AFTER over two months without a home game, the Wingmakers earned a well-deserved 1-1 draw with league leaders The New Saints in the WPL's live TV game.
The New Saints enjoyed the bulk of possession in the opening 10 minutes, but blustery wind made it difficult for them to create anything of note. It took 18 minutes for Wingmakers goalkeeper James Coates to be forced into a real save, from Chris Marriott's curling free-kick.
As the half wore on Airbus grew into the game but also found it difficult to create any clear-cut opportunities. They were doing more than enough to contain the visitors though, and did win a number of set-pieces.
At the end of an uneventful first-half, the Saints' Mike Wilde picked up a booking for dissent. Despite the lack of goalmouth action, the Wingmakers could be content with their performance at the halfway stage.
The Wingmakers began the second-half on the front foot, looking to put the visitors under pressure. In doing this, they stretched the game but still neither side could make the breakthrough. On 57 minutes, the Saints' Chris Marriott was booked for a foul on Ryan Wade, who had begun to cause him problems.
On 58 minutes Jamie Mullan had the best chance of the game for TNS when he worked his way into the area, before dragging a shot wide of the far post. At the other end, Ryan Wignall had a tame effort stopped by Paul Harrison in the Saints' goal.
The best move of the game saw the Wingmakers take a deserved lead on 65 minutes. Tom Field lofted a ball from the edge of the area in behind the TNS, for Chris Budrys to latch onto, and he lifted the ball over Harrison to put Airbus 1-0 up.
Immediately the visitors responded by introducing their new star signing, former Welsh international Lee Fowler, on in place of Alex Darlington. The momentum continued to be with Airbus and they nearly doubled their lead from a succession of corners that saw the ball flash invitingly across goal.
It was slightly against the run of play when TNS equalised on 73 minutes. Christian Sargeant's long-range strike was brilliantly turned away by James Coates, but Sam Finley was there to pounce on the rebound, firing into the roof of the net to make it 1-1.
With 10 minutes to go, the Wingmakers' James Owen was booked for an innocuous foul. With just over five minutes to go the Wingmakers' nearly profited from a goalmouth scramble before the replaced Ryan Wade with Steve Jones. Shortly after Airbus made further changes, with Mike Roddy replacing James Owen and Andy Jones coming on in place of Chris Budrys.
There was some late Airbus pressure in the final few minutes but to no avail. The Wingmakers could take confidence from a strong performance against the league leaders, and were unlucky to not to take all three points. It sets up nicely next week's Welsh Cup tie.