One of the highlights of Airbus UK Broughton FC's pre-season programme was this fixture against our close friends from over the border - Chester FC. Following the reformation of the club two years ago and back-to-back promotions, the Cestrians now find themselves in the Blue Square Bet North with a strong squad and large support base, a number of who also follow the Wingmakers. This meant a bumper crowd was in attendance at the Airfield.
A large number of the Wingmakers squad ran Chester close for promotion last season with Northwich Victoria while ex-Wingmaker Ashley Williams started the game for Chester. Within the opening minute Iain Howard blazed over with an overhead kick for the away side before Mike Hayes struck a shot straight at John Danby. Both teams seemed evenly matched, Danby again equal to a Mark Cadwallader effort. Nathan Jarman used the outside of his foot to test Airbus goalkeeper Ben Chapman on 14 minutes but the attempt was easily held.
From a Chester corner Marc Williams flicked a header wide on 18 minutes. A minute later he charged down a Chapman clearance but the ball rolled wide of the post. On 21 minutes Jack Lewis had to clear from the goalmouth with Dave Hankin going close as the visitors began to edge the game. Iain Howard then forced Chapman into a low save on 24 minutes.
On 25 minutes Mike Hayes raced into the area for Airbus and pulled the ball back for trialist Steve Connor to shoot low into the bottom corner and give the Wingmakers a 1-0 lead. Ironically the diminutive forward had been a trialist at Chester earlier in the month. On 33 minutes Tom Field curled a free-kick narrowly wide of the right-post as the Wingmakers grew in confidence.
As Chester regained their composure on 39 minutes Michael Powell forced Chapman into a one-handed stop from close-range with the ball eventually being cleared by Jack Lewis on the goal-line. On 41 minutes Dave Hankin rounded Chapman in the area only to see another Wingmakers trialist Moses superbly block the shot at the near post. Chapman proved he was in inspired form again when he saved well from Ashley Williams moments later.
With half-time approaching Mark Cadwallader was brought down in the area latching onto the rebound after Danby had saved a shot from Mike Hayes. Cadwallader stepped up to take the spot-kick himself and gave Danby no chance with a strong shot to his left. The Wingmakers went into the break 2-0 up having made the most of their opportunities.
Almost immediately after the interval Connor set up Cadwallader for another good opportunity but he sliced his effort wide. At the other end Lee Owens headed off the line from Jarman. On 54 minutes Chester introduced a number of substitutes including Adam Proudlock and a change of goalkeeper. With nearly an hour played Airbus also began making changes, including giving graduates of the Wingmakers youth set-up Myles Hart and Mike Williamson a run-out. On 68 minutes Chapman denied Proudlock - plucking the ball from the air just as he looked about to tuck away a header.
Chester were enjoying much of the possession again but lacked a cutting-edge while the Wingmakers always looked deadly on the break despite not creating as many chances. With quarter of an hour to go a defensive mistake from Chester put Jack Lewis in on goal. He rounded goalkeeper Martin Fearon but Levi Mackin got back to clear just in time.
A terrific long-range strike from Tom Field on 79 minutes nearly extended the Wingmakers lead but it went narrowly over the bar. With 10 minutes to go Airbus did make it 3-0 when Mike Hayes cushioned a header down inside the six-yard box for Jack Lewis to lash home into the roof of the net. With five minutes to go it nearly got worse for Chester as Fearon had to be at full-stretch to turn away another low shot from Hayes.
With a few minutes to go Proudlock headed wide from close-range when it looked easier to score before Hayes scuffed a shot at the other end. In the last minute youngster Mike Jones made a fantastic save to keep out a Jarman effort and that proved to be the last action of the game.
The 3-0 scoreline in the Wingmakers favour may come as a surprise result to some but shows how much Airbus UK Broughton have strengthened this summer. They defended well and took their chances when they came. The gmae proved a good test for both sides and hopefully a few more Chester fans will be tempted to return to the Airfiedwhen fixtures permit.
Airbus - 1: Ben Chapman 14: Lee Owens 3: Jack Lewis 4: Michael Roddy 8: Kyle Armstrong 17: Moses (Trialist) 6: Tom Field 11: Mark Cadwallader 9: Chris Budrys 19: Mike Hayes 23: Steve Connor (Trialist)
Subs - 2: Ryan Edwards 7: Glenn Rule 12: Shaun McCartney 15: Sam Hart 17: Mike Williamson 23: Myles Hart 25: Mike Jones
Chester - 1: John Danby 2: Wes Baynes 3: Sean Clancy 4: George Horan 5: Ashley Williams 6: Levi Mackin 7: David Hankin 8: Michael Powell 9: Nathan Jarman 10: Marc Williams 11: Iain Howard
Subs - 12: Adam Proudlock 13: Martin Fearon 14: Antoni Sarcevic 15: Jon Breeze (Trialist) 16: Carl Pleavin
By Rory Sheehan