Airbus UK Broughton boss Andy Preece hailed the impact of returning skipper Ian Kearney after his side’s 1-1 draw away to Gap Connah’s Quay on Boxing Day.
The defender was playing his first game in 14 months for the Wingmakers, who look set to have lost midfielder Tom Field to Chorley, following cruciate knee ligament damage and a broken tibia.
But he was soon back in the groove with an assured display in heavy conditions against a confident home team.
Preece said: “Forget the result, to have our club captain back and playing the way he did in his first game was brilliant.
“I can’t speak highly enough of his performance. He’s not played for 14 months, but he’s worked so hard and it was as if he’s not been away.”
Preece felt his side could have come away from the Deeside Stadium with all three points but for a couple of debatable decisions.
They had led through Tony Gray’s 20-yard volley on 13 minutes, but were pegged back when Ashley Ruane equalised 10 minutes from the end.
Preece, however, was unhappy with the award of a corner instead of a goal kick from which Connah’s Quay scored their equaliser, while he also felt his side should have had a stonewall penalty.
“After defending so well it’s really tough when these decisions go against you as they change games,” he said.
“When you are 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go you are looking to win the game from there, so it was disappointing.
“But I was really pleased with our reaction after they scored, and we could have won it at the end.”
But with the sides set to meet again on New Year's Day at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium (2.30pm), the Wingmakers have been dealt a major blow with ex-Chester FC midfielder Field set to make a switch to the English pyramid with National League North side Chorley, subject to international clearance.
Field played in the draw with Nomads on Boxing Day but that game appears to have been his last with the club as a move to Victory Park to link up with ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Jansen's side looks set to be completed.