Airbus UK defeated by Cefn Druids in Welsh Cup semi final
AIRBUS UK had their Welsh Cup dreams shattered in a shock 4-1 defeat by Huws Gray Alliance side Cefn Druids in Saturday’s semi-final at Rhyl.
The Wingmakers were up against it from the start with injuries to Niki-Lee Bulmer, Glenn Rule and Ryan Edwards, plus suspensions for Adam Worton and Craig Whitfield effectively keeping half a team out. Director of Football Andy Preece had little choice but play players out of position.
The supposed underdogs had already knocked out Welsh Premier sides Prestatyn Town and Aberystwyth Town and were straining at the leash to pile on the early pressure.
Before long, however, the encounter turned a little scrappy with both sides lacking quality in the final third. And it was Airbus who almost broke the deadlock when Mark Danks was put through but Druids keeper Chris Mullock got just enough of a hand to the ball to turn the shot wide.
His Airbus counterpart Andy Mulliner then spilled a Joe Price cross with the defence able to clear before Tom McElmeel fired a shot off target.
This was a clear warning for the Wingmakers. But it went unheeded as, after 25 minutes, a Warren Duckett cross into the area was headed into the top corner by Tony Cann to put the Druids 1-0 up.
The lower leaguers sensed blood and pressed forward to take hold of the game with Andrew Swarbrick going close. Six minutes before the break they were deservedly 2-0 up when an excellent low ball into the area from Price was turned home at the near post by Swarbrick.
Airbus tried to rally and Danny Grannon went close but heads were low at the break.
Airbus made a double half-time substitution with Josh Roberts and Jon Bathurst coming on to replace Jay Connolly and Danny Grannon as they looked to salvage the game.
And in the 52nd minute it appeared as if they might do just that – with the help of the officials.
As the referee blew the whistle for a foul by the Wingmakers’ Nev Thompson, play apparently continued as a clearance from Druids’ Mark Harris struck his team-mate Marc Griffiths and ended up in the back of th net. To the surprise of both sides the referee awarded the own goal and Airbus were back in the game.
Unfortunately the fightback did not last long. Just a few minutes later a ball to the far post was turned home by Cann for his second goal to restore Druids’ two-goal advantage.
The rout was completed with 10 minutes left when Tony Cann flicked a header on for Swarbrick who found the far corner with a low shot from a tight angle for his second goal of the game.
Druids will now meet TNS, 4-0 winners at Bala on Saturday, in their first Welsh Cup final since 1904.
Airbus: Mulliner, Taylor, Holmes, Connolly (J Roberts), Grannon (Bathurst), G Cadwallader, Hope, M Cadwallader, Thompson, Danks, Hayes. Unused subs: Bathurst, Rule, Griffiths, Morrison.