Kick off:14:30 Tuesday, 26 Dec 2006
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
NEWI CEFN DRUIDS gave themselves some festive cheer as they moved further away from the bottom two, courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Airbus UK. Timmy Edwards, making his debut for The Ancients, opened the scoring with the other goals coming from Mike Heverin and Osian Jones either side of Gareth Owen's second half penalty.
It was a former Druid, Darren Williams, that first came close to troubling the scoring in the sixth minute after he turned Edwards in the box, but the ball bobbled in front of him as he was about to shoot and his effort ended up going wide. Druids' first real chance came after 17 minutes when Steve Watkin was able to find some space for himself in the Airbus box, but his powerful shot was well parried by Simon Williams in the visitors' goal and nobody from the home side was on hand to follow up.
Ten minutes later Druids took the lead. Heverin was tripped on the left edge of the box and, from Jones' resultant free-kick, Edwards was able to rise above everyone to head home a debut goal.
Druids continued to push for a second goal, and it took a good interception on the half hour to deny Watkin a shooting opportunity following good play on the edge of the penalty area. However the visitors were breached again just a minute later and again it came from a set play on the left. Jones' corner, the first of the match, was met by Heverin at the near post, leaving Williams stranded to give The Ancients a 2-0 lead.
Airbus started to look to find a way back into the game after that and Owen's quick free kick went narrowly wide of Carl Edwards' left hand post and then, on the stroke of half time, Ryan Maloney turned his marker and his low shot beat the keeper, but was denied by the post.
Airbus were given a lifeline six minutes after the re-start when Edwards was penalised for pushing Owen in the box. The player-manager stepped up to take the spot kick himself and gave Carl Edwards no chance to halve the deficit. It took a vital interception from Druids' captain Aled Rowlands to deny Darren Williams five minutes later after a perfectly weighted through ball found the striker.
In the 58th minute it could have been 3-1 when Simon Williams made a poor clearance outside box that landed at the feet of Heverin. The keeper's blushes were spared, though, as Druids' leading scorer couldn't connect properly to his shot.
Four minutes later, the two goal advantage was restored. Watkin won a freekick 25 yards out from goal, and Jones perfectly flighted the kick over the wall and the back-pedalling Williams into the net.
Two minutes later the Airbus 'keeper had another let off when Heverin beat him to the ball outside the area. The striker's first touch, though, took the ball too far wide and the retreating defence was able to clear the danger. With just over 20 minutes to go on the clock Carl Edwards made a fantastic reaction double save from point-blank range to deny the visitors and then, almost immediately afterward, Owen's precision cross from the left was volleyed over from close range by Darren Williams at the back post, who perhaps should have done better.
Airbus were awarded a second penalty seven minutes from time when referee Lee Evans ruled that Aled Rowlands tripped Maloney in the box, Owen again stepped up to take the kick, but this time he could only lift it on to the bar and the Druids defence was able to clear the ball to safety.
Simon Williams' day got no better with a minute of normal time remaining when another miscued clearance was sliced to Watkin six yards out. His layoff found Andrew Edgar, but he miscued his effort under pressure and the ball went harmlessly wide. The final real action of the match saw Alex Hughes, who was also making his Druids debut, power in a shot on goal. Unfortunately for the youngster, his effort went narrowly wide.