MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – DEREK PRATT
Assistants – Antony Cross + Zach Robinson
Our Eleventh League fixture of the season saw the side take on League leaders Blackfield + Langley at Westwood Park, our eighth home game, who were looking to maintain their 100% start to the campaign which saw them nine points clear, although teams below do have games in hand. A very tough test for Steve Hunt and his team, but a good test to show how far we have come since last season.
Four changes from the starting line up that played well against Andover a couple of days earlier. Tom Dye and Jack Broomfield were missing through injury whilst Jordon Stacey and Leigh Mackenzie dropped to the bench. Replacing them were recent signing George Carter-Knight, Nathan Lewis, Harry Dye and returning from suspension, Connor Furmidge. For their part Blackfield started with the same eleven that had beaten Bemerton three days earlier.
The Gang Warily side started the game on full throttle playing the ball round and through the Islanders, Jordan Ngalo testing Cowes keeper Ed Hatt who pushed the shot away too safety. After dominating the first fifteen minutes it came as no surprise that the mainlanders took the lead, a free kick from the Cowes right was header towards goal, but Ed Hatt saved well, however the attempted clearance only just cleared the penalty box and LIAM ROBINSON sent a thunderous volley inside the right hand side netting of the goal for a deserved lead. Many Cowes supporters were thinking “lets hope they don’t get a cricket score”, having scored thirty plus league goals already. Cowes responded well to going behind as Conor White’s free kick from in front of the changing rooms saw Harry Dye, under challenge from a defender, headed just wide of their goal. In the 38th minute Nathan Lewis saw his shot pushed away by Brad Snelling, but John McKie reacted first to cross the ball back into the area, but no Cowes player was in sight and the chance had gone. A minute before half time Connor Furmidge tested their keeper from distance but the shot was straight at him. Then a quick break by the Watersiders ended with Sam Griffin hitting Ed Hatt’s right hand post as the visitors remained just one goal ahead at the break.
H-t – 0 – 1
It was the home side that started the second half brightly and soon testing Brad Snelling, Connor Furmidge again from distance had the keeper diving low to his right to push the ball away. Cowes left back then produced a magnificent goal line clearance to keep the Yachtsmen in the game. Harry Dye and Connor Furmidge were replaced by Darren Williams and Callum Chase respectively. Blackfield skipper, Sam Poole was lucky in the 78th minute when a studs up challenge on Callum Chase saw him shown a yellow card that could well have been a red one. From the resulting free kick George Carter-Knight fired inches wide of the left hand post. The visitors thought they had doubled their advantage in the 79th minute when Jamie White tried to lob Ed Hatt, but the Cowes stopper got up well to push the ball around the post for a corner. Having beaten everyone with ease Blackfield were frustrated by a hard working Cowes team which saw Sam Griffin pick up a yellow card near the end. Once again the Yachtsmen showed that they can live with the ‘big boys’ but just need a little bit extra up front to get a positive result from these sort of games. Great compliment from the opposition saying that ”you are the best side we have played this season”. Lets hope we can build on this game and start picking up a few more points.
Well done lads.
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Max Draper Bkd, George Carter-Knight, Aidan Bryan, Craig Insley (c), Nathan Lewis Bkd, Conor White Bkd, Connor Furmidge(replaced by Callum Chase 72), Harry Dye(replaced by Darren Williams 69), John McKie(replaced by Leigh Mackenzie 84), James Wykes, Subs not used; Jason Ince + Dave Thurman g/k
BLACKFIELD + LANGLEY – Brad Snelling, Connor Doe, Ryan Oatley, Lewis Tallack, Sam Poole (c) Bkd, Kane Daysh, Liam Robinson, Jordan Ngalo Bkd, Jamie White, Franklyn Clarke, Sam Griffin Bkd, Subs not used; Joe Byrne, Joe Butcher, Mike Turvey, Connor Hoare, Adam Costello