Airbus UK Broughton FC went down 3-0 to neighbours Chester of the Evo-Stick Premier at their Exacta Stadium in the first meeting between the two clubs since the Cestrians re-formed a year ago. The hastily arranged friendly certainly gave both sides the work-out they were looking for, and while the score might not flatter the Wingmakers they were equal to their hosts for two thirds of the game.
The fixture saw Wingmakers Glenn Rule, Mark Cadwallader and Paul McManus return to their 'old' club while former Wingmaker favourite Ashley Williams was in the Chester starting line-up.
Both teams made a positive start to the match with Chester the first to register a shot on target with Niki-Lee Bulmer saving from Alex Brown. That chance enabled the home side to sustain a bit of early pressure but the Wingmakers weathered it. After the initial opening action the game lost momentum and was mainly played in the midfield with little goalmouth action or creativity flourishing.
After the half-hour mark the Wingmakers managed to get their passing game going and eventually this created their best oportunity of the half. Good work from Mike Hayes on the byline saw him cut the ball back to the edge of the area to Ryan Edwards. He unleashed a left-footed shot that just went wide of Chester goalkeeper John Danby's left-hand post.
Though Airbus were enjoying their best spell of the game Chester still looked dangerous whenever they came forward. Jerome Wright in particular looked a threat and he fired in a strike that was excellently tipped over the bar by Bulmer. From the resulting corner Michael Taylor headed wide while at the other end Eddie Hope saw a shot deflected easily into the grasp of Danby.
Just before half-time Wright found himself in space again on hte edge of the area but his shot was tame and easily dealt with by Bulmer. The 0-0 stalemate at the interval was a fair reflection of a pretty uneventful first-half, both sides cancelling each other out.
The introduction of Wes Baynes at the break for Chester offered the hosts even more going forward and within a minute of the resumption they had a free-kick. Wright played it into the area but Michael Wilde's header was dealt with by Bulmer. Wilde then saw a shot go wide before Airbus broke with a great surging run from Hayes. Unfortunately the forward was unable to add a finish or assist before he was dispossessed.
With the home side looking to attack the game opened up more and more, and on 55 minutes the first Airbus substitutions arrived. Mark Allen, Matty Woodward and Mark Cadwallader replaced Gavin Cadwallader, Tommy Holmes and Glenn Rule respectively. Shortly after the changes the deadlock was broken.
On 57 minutes a flick-on from Michael Wilde was latched onto by Jerome Wright who, on the edge of the area, managed to lift the ball over Bulmer whose finger-tips could not quite prevent it from dropping into the back of the net. Chester had a 1-0 lead and were definitely on the front foot with another of their substitutes Jamie Rainford looking particularly lively.
With just over 20 minutes to go Mark Jones and Paul McManus appeared in place of Danny Desormeaux and Mike Hayes for Airbus. Chester began to dominate the game and Rainford was unlucky to see a long-range effort fly over the bar.
It was on 67 minutes that Chester doubled their advantage when a corner swung towards the far post was headed home by centre-half George Horan. The goal made it 2-0 and effectively settled the result. The Wingmakers then went on to replace Eddie Hope, Ian Sheridan and Ryan Edwards with Josh Griffiths, Andy Moran and Ross Rule.
Just two minutes after their second goal Chester made it 3-0 when a cross along the edge of the 6-yard box was clinically converted by Jamie Rainford. The Wingmakers tried to salvage something at the other end and went close from a free-kick after Wes Baynes had scythed down Rees Darlington.
Late on Bulmer was called on to save from an Ashley Barnes header and the last significant moment of the game saw the Wingmakers goalkeeper replaced with Callum Hawthorne for the last few minutes.
Despite the defeat the Wingmakers will still take a number of positives from the game as well as match fitness. It was also a good experience for them to play in front of a large crowd with the attendance over the 1,000 mark - a great achievement in a pre-season friendly for the re-born Chester.
Chester - 1: John Danby 2: Liam Brownhill 3: Rob Marsh-Evans 4: George Horan 5: Michael Taylor 6: Ashley Williams 7: Jeroma Wright 8: Michael Powell 9: Chris Simm 10: Michael Wilde 11: Alex Brown 12: Greg Stones 14: Jamie Rainford 15: Robbie Booth 16: Wes Baynes 17: Bradley Barnes 18: Joe Ormrod 19: Adam Judge
Airbus - 1: Niki-Lee Bulmer 2: Danny Taylor 3: Rees Darlington 4: Tommy Homes 5: Gavin Cadwallader 6: Glenn Rule 7: Ryan Edwards 8: Danny Desormeaux 9: Ian Sheridan 10: Mike Hayes 11: Eddie Hope 12: Mark Allen 13: Callum Hawthorne 14: Matty Woodward 15: Mark Cadwallader 16: Paul McManus 17: Mark Jones 18: Andy Moran 19: Ross Rule 20: Josh Griffiths 21: Nathan Nicholls
By Rory Sheehan