A SUPERB 78th-minute goal from Ian Kearney secured a superb 2-1 away win at Carmarthen Town to keep Airbus UK Broughton within three points of Welsh Premier leaders The New Saints.

Carmarthen Town
Airbus UK
Report by Andrew Lincoln

More significantly, with third and fourth-placed Bangor City and Rhyl both losing, the three points sent Andy Preece's men 13 points clear of the chasing pack as they look to secure a second successive summer of European football.

In a generally scrappy affair, much of which was contested in midfield, Airbus enjoyed the only early scoring opportunity on 11 minutes when Tom Field’s free-kick into the penalty area found Sam Hart, whose weak header was comfortably gathered by keeper Scott James.  

But, out of nothing on 25 minutes, Ryan Wignall found space and crossed from the left for Andy Jones to react the quickest and glance a close range header to put the Wingmakers in front with his second goal in two league games.

On 42 minutes, Hart had another chance when he raced on to a long ball but his angled drive failed to trouble the keeper and it was the hosts who scored to level in added time when a Luke Cummings long throw reached Liam McCreesh, who headed home unmarked from six yards.

Paul Fowler set-up a chance for Corey Thomas on 57 minutes but his volley from the edge of the box went straight to Coates who, minutes later, kicked away a low strike from Liam Thomas.

With Carmarthen now pressing hard, Cummings delivered a perfect deep cross to the far post where Christian Doidge headed the ball back into the goalmouth only for a closely-marked Liam Thomas to divert it narrowly over the bar. Moments later, in an almost identical move, Cummings’ cross was chested down by Doidge and Liam Thomas dispatched a stunning volley that was denied only by a superb flying save from Coates.  

Carl Evans managed a close-range header which Coates dealt with capably and then, on 74 minutes, Fowler moved forward and from 30 yards released a powerful drive that Coates turned aside with another spectacular full-length save. From the resultant corner-kick a Cortez Belle close-range header flew just marginally over the bar.

Having withstood the assault, the Wingmakers struck back decisively and Kearney won the ball in the centre circle before running forward unchallenged to the edge of the box and curling a delightful shot beyond James' despairing dive.

With their spirit apparently broken, the hosts failed to create any further chances and they had goal scorer McCreesh sent-off for dissent.

And Airbus should have added a third deep into stoppage time when Ryan Wade outpaced Craig Hanford to reach a long clearance and took the ball around James but then, inexplicably, slammed his shot against a post with an open goal at his mercy and the ball bounced safely away.

The defeat was the fourth in a row for Mark Aizlewood's Old Gold while the Wingmakers now have four home games on the bounce and six points will probably be sufficient to secure a second appearance in the Europa League.