THE FIRST LIVE GAME at the newly refurbished Park Avenue pitch was as fast-paced and as exciting as anything we’ve seen on Sgorio recently as Matthew Bishop’s Seasiders battled Andy Thomas’ Wingmakers in a contest that was great to watch for the neutral from start to finish.
Welsh Premiere reported that “Ditching the 3-4-2-1 for this game after a few matches of experimenting with the system, Airbus went back to a 4-2-3-1 for their trip to Ceredigion but, early-on at least, it looked like Thomas might have been better off setting his team up with an extra man at the back as Geoff Kellaway and Luke Borrelli kept finding little pockets of space in amongst the Airbus backline. Borrelli, for example, forced an excellent fingertip save out of Ryan Nield in the away goal after just four minutes, when a great cross from Daniel Alfei found Jonny Spittle scrambling to keep up with the forward as Borrelli got on the end of the cross and glanced his header towards the far corner, only for Nield to tip it out for a corner.
Two former TNS teammates, Chris Mullock and Ryan Fraughan, came face-to-face with each other after seven minutes as the former misplaced a simple pass when the ball was given back to him by the home defenders, only for Fraughan to intercept and find himself one-on-one with the goal-scoring stopper at a tight angle. There appeared to be options in the box for Fraughan to square the ball too, but maybe the angle wasn’t on as the Airbus forward opted for to shoot rather than pass and Mullock saved well to make up for his mistake.
The match then became quite a scrappy affair in midfield with neither side able to find any real fluency in possession, but The Wingmakers shaded this 15 minutes period of the game in terms of chance creation as Jake Hulley played a delightful diagonal ball a long way up the pitch into the path of Jamie Menagh – a real nuisance for Aber throughout the game – on the edge of the box. The young attacking midfielder looked around, laid the ball back coolly for Tony Gray, but Airbus’ leading scorer could only curl a 25-yard effort inches wide.
Chris Mullock then made another mistake as he threw a ball 30 yards and straight into the path of Menagh, who tried to lob the usually superb stopper, but he couldn’t quite get the right arc on his effort; Airbus were full of ideas and desire, but they just couldn’t score – in fact, neither side really looked like scoring with 30 minutes played.
Four minutes later, however, Borrelli put the home side ahead somewhat against the run of play, but Airbus only had themselves to blame for repeating mistakes they’d made earlier on in the game. Chris Jones had a very quiet game down the left for Aber, but this time he was given the space to curl a very inviting cross towards the back post and no one was watching Borrelli so he wondered into space and finished easily past Nield, who could do very little to prevent the striker notching his fourth goal of the season from six yards out.
Airbus totally bossed possession, arguably had a few more chances than the home side in the game, but their final ball was letting them down badly and Tony Gray wasn’t in the game at all really, as nobody was feeding him the ball in the right positions. The second half started fairly tamely, but Chris Jones’ rasping effort which flew back off the bar after being struck from 30 yards out seemed to be the moment that sparked the game back into life as Borrelli then found Geoff Kellaway in plenty of space in the Airbus box a few minutes later and the club’s top scorer really should have scored, but he didn’t even work Nield in the Airbus goal. The home side were made to pay for those misses two minutes later, as Jonny Spittle made up for his mistake in enabling Borrelli to score the first goal by notching the equaliser from a Jamie Menagh corner, as his header hit the bar and went in to level the scores.
Airbus more or less took control of the game in the minutes that followed, although Aber weren’t without their half-chances as the scores were level with both sides desperately wanting to grab the winner that would send them into The Top Six. Gray made a fantastic run after 69 minutes to receive Menagh’s long ball as he ran down the middle of the Aber defence; the former Chester forward took it down well, striking the ball on the half-volley from the edge of the box, but Mullock covered the near post very well and saved to prevent Airbus going ahead.
Borrelli soon put Aber back in front, however, and Nield had nobody but himself to blame for this one as he received a pass back from his defender, looked away before he kicked the ball on to the next defender, and miskicked the ball into the path of the onrushing Borrelli who was pressing hard and the Aber 11 completed his brace as a result. The game was over three minutes later as Chris Jones, who really stood out for the home side along with Borrelli, burst clear down the left flank, cut into the box and drew a foul from Spittle to concede the penalty, which Jones would put away and Spittle would get sent off for in the process” here.
Aberystwyth Town 3-1 Airbus UK Broughton
Aberystwyth Town Scorer: Luke Borrelli 34’, 74’, Chris Jones 79’
Airbus UK Broughton Scorer: Jonny Spittle 56’