News from the Wingmakers

A BLOGGER from The Beautiful North visited the Hollingsworth Group Stadium for the Boxing Day derby between Airbus UK Broughton and gap Connah's Quay. Here's their account of the day:

WORLD famous derbies have been well covered and there are some cracking pieces on them. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go and watch Boca vs River plate or el Classico but they all require a lot of planning. We thought we’d try something a little different and a little closer to home

Boxing Day is a huge day for football and whilst friends of ours were heading to various different football grounds across the country watching their respective teams play in their new Christmas trainers we decided to abandon our comfort zone. We were after a derby, something with a bit of bite. A quick scour of the fixtures and we’d decided. Airbus UK Broughton vs Gap Connahs Quay in the Welsh Premier League. A local derby – perfect.

I love football. I love the game itself, the culture surrounding it and the people i’ve met through it. But it’s a game that’s becoming increasingly contaminated. Ridiculous ticket prices and the draconian treatment of fans amongst other things are squeezing the life out of it, especially at the top end of the game. This, however, was football at it’s purist and I loved it.

We arrived at the “Hollingsworth group stadium” 20 minutes before kick off, had a little wander through Broughton itself and then headed in. To my surprise, there were TV cameras from the excellent Sgorio there. (Sgorio is basically the welsh Match of the Day. It’s well worth watching. Entirely in welsh apart from the odd English word like “crossbar” and John Hartson is on it – give it a watch.)

It felt like a derby, there was a damp tension in the air and steam rising from groups of people huddled together for warmth. I adore coming to games such as these, it feels like you’re at somebody else’s house for dinner. As in, you don’t know where the toilet is but they’re more than happy to show you. It’s lovely.

The stadium is beautiful in the way only a football stadium can be. It backs on to an airfield, part of the huge airbus complex, and has 3 small stands, flood lights and a burger van. We settled in a stand behind the goal for the first half with what looked like the main body of the away support (about 40 in total). Considering the conditions, the standard of football was quite impressive. 0-0 at half time, slide tackles all over the show and I’d had a cup of tea (6/10 – added rain water didn’t help).

The second half was better again, more slide tackles, massive blocks and debatable refereeing decisions. It finished 2-2 and the 237 strong crowd lapped it up. This mightn’t have been the Merseyside derby or Boca Juniors – River plate at La Bombonera but it was a real, old fashioned local derby and there was something romantic about it.

I’m the first to moan about modern football and I begrudge paying the prices I do to watch my team play. I’m not saying this will ever replace my team but it is out there and it’s well worth supporting the smaller clubs in your area. The non league day is fantastic idea aimed at promoting non league clubs and getting supporters of bigger clubs through the turnstiles. If you’ve got twitter, give them a follow and the next time you don’t fancy paying £45 quid for QPR away, have a look at the fixtures and give a smaller local club your support.

AIRBUS UK Broughton director of football Andy Preece was left to rue missed first-half chances against Flintshire rivals Gap Connah's Quay.

But, in the end, he was reasonably satisfied with a 2-2 draw on a Hollingsworth Group Stadium quagmire.

"We had some really good chances in the first half to go ahead and not taking them was the reason why we didn't get the three points," he said.

"Getting the first goal was always going to be crucial but we got done on the break both times and we found ourselves 2-0 down on a pitch that really cut up.

"But credit to the lads, they got the goals back and the final 25 minutes was pretty much end to end and either side could have won it.

"I think you have to see it as a positive and as a point gained."

The sides meet again on New Year's Day at the Deeside Stadium, kick-off 2.30pm.

THE Flintshire derby between Airbus UK Broughton and gap Connah's Quay goes ahead today (Boxing Day) as planned after the Hollingsworth Group Stadium pitch passed a morning inspection.

And director of football Andy Preece wants the Wingmakers to build on Sunday's excellent 4-2 away win at Llanelli to guarantee a top six finish.

It would take a freak set of results to prevent his side finishing in the upper half before the league splits in two next month and Preece says: "Now we've got to take as many points as we can before the split because then we'll be playing the top teams week in week out.

"No team in this league should get within 10-15 points of TNS given they are full-time and given their pitch.

"But we have to try and push Prestatyn for third and maybe Bangor City for second. That would be an unbelievable achievement."

Preece is sweating on the fitness of goalkeepers Ben Chapman and Aaron Morrison and the availability of defender Ian Kearney, but the visiting Nomads have worse selection problems.

Rob Jones suffered a suspected broken nose and Dean Canning badly bruised his arm in Friday’s 5-1 defeat at The New Saints.

It has left player-manager Mark McGregor desperately short of numbers as he is already without Alan Hooley and Jack Rowlands.

But McGregor could be boosted by the return of Danny Dobbins.

AIRBUS UK Broughton went second on goal difference, but were forced to hit back from two goals down to share the spoils with derby rivals gap Connah's Quay.

The conditions were the only winner at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium as both sides battled to come to terms with driving rain and an increasingly soggy surface.

Ryan Wade went close for the Wingmakers in the early stages from Steve Abbott's lay-off and both players were just unable to connect with a Lee Owens cross in front of an inviting goal.

But Rob Jones was proving lively for Nomads and with just wide with an 18-yarder before seeing another effort cleared off the line.

A poor clearance from home keeper Aaron Morrison went straight to Rhys Healey and the hosts were relieved to see his effort go wide of an empty goal.

Two fine top-over saves from John Rushton, the second from a Wayne Riley piledriver, ensured a blank scoresheet at half time.

But, as the rain eased for the second period, the entertainment value increased after the break.

Rob Jones appeared to control the ball with his hand as he danced through the home rearguard on 51 minutes before planting the ball past Morrison and, five minutes later, Jamie Petrie lofted a shot over Morrison's grasp to put the visitors two goals to the good.

Stung by the reverses, the Wingmakers started to find their feet, after Wade had lifted a shot onto the bar, a Glenn Rule corner led to pinball in the box before Steve Tomassen got the final touch on 64 minutes.

Four minutes later, the scores were level when Jamie Wynne put a Mike Roddy free kick from wide onto the right into his own net.

But the hosts were unable to find another goal and it was Nomads who almost snatched all three points, Ricky Evans firing over and Healey dragging a shot across the face of the target.

Below: Steve Tomassen (left of shot) forces home the first Airbus goal.

A BRACE from Wayne Riley fired the Wingmakers into third place in a 4-2 away victory over Llanelli at Stebonheath Park on Sunday.

Director of football Andy Preece was forced to field injured second-string keeper Aaron Morrison in goal after being refused permission to sign an emergency replacement by the FAW on Friday.

But his side responded with an excellent performance and capitalised on some defensive blunders by their hosts.

Four goals were scored in an action-packed opening 20 minutes, Tom Field firing the Wingmakers in front when home keeper Craig Morris allowed a free kick to slip through his grasp after six minutes.

But two goals from Craig Moses put the Reds ahead, the striker side-footing home a cross before being found unmarked at the far post by Adam Davies.

Some slack defending allowed Riley to level the scores from close range and the Reds rode their luck when a Mike Hayes shot was deflected off defender Ryan Batley and onto the bar.

The visitors had claims for a penalty waived away by referee Huw Jones after a foul on Steve Abbott and the game remained without a further goal until the 66th-minute when home defender Chris Thomas could only deflect the ball into the path of Riley, who completed his brace.

And any hopes of a home comeback were killed-off by substitute Jordan Johnson, whose shot was parried by keeper Morris but still crossed the line for the visitors' fourth 12 minutes from time.

Airbus UK FC

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