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Welsh Premier: Gap Connah’s Quay boost top-six hopes with derby win as Airbus consider options during transfer window

GAP Connah’s Quay player-manager Mark McGregor was a proud man after his side earned an impressive 4-1 New Year’s Day home win over rivals Airbus UK Broughton.

A brace of first-half penalties from Ricky Evans gave Nomads the advantage and second-half strikes from Jamie Wynne and Jamie Petrie sent the Deeside Stadium outfit up to seventh, boosting their hopes of sneaking into the top six when the Welsh Premier splits on January 19.

For the Wingmakers it was their biggest defeat of the season. They dropped to fourth but are already guaranteed a top-six spot.

Tuesday’s clash followed the 2-2 draw between the sides on Boxing Day. McGregor’s men let a two-goal lead slip in that game but now seem to have hit form at just the right time.

They lie just one point outside the breakaway elite and host sixth-placed Carmarthen Town on Saturday (2.30pm). If they make the cut they will ensure they avoid relegation and may even secure a European place in their first season back in the top flight.

A delighted McGregor said: “We had a difficult month last month, picking up just one point, so it was a vitally important win.

“I am very proud of the players. I play at the back so I see the game in front of me and every one of them was doing double or more running than normal.

“The midfield was working so hard and the attackers were harassing their defenders.”

Evans opened the scoring in the ninth minute after Aaron Morrison brought Rhys Healey down in the box.

The evergreen midfielder scored his second spot-kick – again won by Healey – five minutes before the break to give Nomads a commanding half-time lead.

That lead was halved immediately after restart when Sam Hart saw a 15-yard shot take a wicked deflection and fly in.

Airbus will look to get back on track at home to bottom club Afan Lido this Saturday (2.30pm) with manager Andy Preece unlikely to make any changes following the loss.

“It was a poor performance in that game but people look at our position this season and forget, we are a bottom six club,” he said. “The lads have done fantastically well to get us to this position.”

With the transfer window open Preece is looking at his options, with the position of goalkeeper at the forefront of his mind having again been forced to play the injured Morrison between the sticks after Airbus were refused permission for an emergency loan. Regular number one Ben Chapman (groin) is still sidelined through injury.

“It’s not fair to Aaron as after the games he can barely move,” said Preece. “But he’s showing great commitment. Perhaps we should have fielded an outfield player to make a point but that would make a mockery of the league.

“But we are still learning about the transfer window, and we are considering a number of options, as there is also a chance Steve Tomassen could be recalled by Wrexham.”