MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – A. MORRISON
Assistants – C. Songs + C Waller
The Islanders made the trip across the Solent to visit Cams Alders, home of Fareham Town for this mid-week League fixture. All the indications were that this could be a closer game.
Max Draper, Ashley Brett and Jimmy Wykes came into the starting line up to replace John McKie(injured), Leigh Mackenzie and Ewan Cranwell, both unavailable, from the team that had held Champions Portland United to a draw three days before.
Fareham had been in great form at home in recent games and got the perfect start as SIMON WOODS opened the scoring in just the second minute. Gareth Bricknell sent a shot over the crossbar in response for the Yachtsmen. With the home side looking dangerous on the break and threatening to add to their opening goal. However Cowes came close to equalising when Connor Furmidge crossed for Jimmy Wykes, but his header cleared the bar. 23 minutes in and the inevitable happened, a slip by Craig Insley was punished by SIMON WOODS to double the home sides lead.
Jason Malcolmson sent a cross into their area which was met by a Gareth Bricknell header that cannoned back of the post and was cleared by the home defence. Ashley Brett was then replaced by George Turner as half time saw the hosts with a two goal lead.
H-t 2 – 0
Matters got worse for the Island side two minutes into the second period when SIMON WOODS completed his hat trick. Cowes became very frustrated with yellow cards being shown to Darren Williams and Connor Furmidge in quick succession before Manager Steve Hunt made his final two changes replacing Jimmy Wykes and Callum Chase with Ollie McArthur and debutant Jordan Stacey. Within 15 minutes Ollie had become the third Cowes player to be booked. Too their credit the Yachtsmen never gave up and were rewarded in the 80th minute when a long clearance from keeper Ed Hatt found the head of Max Draper who in turn found CONNOR FURMIDGE whose 25 yard pile driver found the top right corner of the Fareham goal, Connor’s first goal for Cowes first team. Just four minutes from the end and Fareham’s nerves were heightened when Aidan Bryan was fouled in the penalty area and CONNOR FURMIDGE stepped up to beat Luke Douglas with the spot kick and set up a grand finale that had not looked possible ten minutes earlier. However the Cowes bubble was well and truly burst in the 93rd minute when Aidan Bryan was adjudged to have committed a foul, although even the home side were surprised by the Referee’s decision. Fareham right back, Eliot Roberts, kicked out and received a straight red card for his troubles. Not distracted by the hold up, SIMON WOODS kept his cool to beat Ed Hatt and secure the three points that saw the home side move above Cowes in the table as the Yachtsmen dropped to thirteenth.
In previous seasons, at three-nil down with ten to go it would have been likely to have ended up five down at the end, but under Steve Hunt the “never say die “ attitude nearly provided a great comeback to snatch a point. Things do look as though the Cowes faithful will certainly be treated to a better year than the last.
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Max Draper, Jason Malcolmson, Aidan Bryan, Craig Insley (c), Ashley Brett(replaced by George Turner), James Wykes(replaced by Oliver McArthur B), Callum Chase(replaced by Jordan Stacey), Connor Furmidge B, Darren Williams B, Gareth Bricknell, Subs not used; Dave Thurman g-k
FAREHAM TOWN – Luke Douglas, Eliot Roberts S/O, George Davis, Callum Laycock, Jack Barker, Josh Holmes (c), Ashley Tattersall, Simon Woods, Curt Robbins, Sammy Lee Kessack, Subs; James Carrier, Louie Castles, Leigh Shadbolt, not used; Ethan Jones, Adam Puckett g-k