Airbus UK Broughton 1-4 The New Saints, The Hollingsworth Group Stadium (04/09/2016)
Competition: Welsh Premier League
Admission Price: £7
Having missed out on Non League Day on Saturday due to a trip back home to visit family, I decided to take in some Welsh Premier League action at Airbus. I’d noticed that the Welsh Premier League have started spreading kick off times right across the weekend, for me this is a great move as it should allow me to take in a few games (and new grounds) this season.
The ground is situated just outside the Airbus factory in Broughton inside the Welsh boarder and there was plenty of parking available outside the ground.
Airbus were promoted into the Welsh Premier League back in 2004 and during their time in the Welsh top flight they have significantly upgraded their ground. The setup at the Airfield is fantastic, they installed their 3G synthetic pitch in 2014, and the ground features three unique retractable floodlights due the close proximity to the Airbus runway.
The main stand sits on the halfway line and can house a couple of hundred fans, the club added the runway stand last year and this can seat 200 fans, it runs for about half the width of the pitch, directly opposite the runway end is the only all standing end. The sports pavilion houses the changing rooms as well as a function room it also has a couple of rows for seating and caters for any visiting press and officials.
The Airfield is a modern fully equipped ground, I was surprisingly impressed by the facilities and having the artificial pitch makes a lot of sense particularly at this level of football. The ground is intimate and allows you to really get up as close as you want and truly take in all the action.
TNS maintained their winning start to the season as they produced a strong second half performance to condemn Airbus to their fourth defeat in five games.
Airbus started the game brightly and took the lead through the impressive Tony Gray who finished smartly after finding himself one on one with TNS keeper Paul Harrison. TNS were slow and ponderous during the opening half, but Airbus were unable to find that crucial second goal that would’ve given them a serious lead to protect.
Craig Harrison’s men were level inside 90 seconds of the restart with Connell Rawlinson tapping in from close range. TNS then pushed and probed for long periods of the second half without really creating any clear cut chances. Airbus did offer a threat on the break but were unable to apply the killer blow, as the second half wore on the home side retreated deeper and deeper into their own half.
TNS eventually took the lead after Alex Darlington’s free kick was allowed to go in unchallenged, in truth this was a soft goal to concede and killed off Airbus. The New Saints workhorse Chris Seargeant got his sides’ third of the game with a smart finish, and he was in the thick of the action late on, missing a penalty which was knocked in by Darlington on the rebound for his second of the game.
The two late goals flattered the New Saints who for long periods of the game looked unable to break down a stubborn Airbus backline. But with five wins from five The New Saints have made the perfect start to the season, as they go in search of their sixth consecutive title.
As for Wingmen they have now lost four games on the bounce having beaten Cardiff Metropolitan on the opening weekend of the season. Despite digging in deep for the majority of the game their heads dropped late on, they must recover quickly if they are to avoid being dragged into the relegation battle.
Match Rating: 7/10 a great contest with the overall scoreline flattering TNS.
Man of the Match: Chris Seargeant, the experienced midfielder put in a strong display despite having his late penalty well saved.