Airbus UK Broughton FC were denied their first win of the season away at Prestatyn Town with just minutes to spare. As with last season's fixture it was an ill-tempered affair with the Wingmakers suffering the brunt of the officials decisions - this time finishing the game with nine men. A last-minute penalty denied them the win that their otherwise excellent performance deserved.
Within the first 30 seconds Craig Whitfield shot narrowly over the bar from distance - showing that the Wingmakers meant business with Prestatyn looking shaky at the back. In a good positive start they soon got their slick passing game going although Dan Evans had a shot on target for the hosts. There were few significant goalmouth incidents in the first 20 minutes however as the Seasiders looked to press Airbus and break up their play.
On 28 minutes the game shook into life when a deep cross was met with a Whitfield header - which forced Prestatyn goalkeeper Dave Roberts to tip around the post. From the resulting corner Gavin Cadwallader met the ball at the near post with a header which, despite Roberts' desperate attempt to keep it out, forced the ball into the back of the net. With just under half an hour gone the Wingmakers had a 1-0 lead.
Shortly after the goal Danny Desormeaux registered another shot on target for the Wingmakers as they stamped their superiority on the game. Michael Parker looked to test Niki-Lee Bulmer in the Airbus goal on 38 minutes and Ross Stephens also went close with a curling shot just minutes before the break. It remained 1-0 at the interval however, with Airbus having dominated much of the first-half.
Within seconds of the resumption the Wingmakers had doubled their lead. Mike Hayes latched onto a long through ball and, taking his time, picked his spot to slot the ball into the far right corner giving Roberts no chance. A minute later the referee issued the first bookings of the game as Craig Whitfield and Steve Rogers became involved in an off-the-ball altercation.
With the hosts becoming increasingly frustrated Ethan Woodfine was handed a yellow card for a clear trip on Ryan Edwards after 50 minutes. The game changed three minutes later however when another yellow card was issued - a second to Craig Whitfield for an apparent foul, followed by the inevitable red, and the Wingmakers were reduced to 10 men.
Prestatyn then had a penalty shout against Bulmer turned away but the goalkeeper clearly took the ball cleanly with a home forward bearing down on goal. Captain Glenn Rule was the next Wingmaker to go into the referee's book following an innocuous foul as tempers began to boil over. Stephens curled another shot over for the hosts before their skipper Dave Hayes was booked for a trip on Mike Hayes.
With around half-an-hour to go Mike Hayes was replaced with Danny Grannon - the Wingmakers new centre-half recently signed from Colwyn Bay making his debut - to help shore up the defence. Three minutes later Prestatyn made a double substitution with Dan Evans and Steve Harris giving way for Jon Fisher-Cooke and Carl Murray.
The Wingmakers had continued to enjoy possession despite being reduced to 10 men but with just over 20 minutes to go Prestatyn were back in the game. An impressive low strike from inside the penalty area by Michael Parker pulled the score back to 2-1 and gave them more incentive to push forward and put the Wingmakers on the back-foot.
Danny Desormeaux had a shot blocked as the Wingmakers soldiered on and with less then quarter of an hour go Ian Sheridan had a header saved from a corner. With 10 minutes to go Prestatyn replaced Adam France with Darren Hughes. As the game reached the latter stages the Wingmakers appeared to be coping with the hosts direct style of play in search of an equaliser and even created chances of their own.
Ian Sheridan played in Glenn Rule but Roberts was equal to his shot and when Sheridan was through on goal himself only the finger-tips of Roberts and the crossbar denied him. From the ensuing corner Rule saw a shot turned away as Roberts kept his side's chances alive. Airbus looked to be finishing the stronger side.
Eventually though, the Wingmakers resistance was broken. With minutes to go Tommy Holmes appeared to block a shot at goal with his hand. Prestatyn were awarded the penalty and Tosh was shown the red card which left the Wingmakers to finish the game with just nine men. Prestatyn's player-manager Neil Gibson stepped up to send Bulmer the wrong way, despatching his penalty low to his right to make it 2-2 at the death.
In the last action of the game Darren Hughes curled a shot just over the bar as the Seasiders missed the opportunity to take all three points. Ultimately it was probably Airbus who viewed this game as two points lost. Not many teams reduced to nine men will hold out for a point but the Wingmakers overall performance deserved so much more.
Prestatyn - 1: Dave Roberts 2: Chris Davies 3: Ethan Woodfine 14: Adam France (D. Hughes) 4: Dave Hayes (c) 8: Neil Gibson 7: Michael Parker 20: Ross Stephens 10: Steve Rogers 16: Steve Harris (Murray) 12: Dan Evans (Fisher-Cooke)
Subs - 22: Guto Hughes 9: Jon Fisher-Cooke 17: Carl Murray 24: Darren Hughes 23: Rees Lewis 25 Jon Hill-Dunt
Airbus - 1: Niki-Lee Bulmer 2: Danny Taylor 3: Adam Worton 4: Tommy Holmes 5: Gavin Cadwallader 6: Glenn Rule (c) 7: Ryan Edwards 8: Danny Desormeuax 9: Ian Sheridan 10: Mike Hayes (Grannon) 11: Craig Whitfield
Subs - 12: Rees Darlington 13: Josh Atkin 14: Mark Cadwallader 15: Danny Grannon 16: Gareth Owen 17: Mark Jones
By Rory Sheehan