Airbus UK Broughton's second-ever appearance in a live-televised game saw them return empty-handed from The New Saints. Hard work from the home side's groundstaff and officials ensured that the game went ahead while most other scheduled Welsh Premier games fell foul of the weather - and they were to be rewarded for their efforts with the 3 points.
The game got off to a competitive start with the Wingmakers matching their full-time hosts on a difficult surface. However a defensive lapse put them behind on 12 minutes and made the job in front of them even harder. A ball into the box was lofted over the Airbus back line where Phil Baker had nipped round the back to stab home from close-range to give The New Saints a 1-0 lead.
On quarter of an hour Phil Clarke struck a free-kick straight at Saints' goalkeeper Paul Harrison. There was little action in front of goal for both sides which was not surprising given the conditions which made it difficult to control the ball with a first-touch. Airbus goalkeeper Kristian Rogers had to be alert to snuff out the Saints' Alex Darlington after they'd taken advantage of a good Wingmakers' move breaking down.
TNS looked threatening on the break but it was from a corner that Baker nearly doubled their lead and his personal tally for the afternoon. He rose highest to head the ball against the bar 5 minutes before the break. With a couple of minutes to go to half-time a speculative effort from Danny Desormeaux represented the Wngmakers first real shot at goal. They were to come closer just prior to the interval when an Ashley Williams shot from range just whistled past Harrison's right-hand post.
After the break the Wingmakers made a positive start with Harrison having to palm away a strong shot from Paul McManus. On 53 minutes Phil Clarke was the first player to pick up a booking when he was adjudged to have handled a ball that had bounced awkwardly in front of him. The Wingmakers enjoyed a nice spell of possession but were given a warning just after the hour mark when Craig Jones and Chris Sharp saw shots go wide and over the the top corner respectively.
On 66 minutes the Wingmakers made their first change with Jamie Smith coming on in place of Phil Clarke while Christian Seargent replaced Alex Darlington for The New Saints. Meanwhile Danny Desormeaux also picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on 67 minutes. Two minutes later Airbus made another substitution with Andy Moran on in place of Paul McManus.
Perhaps the game's turning point occurred with less than 20 minutes to go. Ryan Edwards burst into the area and passed to Nick Rushton. The youngster then saw his shot apparently blocked by the hand of the Saints' Tommy Holmes but no penalty was given. Minutes after that disappointment the outcome of the game was to be put beyond doubt.
With quarter of an hour to go Craig Jones jinked down the right and cut inside to fire a shot into the bottom far corner of Kristian Rogers' goal. The goal gave the hosts a 2-0 lead and along with the growing mist made the Wingmakers task a near impossibke one. On 79 minutes the home side replaced Chris Sharp with Jamie Wood.
Into the final 10 minutes Ashley Williams went into the book for a foul before seeing another strike held by Harrison. With 6 minutes to go te Wingmakers created a good chance when Matty Cook's cross was met by the head of Andy Moran who directed the ball narrowly wide of the far post. Immediately after the Saint's replaced Richie Partridge with Matthew Berkeley while at the same time Tom Rowlands came on in place of Carl Owen for the Wingmakers.
Aeron Edwards saw his chance to chip Rogers closed down by the goalkeeper with 5 minutes to go. The Wingmakers did apply some pressure to the hosts in the dying minutes but were unable to create the clinical opportunity they were looking for before the referee called time on the match.
The game was a tighter affair than the final score suggests with neither side able to play their best football in front of the cameras. It's just a shame that the Wingmakers were unable to do themselves justice for the second time on live television.
Airbus - 1: Kristian Rogers 2: Ryan Edwards 3: Phil Clarke (J.Smith) 4: Matty Woodward 5: Mark Allen 6: Ashley Williams 7: Matty Cook 8: Danny Desormeaux 9: Nick Rushton 10: Carl Owen (Rowlands) 11: Paul McManus (Moran)
Subs - 12: Andy Moran 14: Tom Rowlands 15: James Davies 16: Jamie Smith
TNS - Paul Harrsion : Danny Holmes : Chris Marriott : Phil Baker : Tommy Holmes : Scott Ruscoe : Aeron Edwards : Alex Darlington (Seargeant) : Chris Sharp (Wood) : Craig Jones : Richie Partridge (Berkeley)
Subs - Connell Rawlinson : Jamie Wood : Marcus Giglio : Christian Seargent : Matthew Berkeley
By Rory Sheehan