took a knock for his trouble.
It was 0-0 at half-time and though Airbus had more of the possession Buckley were worth their being still on level terms. Three minutes after the interval however the Wingmakers made their breakthrough when a deep cross into the area from Sam Hart was headed in from close-range by Chris Budrys to make it 1-0.
A minute after the goal Bimpson had to be alert to keep out a Glenn Rule header from just yards away as Airbus turned up the pressure. On 55 minutes Rule broke beyond the defence and slid the ball through for Mike Hayes to tap home and make it 2-0 as the Wingmakers began moving up through the gears.
On the hour the Wingmakers were awarded a penalty for a Buckley Town hand-ball in the area. Mike Roddy gave Bimpson no chance from the spot with a low shot to his right to make it 3-0. By now both sides were making a number of changes which kept the tempo of the game high with Airbus continuing to make Buckley work hard.
Jordan Johnson drew a save from Bimpson with 20 minutes to go as the game became increasingly one-sided in the Wingmakers favour. Against the run of play though, Buckley's Chris Barrow struck the crossbar with a good effort on the counter-attack.
A number of the Wingmakers exciting Academy youngsters were given a run-out for the final quarter of an hour to gain first-team experience, including 16 year-old's Myles Hart, and Zyaac Edwards - a younger brother of current TNS star Kai Edwards. Danny Taylor - a comparative veteran at 21 - then clipped the far post with a decent effort after a strong run down the right.
To their credit Buckley kept giving it everything despite Airbus dominating the play in the middle third. Edwards showed a maturity beyond his years with the quality of his touch, passing and enterprise going forward. Other youngsters then entered the action - Leigh Owens and Jordan O'Brien - an excellent reward for their successful efforts at Development level under Steve Benyon and Lee Starkey.
The game finished 3-0 to Airbus which was a fair reflection of their dominance particularly in the second-half. What was most pleasing from a Wingmakers perspective was that despite their preparation being hampered by circumstances beyond their control - the side still delivered a professional performance. The added bonus was that a number of youngsters also offered a glimpse of a promising future when given their opportunity, and handled the occasion well.
By Rory Sheehan