MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – JACOB WRIGHT
Assistants – James Byng + James Colley
A very tough mid week away trip for the latest League match. A F C Portchester our hosts, a ground where we do not have a brilliant recent record.
Only two changes from the excellent victory over Shaftesbury a few days earlier, Craig Insley and Darren Williams being replaced by Callum Chase and Oliver McArthur. Hopes were high of being able to get a result from this fixture.
First action of the evening was Referee Jacob Wright brandishing his yellow card to George Carter-Knight as early as the 5th minute for pulling the home midfielder back having lost possession near the half way line. Portchester certainly showed their forward intent in the first twenty minutes with the Islanders unable to get out of their own half. Ed Hatt parried a 7th minute shot from Bobby Scott and had Callum Chase to thank for clearing the rebound, but the ball was soon back in the Cowes box and a superb block from Max Draper kept the game scoreless. George Carter-Knight then did similar in the 12th minute, twice getting his body in the way to stop a goal bound efforts. Bobby Scott then fired wide before Ed Hatt again saved, this time a shot from Olly Searle. Having soaked up so much pressure it seemed only a matter of time before the first goal would be scored. Cowes finally made their way into the Portchester half in the 20th minute when John McKie slipped a ball into Gareth Bricknell who under challenge bore down on goal, however the defender done just enough to clear the ball off Gareth for a goal kick. Back to the other end and Joe Noakes watched his cross from the right clip the crossbar. Totally against the run of play and too the delight of the visiting side it was the Yachtsmen who grabbed the lead in the 24th minute with a clinical break. A great ball from John McKie split the home defence, CONNOR FURMIDGE ran onto it took one touch before drilling the ball past Cameron Scott into the goal from 20yards. The home side were then reduced to ten men in the 35th minute when winger Joe Noakes was sent off for an alleged elbow when jumping for a ball near the half way line. Within four minutes Cowes had doubled their lead when John McKie clipped the ball over the advancing keeper, but Garry Moody was on hand to try and clear, however all he could do was hit the ball straight at JIMMY WYKES and the ball ended up in the back of the net. Right on half time Nathan Kirby was a little lucky to only be shown a yellow card for a studs up challenge as Cowes went into the break on a high.
H-t 0 – 2
If everything went the way of Cowes in the first half then the opposite can be said of the second. A half time substitution by Portchester saw Dale Mason replace Olly Searle which meant a slight change in formation as they tried to find a way back into the game. The start of the comeback came in the 51st minute when Max Draper headed clearance fell to BOBBY SCOTT some 22 yards from goal, he noticed Ed Hatt a few yards off his line and sent a looping volley over the Cowes stopper into the top left corner of the goal. Four minutes later and the scores were level when a shot from 20 yards was only parried away by Ed Hatt and ALEX BALDACCHINO was first to react to plant the ball past Ed into the net. Conor White replaced Ollie McArthur but Cowes were struggling to keep possession or have any sort of control on the game and apart from a John McKie shot that was saved by the home keeper did not threaten as an attacking force. Ten minutes from time a needless free kick some 25yards out was conceded by Callum Chase from which BOBBY SCOTT curled the ball round the wall into the top right corner of Ed Hatt’s goal with the keeper grasping thin air.
A bitterly disappointing second half performance that had Manager Steve Hunt seething. How could we have thrown away a two goal lead against ten men?? Probably the worst 45 minutes from a Cowes team for a long long time. Our next fixture is a League Cup tie — at Portchester on Tuesday October 17th. Time for revenge?? Lets hope so!!
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Max Draper, George Carter-Knight Bkd, Aidan Bryan, Callum Chase, Harry Dye, John McKie, Oliver McArthur Bkd(replaced by Conor White 70), Connor Furmidge, Gareth Bricknell (c) Bkd, James Wykes Bkd, Subs not used; Dave Thurman, Sam Sanders g-k, Max Coshell, Lewis Blackmore
A F C PORTCHESTER – Cameron Scott, Rob Evans, Garry Moody, Steve Ramsey Bkd, Josh Warren, Nathan Kirby Bkd, Olly Searle(replaced by Dale Mason 46), Joe Bye(c), Bobby Scott Bkd, Alex Baldacchino, Joseph Noakes S/O, Subs not used; Harry Birmingham, Lewis Noice g-k