A valiant display from Port Talbot Town saw Scott Young’s side extend their unbeaten stretch to five matches, with a gutsy display against high-flying Airbus UK Broughton at the GenQuip Stadium.
Encouraged by successive wins over Aberystwyth and Afan Lido, Port Talbot maintained their good run of form with the visit of title chasing Airbus UK Broughton.
The Blues trailed at the break but were deservedly put back on level terms courtesy of a rare Leigh De-Vulgt goal, after a dominant spell forced Airbus on the back foot.
Port Talbot were left to rue their missed opportunities when David Brooks, Martin Rose and Lewis Harling all went close in the first-half which was separated by Michael Roddy’s fierce half-volley.
But the second period brought with it a far more forceful display from the Steelmen, to leave Scott Young believing his side should’ve perhaps claimed all three points.
“I think we probably deserved to take more than a point today, we’ve dominated against the side who are second in the table and after the first ten minutes, we totally dominated possession, territory and created probably three of four great chances,” said Young post-match.
“It says a lot about my squad that they’re disappointed to come with a draw against the team who are second in the league.”
Both teams looked to assert themselves early on with Adie Harris deputising as captain in the absence of the suspended Lee Surman, who was also joined on the suspension list by Ashley Evans.
Airbus looking carry on their title-challenging form into the New Year, enjoyed the greater share of the early possession and debutant centre-forward Andy Jones was quickly involved as he nipped the ball into the path of Tom Field, leaving Steven Hall to make a swift collection.
But it was Port Talbot whom the games first opportunities fell to. Lee John – an influential figure throughout – in his newly accustomed right-back role, delivered a cross-field pass to David Brooks, who charged forward into space before threatening the Airbus goal with a swerving shot.
Airbus would remain an aerial threat for the duration of the afternoon and threatened when Chris Budrys shaved the crossbar with a header from Tom Fields’ corner. With the two sides still sizing the other up, Port Talbot spurned their best chance of the half when Rhys Griffiths played Martin Rose in on goal, but Rose’s first-touch proved to be a too heavy as he stretched and pulled his shot wide.
Port Talbot would live to regret failing their early opportunities when Michael Roddy reacted quickest to a poorly defended loose ball inside the Town goalmouth, to smash a left-footed half-volley past Steven Hall midway through.
Lewis Harling found space inside the area to steer another attempt wide with the goal beckoning to leave the Blues narrowly trailing at the break.
Port Talbot came out with renewed vigour in the second-half and applied themselves impressively upon the visitors.
In what was arguably the side’s finest period of football of the campaign, Port Talbot dominated second-half proceedings, looking assured in possession, camping themselves almost exclusively in the Airbus half.
David Brooks harried down the left, drawing the foul from Pearson on the edge of area, with Port Talbot winning a string of corners as Airbus fought to keep their lead intact.
Leigh De-Vulgt scores the equaliser (Photo: Gareth Elms)
Brooks again bore the brunt of Airbus’ mounting frustration – Roddy entering the book for an untimely challenge on the winger before Ryan Wade’s name quickly followed for dissent after clattering Lee John.
It was John’s resulting free-kick led to Port Talbot restoring parity. Hit 40-yards out from goal, John’s delivery was guided past keeper Coates by Leigh De-Vulgt’s glancing header, giving Port Talbot a well-earned equaliser.
In retaliation to conceding, the Wingmakers responded well to trailing and came dangerously close to retaking the lead when Ian Kearney saw his goalbound downward header pushed behind by Hall.
Port Talbot continued to brim in confidence however and the introduction of a third forward, as Chad Bond replaced Lewis Harling, served as an indication of the side’s belief in taking full control of the game.
David Brooks saw his low-drive blocked after being set free from a splitting cross-field ball from John, before replaced by returning youngster Jake Parry, who quickly made his mark upon his return from a 12-month spell in Australia, drifting in a weighted cross from the right which was gratefully knocked cleared by the now weary Airbus defence.
The visitors ended strongly winning successive corners, Phil Bolland spurned a gift-wrapped chance to steal a result but sent a point-blank header straight at Steven Hall from just yards out to bring a well contested encounter to a close.
Results elsewhere ended Port Talbot’s hopes of sealing a top-six position in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League but Scott Young is looking ahead to finishing the first-half of the season in positive fashion.
“We’re just looking forward to the next game, as I’ve said all year, there’s a lot of belief in that dressing room and we’ve started to turn the corner slowly and we are just taking the games as they come and we’re looking forward to playing Afan Lido next week.”