Airbus v Afan Lido

THE Wingmakers cemented second place and opened-up a three point gap over the chasing bunch with a 3-1 victory over bottom club Afan Lido at the Hollingsworth International Group Stadium.

Airbus made the perfect start when Wayne Riley had the first attempt of the game, firing a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area and former Wingmaker Kristian Rogers was powerless in goal to prevent the strike from giving Airbus a 1-0 lead on three minutes.

On 13 minutes Glenn Rule had a shot turned away by Rogers with the majority of the game being all Airbus. 

Danny Thomas appeared Lido’s best hope of carrying the ball out of their own half as the visitors struggled in the opening stages – perhaps not helped by manager Paul Reid resigning in mid-week.

Chris Hartland had Lido’s first effort of the game with a decent strike just wide of the near-post but goalkeeper Jamie Stephens appeared to have it covered. A few minutes later Riley struck the bar at the other end and Michael Roddy went close with a follow-up shot.

The Wingmakers went 2-0 up on 25 minutes when a Glenn Rule cross to the far post was headed home unopposed by Steve Tomassen back on-loan from Wrexham. 

Already the destiny of the three points was not in doubt and, a minute later, it was 3-0 when another centre-half – new signing Phil Bolland – finished from close-range, as Lido’s defence failed to deal with a ball across a crowded area.

Having raced into such a commanding early lead the Wingmakers understandably eased off a little while still remaining in total control of the game – dominating possession. It remained 3-0 at the break with only the question remaining how many more the Wingmakers would add in the second-half.

Afan Lido made a change at the interval with Chris Hartland being replaced by Rameer Outlaw but it made little difference to the flow of the game as the Wingmakers were still well on top. To their credit the visitors scrapped hard to ensure Airbus did not increase their lead – getting blocks in and forcing shots off target.

The away side had their best chance of the game on 61 minutes when Simon Prangley worked his way in on goal – his shot beating Stephens but not the crossbar and keeper Stephens collecting the follow-up. The goalkeeper on-loan from Liverpool then made two spectacular one-handed saves as Lido enjoyed their best spell of the game following a couple of set-pieces.

Airbus made their first change of the game on 63 minutes with Steve Abbott coming on in place of Chris Budrys. Two minutes later new signing Jason Jarrett – a midfielder with experience at the highest-level - replaced Tom Field for his debut. The final change minutes later saw Jordan Johnson replace Ryan Wade.

Wayne Riley nearly grabbed his second of the game with just over 20 minutes to go but his fierce drive was bravely blocked on the line by a covering Lido defender. With a quarter of an hour to go Lido made another change with Damon Thomas coming on for Simon Prangley.

With 14 minutes to go Lido pulled a goal back after being awarded a dubious free-kick on the edge of the area. It was superbly curled into the top corner by Kieran Howard to make it 3-1, a goal Lido earned through their never-say-die attitude.

Matthew Thompson replaced Luke Borrelli as Lido made their last substitution of the game on 83 minutes. Ultimately it was to be another routine win for the Wingmakers on their march towards European football.

By Rory Sheehan

Below: Tom Field fires in a shot.