Things are really taking off for Andy's Airmen


Tom Norris

Director of football Andy Preece admitted that seeing Airbus top of the Welsh Premier League was "frightening".

A 2-1 success over reigning champions The New Saints saw Airbus climb to the top of the table on Friday, although Prestatyn moved to the summit following a 4-2 win at Afan Lido on Saturday.

A double from Chris Budrys, either side of an equaliser from Aeron Edwards handed Airbus a memorable three points.

"It's frightening!" smiled Preece. "Even if we are second after the weekend, still ahead of TNS and Bangor, then it will be unbelievable and I have to pinch myself at the minute."

Steve Abbott forced Paul Harrison into a fine stop low down to his right as Airbus fired a warning shot early on in proceedings, while Saints' responded as Alex Darlington hit the base of the post and Ryan Fraughan and Sam Finley forced Ben Chapman into important saves.

Budrys opened the scoring around the half an hour mark, heading home Lee Owens' right wing cross from close range.

Fraughan should have levelled before the break, but blazed high and wide with just Chapman to beat.

Saints flexed their muscles immediately after the interval and got themselves level as Edwards popped up in the box to beat Chapman.

Airbus refused to fold and after substitute Mark Cadwallader won a corner, Budrys emphatically headed home a Tom Field centre.

The visitors tried to get themselves back on level terms, but substitute Greg Draper missed two chances and Saints had what looked like a stonewall penalty waved away after Edwards' tumbled over Owens' outstretched leg.

Four minutes of injury time meant a nervous finale for Airbus although they were able to keep their illustrious visitors at arms length.

Preece could not be anything other than delighted with his team's performance, admitting: "When lads put effort and commitment in like they did then you can only be delighted.

"They have worked their socks off, deserved the goals and created a lot of chances, it was not just a backs to the wall job.

"That was a pleasing thing, I didn't want to just be sat back, soaking up pressure and hoping to hang on for a point, we wanted to win the game.

"The test was when we conceded, do we fold? They hardly had a clear cut chance after that.

"We set out to win the game at the start, there were no thoughts of 'a point's a good point against TNS', of course it is, but we want to win games on our own patch."

Preece also explained why he is refusing to adjust his sights from the pre-season target of a top six finish.

He added: "This club has never finished in the top six so how can you talk about anything other than that? We need to get in the top six first because there are so many clubs capable of doing that.

"As soon as we start talking about something else we may lose a couple of games and then we find things difficult.

"The players have a belief now. We don't get carried away, we keep talking about wanting to finish in the top six, but we need a lot more points to make that happen and we need to keep working hard.

"If we keep winning games like we are then the top six is going to be a reality, but the league is still really tight."

The former Wrexham striker was also happy to concede that TNS should have had a penalty when Edwards was brought down by Owens.

"I think it probably was, but we have had six or seven penalties which haven't been given," he declared.

"To be fair there were two or three dives and if you are going to dive then the referee will be thinking about that and you make a rod for your own back."

Opposition manager Craig Harrison was in agreement that his side should have been awarded a spot-kick.

"There isn't much more you can do is there? We are talking about not having to rely on penalties but it is the way we play, we work the ball in tight areas," he explained.

It was far from the return Harrison wanted as he tasted defeat at the home of his former club, but he remained positive regarding the performance of his side.

"We have been beaten, what can't speak, can't lie, but I thought we played well enough to win the game," he said. "Our keeper hasn't had a save to make, but they have taken advantage of their height and aggression in the box.

"It is not going to be sour grapes. I am happy with 75 or 80 per cent of it because it is probably as well as we have played for two or three weeks.

"We have had five good chances, stonewall penalty and we have controlled the game. It is hard to criticise."

See full story in the Leader

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