10-man Airbus forced to settle for a point

THE Wingmakers' perfect start to the season came to an end at Belle Vue as they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Rhyl.

The dismissal of Steve Jones mid-way through the first-half was a pivotal moment, but 10-man Airbus still came close to forcing a fifth successive win.

Glenn Rule gave the visitors the perfect start, capitalising on a defensive mix-up between Mark Powell and Chris Rimmer to fire past keeper Alex Ramsay.

But the midfielder twisted his ankle as he scored and was soon forced to limp off to be replaced by Sam Hart.

A fumble by Ramsay from a Lee Owens shot almost presented Airbus with a second goal but Chris Budrys was just unable to force home the rebound.

Rhyl's first real opening saw Mike Walsh slice his shot well wide but, a few minutes later, the hosts levelled when a cross from former Wingmaker Matty Woodward eluded the defence before being touched home by Jason Oswell.

Jones, who had picked-up a needless caution for impeding Ramsay three minutes earlier, then had words with referee Nick Pratt who waved another yellow to end the former northern Ireland international's involvement.

But Airbus continued to press and Chris Simm had a shot well saved by Ramsay before Budrys volleyed over from a good position from an Owens cross.

Another defensive error from Rhyl presented Airbus with a second goal just before the break. Ramsay failed to claim a cross and Lewis Short robbed Cadwallader to restore the lead.

Sam Hart tried a 20-yarder just after the break which tested Ramsay but, with chances at a premium, it was the Lillies who scored on 72 minutes when a second corner in succession from sub Danny Laverty was volleyed home by Ryan Astles.

Airbus mounted a late spell of pressure in search of a winner with a Budrys header producing a superb save from Ramsay, before his opposite number James Coates did well to smother at the feet of Walsh, who had been set-up by Steve Lewis.

The result leaves the Wingmakers one point clear at the top of the Welsh Premier table.

Below: Glenn Rule's painful celebration as he signals for assistance after scoring the opening goal.