THE Wingmakers' lingering hopes of challenging The New Saints for the title were virtually ended as they went down 2-1 to neighbours gap Connah's Quay in the much-delayed Flintshire derby.

Airbus UK
gap Connah's Quay
Report by Rory Sheehan

A competitive start saw Airbus first to go close with a Tom Field shot fired over the bar. Excellent work by Ryan Wade close to the touchline then gave Andy Jones an opportunity at the far post, but he was denied by a good double save by Nomads goalkeeper Terry McCormick.

Surprisingly quality chances were at a premium in what was a very open game during the first 25 minutes. As on Friday night, it was an own goal the eventually gave the Wingmakers a 1-0 lead on half an hour, when a ball to the near post was inadvertently turned into his own net by the Nomads’ Russell Courtney.

Minutes after the goal, Ryan Wade worked his way into the area only to see his shot palmed away by McCormick, before Andy Jones went close from the resulting corner. Airbus finished the half the stronger but Nomads still carried a threat going forward through the experienced Ricky Evans, as it remained 1-0 at half-time.

Five minutes after the break former Wingmaker Mike Hayes tested James Coates with a header which the Airbus goalkeeper was equal to. On 55 minutes the Nomads were level at 1-1, the Wingmakers’ Lee Owens scored an almost identical own goal to the one scored by Courtney in the first-half. Airbus looked to hit back instantly but Ryan Wade had a goal controversially disallowed for offside.

Mike Roddy saw a header nodded off the line as the Nomads came under heavy Airbus pressure. Against the run of play a Nomads counter-attack ended with Hayes being denied by a block from close-range by Ian Kearney. The move gave the Nomads a lift and when a free-kick was swung in from the right on 69 minutes, Michael Burns rose highest in the area to head them into a 2-1 lead.

With less than 20 minutes to go the Wingmakers replaced Steve Jones with Ryan Wignall as Airbus rallied. At the other end, Gary Roberts struck a shot narrowly wide for the Nomads. With just under quarter of an hour to go Airbus introduced Chris Budrys in place of Mike Roddy.

Lee Owens picked up a booking for Airbus with 10 minutes to go following a challenge on Burns. Nomads’ goalkeeper McCormick also went into the book for time-wasting. With a couple of minutes to go Kearney headed narrowly wide for Airbus as time began to run out.

Unfortunately the Wingmakers pressure didn’t tell with McCormick in fine form for Nomads. The last chance of the game fell to Mike Hayes at the other end but his shot rolled just wide. Few could begrudge the visitors their win given their hard work, organisation, and for taking their chances.

Photo: Ryan Wade nets only to be denied by an offside flag.