Airbus win race to sign Newtown skipper 'AJ'

THE Wingmakers have beaten-off competition from at least two other Welsh Premier clubs to secure the signature of Newtown skipper Andy 'AJ' Jones, who has spent the past two seasons at Latham Park.

The 28-year-old is primarily a centre-back but can also operate effectively at centre forward when required, as evidenced by a goal haul of 10 in 55 appearances for the Robins, including a hat-trick at Prestatyn last season.

Jones was selected to attend the English Universities' squad trials while studying at Worcester University in 2008 and has also been on the books of Shrewsbury Town, AFC Telford United, Hednesford Town, Bromsgrove Rovers, Stourport Swifts and Redditch United.

He joined Newtown from Evesham United in January 2012.

"Andy is a leader who is versatile and will complement the players we already have," says director of football Andy Preece.

"A key player in Newtown's great form this season, I am sure he will be a great signing for us."

Wingmakers swoop for ex-Reds' reserve Wignall

FORMER Liverpool reserve attacker Ryan Wignall has joined the Wingmakers from Huws Gray Alliance outfit Conwy Borough.

A product of the Reds' academy, the 24-year-old twice won the FA Youth Cup while on the books at Anfield, playing in the same side as Prestatyn Town goalkeeper Dave Roberts.

After being released by Liverpool he enjoyed a successful spell with Vodkat North West Counties side AFC Liverpool.

Wignall, who can play in central midfield or as a winger or striker, then played for Cammell Laird where he was spotted by Belgian league side Royal Racing FC Montegnée and penned a full-time contract with the Liege-based club.

He returned to the UK for three months to play for Wimborne Town, but was back in Belgium in January 2012 before joining Burscough in March the same year.

After a further spell in Belgium, he went back to AFC Liverpool, joining Conwy this summer. 

Kearney's last-gasp winner sends Airbus back on top

AIRBUS UK Broughton won the Flintshire derby thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Ian Kearney and returned to the top of the Welsh Premier table as rivals TNS lost at Newtown.

The Wingmakers suffered blow in the warm-up when Glenn Rule hobbled off on crutches after injuring a knee, with Mike Pearson going to right back and Phil Bolland drafted off the bench into the centre of defence.

But the Airmen made light of the disruption to take the game to Connah's Quay in the early exchanges and they were rewarded on 20 minutes when Sam Hart's shot from the edge of the box struck the ground before looping over the grasp of keeper Terry McCormick.

Danny Forde came close to an equaliser after 34 minutes when his shot hit the foot of a post before rebounding to safety before Richie Partridge fired wide at the other end.

Gary O'Toole looked to be in on goal for Nomads but had handled the ball and the half ended with another Partridge effort being cleared by Jack Riley.

The Nomads asserted more in the second half and Paul Mooney's powerful drive rattled the crossbar on 52 minutes.

With the hosts looking more likely to score it was no surprise when they levelled just past the hour mark, a breakway finding former Wingmaker Mike Hayes, who coolly slotted into the corner past keeper James Coates.

Home player-manager Mark McGregor headed just wide from a Mooney free-kick but Hayes headed tamely at Coates from another opening.

Airbus reorganised with sub Tom Williams partnering Chris Budrys up-front, but a winner looked unlikely until the hosts made a mess of clearing their lines and Ian Kearney followed-up to gleefully ensure Hart's shot, which had hit a post, crossed the line.

There was still time for Nomads to mount a final attack from which Danny Desormeaux fired over from a good position as Airbus reversed last season's New Year's Day result at the Deeside Stadium.

Below: Lewis Short celebrates with goal scorer Sam Hart.

Two-goal lead slips as Airbus draw at Newtown

THE Wingmakers missed-out on the chance TNS at the top of the table as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw at Newtown's Latham Park.

Within four minutes Airbus had struck the woodwork when Tom Field’s free-kick clipped the bar, following a touch from goalkeeper Chris Mullock. From the resulting corner, Sam Hart headed over as the Wingmakers made a strong start.

On 17 minutes Airbus took the lead when Hart fed Field on the edge of the area, and he found the left corner with a low right-foot shot to put the Wingmakers 1-0 up. It had been an even game until the goal, so it was important that Wingmakers gained the advantage.

Despite Field being fouled inside the area on 27 minutes, the Wingmakers were only awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. From the set-piece Field struck the bar again, with the rebound eventually being turned in on the goal-line by Ian Kearney. Airbus were now 2-0 up and suddenly in full control, with the hosts having only had a couple of tame efforts on target.

Mike Pearson picked up a harsh yellow card for a push on former Wingmaker Matty Cook after 36 minutes, and shortly after Field earned a booking for dissent. The cards kept coming as Newtown’s Kieran Mills-Evans was also booked for a foul on 40 minutes.

The Wingmakers’ Glenn Rule was next in the book on 43 minutes for a trip on Matthew Hearsey. From the resulting free-kick on the corner of the area, Craig Williams curled a low shot inside the near-post to make it 2-1, bringing Newtown back into the game on the stroke of half-time.

The second-half began as competitively as the first finished, with Craig Williams going close with another free-kick for Newtown on 51 minutes. Ten minutes later Williams was booked for a foul on Lewis Short as heavy rain and strong winds affected the overall quality of the game.

The hosts began to enjoy a spell of pressure and this would soon pay dividends. On 65 minutes Matthew Hearsey struck the post before moments later, Andy Jones made it 2-2, grabbing the equaliser for Newtown with a glancing header into the far corner from just yards out.

A minute later, Mike Roddy lifted a shot over the bar, as the Wingmakers tried to get back in front straight away. With 20 minutes to go, Newtown’s Craig Williams curled another free-kick narrowly wide.

With quarter of an hour remaining, the Wingmakers’ Mike Roddy was booked before the first changes of the game were made. For Newtown Jeff White replaced Sean Evans, while Airbus introduced Tom Williams in place of Ryan Wade with 10 minutes to go.

As the game reached the latter stages, Newtown enjoyed chances but were unable to apply the finish. With four minutes to go Sam Hart dragged an effort just wide for Airbus, and Mike Roddy saw a shot deflected off-target as the game finished with end-to-end action.

Ultimately neither side could find the winner and had to settle for a point. While the Wingmakers will be disappointed to have let a 2-0 lead slip, and miss the chance to draw level with TNS, a point away at a resilient Newtown still has to be viewed as a good result.

by Rory Sheehan

Below: Kearney and Mike Pearson celebrate with the Airbus support.