MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – BRUCE WAYMARK
Assistants – Ffion Eade + Tom Darling
Cowes Sports played hosts to fellow Wessex Premier Division side Baffins Milton Rovers who had had a brilliant start to their first season campaign in the top division but had faltered in recent weeks. The Island side came into the game full of confidence after two home victories.
Steve Hunts Islanders were decimated by injuries and suspension, John McKie, Callum Chase and Gareth Bricknell all missing through injury along with the suspended Craig Insley whilst Myles Taylor and George Turner were unavailable. Conor White, Leigh Mackenzie and Oliver McArthur came into the starting line up with James Wright, Callum Taylor, new signing Isaac Cruise and coach Steve Rutter joined Dave Thurman on the bench. The visitors also made changes from their previous game, Chaz Gardener, Fadel Seibou, Oliver Watts and Jamie White were all missing, coming in Shane Hargraves, Joel Jackson, Sam Willett and Blue Boam whilst Calvin Moses dropped to the bench where he was joined by Danny Rimmer, Max Davies and Tom Boyle.
It was Rovers that had the first chance of the match in the first minute when Cowes’ Leigh Mackenzie underhit a back pass which Joel Jackson pounced upon but he pulled his shot wide of Ed Hatt’s right post. The Island side responded well as Leigh Mackenzie fired a shot wide of goal, although he had better options either side of him. Joel Jackson then had a free header but could not direct it at goal before good work by from Darren Williams and Jimmy Wykes set up Leigh Mackenzie for a low shot at Antony Male in the Baffins’ goal. Westwood went wild in the 20th minute as the home side took the lead when a great cross from Connor White on the right found JAMES WYKES in the middle who gleefully buried his shot in the visitors goal. In the 34th minute Cowes were nearly caught out as a ball inside left back Ollie McArthur saw Sam Millett in on goal but instead of shooting he crossed the ball into the middle where Ewan Cranwell cleared the danger. A minute before half time and a crude tackle by Harry Wedlake on Ewan Cranwell saw play held up for several minutes as both players required treatment. The Baffins player was carried off the pitch but not before he had been shown a yellow card( maybe should have been red?) before the young Cowes centre half was also carried off, to be replaced by debutant Isaac Cruise.
H-t 1 – 0
Further problems for the home side just two minutes into the second half when right back Max Draper was forced off with a groin injury, James Wright coming on for his first team debut. Baffins Milton Rovers equalised in the 58th minute when Ollie McArthur underhit a back pass to Ed Hatt who got to the ball first but under pressure from their forward Eds clearance only found TYLER MORET who took the opportunity to lob the ball into the empty goal. Just two minutes later and the game had been turned on its head when BLUE BOAM’S free kick from wide on the Cowes left was crossed into the box, the ball evaded everyone before nestling into the right corner of the goal leaving the Westwood crowd silent. From this point on Cowes looked as though they were a beaten side. Although the effort was still apparent, the home sides play lacked quality and direction, a total contrast to the first half. The Portsmouth side made sure of their progression to the next round with ten minutes left when a neat one – two between Tyler Moret and SAM MILLETT ended with the latter netting from close range.
The Islanders dreams of Wembley were buried for another season, so back to League action next week with a tough trip to Hamworthy United, hopefully a few of the injured players will be fit for that game.
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Max Draper(replaced by James Wright 48), Oliver McArthur, Aidan Bryan (c), Ewan Cranwell(replaced by Isaac Cruise 44),Tom Dye(replaced by Callum Taylor 81), Conor White, Connor Furmidge B, Darren Williams, Leigh Mackenzie, James Wykes, Subs not used; Steve Rutter + Dave Thurman g-k
BAFFINS MILTON ROVERS – Antony Male, Sam Millett(replaced by Danny Rimmer 88), Shane Cornish, Connor Saunders, Tyler Yates, Harry Wedlake B(replaced by Max Davies 44), Shane Hargraves, Blue Boam B, Tyler Moret(replaced by Calvin Moses 80), Joel Jackson, Lewis Stockford, Sub not Used; Tom Boyle