THE Wingmakers returned to Bangor City less than a week after the Citizens had knocked them out of the Welsh Cup, looking for revenge as both sides battled it out in the quest for automatic European qualification. Once again the Sgorio cameras where in attendance with S4C streaming this clash live on their website.
The game got off to a lively start with Bangor going close early on. A Les Davies miskick bizarrely provided Chris Jones with a golden opportunity in the six-yard box but the Bangor midfielder could only blaze over. A Minute later Wingmakers goalkeeper Jamie Stephens had to be alert to foil Chris Simm twice. At the other end Chris Budrys headed narrowly wide from a Jordan Johnson cross.
On 14 minutes Johnson was again the creator as he pulled the ball back for Ryan Wade to shoot narrowly wide. The Wingmakers captain Ian Kearney and goalkeeper Stephens earned bookings for dissent after 25 minutes as the game settled into an even contest.
Wayne Riley forced a save from Lee Idzi in the Bangor goal on 31 minutes although both goalkeepers had been relatively untroubled in the opening half an hour. A late challenge from Bangor’s Kris Thomas on Glenn Rule saw him yellow carded on 38 minutes. Meanwhile James Brewerton did well to block Ryan Wade at the near-post as the Airbus man showed good movement.
Les Davies headed straight at Stephens on 42 minutes – a comfortable catch for the Airbus goalkeeper. That summed up a tame first-half which finished 0-0, a fair reflection of the game so far. Within the first two minutes of the second-half Wayne Riley headed over for Airbus as the Wingmakers sought to put early pressure on the hosts.
Riley had the next opportunity when he saw a shot cleared from danger following an Aribus free-kick on 52 minutes. A few minutes later the Wingmakers had a reasonable penalty shout for a push in the area turned down. Meanwhile a slippery pitch was causing both sets of players’ trouble staying on their feet. On 63 minutes Les Davies fired a shot narrowly wide of the far post for the home side.
A good run and shot from Sam Hart was saved by Idzi before the Wingmakers made a double substitution with 20 minutes to go - Jason Jarrett and Mike Hayes on for Glenn Rule and Jordan Johnson respectively, Hayes back from his loan at GAP Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Bangor made a double change of their own with quarter of an hour to go – Levi Mackin and Robbie Booth replacing Damian Allen and Sion Edwards. On 77 minutes former Wingmakers Ryan Edwards curled a shot wide – as close as anyone had come to breaking the deadlock in this tight encounter.
With 12 minutes to go Wingmakers midfielder Tom Field was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Chris Jones and suddenly Airbus were down to 10 men for the rest of the game. This forced the Wingmakers to introduce Michael Roddy in place of Ryan Wade a few minutes later.
Mike Hayes earned himself a yellow card for trying to win the ball off Kris Thomas as the game looked certain to finish goalless. With less than 5 minutes to go Bangor swapped Chris Jones for Gary O’Toole. From a free-kick O’Toole glanced the ball into the back of the net with his first touch to put Bangor 1-0 up. A minute later Stephens had to save from O’Toole who had literally made an immediate impact.
In the final minute Robbie Booth made it 2-0 to Bangor with a shot curled into the top corner, and the Wingmakers were facing a cruel defeat after a performance that deserved better. Despite the result there is still everything for the Wingmakers to play for in the hunt for an automatic route into Europe - through the league.
By Rory Sheehan