Airbus v Newtown

AIRBUS UK Broughton moved into third place on goal difference above The New Saints after grinding-out a 2-1 Friday night win at home to Newtown.

Having won the away fixture earlier in the season 7-1, hopes were high that the Wingmakers could continue their rich vein of goal-scoring form against Bernard McNally’s improving young Robins side.

Jordan Johnson fired an early effort over the bar as the Wingmakers began to find their feet. On 10 minutes the Wingmakers captain Ian Kearney was booked for a trip with the game yet to burst into life. The visitors were notably working hard to close Airbus down in midfield.

An apparent hand-ball in the area by Kieran Mills-Evans from a Sam Hart cross saw the Wingmakers appeal for a penalty - but it was turned down. Fortunately it did not matter as from the resulting corner on 18 minutes, Mike Hayes powered home a header to put the Wingmakers 1-0 up.

With the lead the Wingmakers began to enjoy the majority of possession and looked threatening from corners. Newtown goalkeeper Dave Roberts and some last-ditch defending kept the Wingmakers out in a couple of goalmouth scrambles while Chris Budrys flicked a header just over the bar.

Out of nothing, on 28 minutes a Jamie Price free-kick floated into the area was turned home by Kieran Mills-Evans at the near-post, to give Newtown an equaliser as the Wingmakers failed to clear their lines. At 1-1 with nearly half an hour played the game was very now open with the away side full of confidence.

On 35 minutes the Wingmakers goalkeeper Ben Chapman was forced into a low save from a Craig Williams shot. At the other end Chris Budrys headed wide at the far-post. Ian Kearney went close with another header from a free-kick for Airbus but it remained 1-1 going into the interval.

Early on after the break Wayne Riley drew a save from Dave Roberts as the Wingmakers started the second-half in determined mood. On 52 minutes they gained their reward when a good run from Wayne Riley saw his low cross met in the six-yard box by Chris Budrys who made it 2-1 to Airbus. The Wingmakers then replaced Jordan Johnson with Ryan Wade.

A superb double-save at his near-post by Ben Chapman kept out Newtown’s Craig Williams following a well-worked throw-in on 57 minutes. On the hour the Wingmakers Lee Owens was given a yellow card for a hard challenge on Newtown’s Luke Boundford.

Tom Field tested Roberts on 63 minutes with a low shot but the goalkeeper was equal to it. The Wingmakers then made another change as Steve Abbott was replaced with Michael Roddy with 25 minutes to go. A minute later the Wingmakers were awarded a penalty for a deliberate trip in the area on Wayne Riley. Tom Field stepped up only to see his low shot to Roberts’s left turned away by the goalkeeper as it stayed 2-1.

Boosted by the penalty save, Newtown then enjoyed a spell of pressure. From a corner Andy Jones saw a shot cleared off the line after the visitors had utilised their aerial threat. The game then went a bit scrappy with neither team fashioning a real chance going into the last 10 minutes. On 84 minutes Newtown replaced ex-Wingmaker Matty Cook with Zac Evans while Airbus replaced Ian Kearney with Kyle Armstrong.

In the dying stages Chapman turned a shot around the post before Nicky Ward fired high and wide as the away side searched for an equaliser. In the end however the Wingmakers had done enough to close the game out and take the points as it finished 2-1.

[by Rory Sheehan]

Below: Mike Hayes heads home the first Airbus goal with Newtown keeper Dave Roberts all at sea.