THE Wingmakers missed-out on the chance TNS at the top of the table as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw at Newtown's Latham Park.
Within four minutes Airbus had struck the woodwork when Tom Field’s free-kick clipped the bar, following a touch from goalkeeper Chris Mullock. From the resulting corner, Sam Hart headed over as the Wingmakers made a strong start.
On 17 minutes Airbus took the lead when Hart fed Field on the edge of the area, and he found the left corner with a low right-foot shot to put the Wingmakers 1-0 up. It had been an even game until the goal, so it was important that Wingmakers gained the advantage.
Despite Field being fouled inside the area on 27 minutes, the Wingmakers were only awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. From the set-piece Field struck the bar again, with the rebound eventually being turned in on the goal-line by Ian Kearney. Airbus were now 2-0 up and suddenly in full control, with the hosts having only had a couple of tame efforts on target.
Mike Pearson picked up a harsh yellow card for a push on former Wingmaker Matty Cook after 36 minutes, and shortly after Field earned a booking for dissent. The cards kept coming as Newtown’s Kieran Mills-Evans was also booked for a foul on 40 minutes.
The Wingmakers’ Glenn Rule was next in the book on 43 minutes for a trip on Matthew Hearsey. From the resulting free-kick on the corner of the area, Craig Williams curled a low shot inside the near-post to make it 2-1, bringing Newtown back into the game on the stroke of half-time.
The second-half began as competitively as the first finished, with Craig Williams going close with another free-kick for Newtown on 51 minutes. Ten minutes later Williams was booked for a foul on Lewis Short as heavy rain and strong winds affected the overall quality of the game.
The hosts began to enjoy a spell of pressure and this would soon pay dividends. On 65 minutes Matthew Hearsey struck the post before moments later, Andy Jones made it 2-2, grabbing the equaliser for Newtown with a glancing header into the far corner from just yards out.
A minute later, Mike Roddy lifted a shot over the bar, as the Wingmakers tried to get back in front straight away. With 20 minutes to go, Newtown’s Craig Williams curled another free-kick narrowly wide.
With quarter of an hour remaining, the Wingmakers’ Mike Roddy was booked before the first changes of the game were made. For Newtown Jeff White replaced Sean Evans, while Airbus introduced Tom Williams in place of Ryan Wade with 10 minutes to go.
As the game reached the latter stages, Newtown enjoyed chances but were unable to apply the finish. With four minutes to go Sam Hart dragged an effort just wide for Airbus, and Mike Roddy saw a shot deflected off-target as the game finished with end-to-end action.
Ultimately neither side could find the winner and had to settle for a point. While the Wingmakers will be disappointed to have let a 2-0 lead slip, and miss the chance to draw level with TNS, a point away at a resilient Newtown still has to be viewed as a good result.
by Rory Sheehan
Below: Kearney and Mike Pearson celebrate with the Airbus support.