MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – NATHAN COOK Assistants – Steve Currie + Calum McFarlane
The latest team to visit Westwood Park were Dorset side Shaftesbury who were promoted at the end of last season after finishing third in their first year back in the Wessex League.
Cowes welcomed back several players for this fixture, skipper Craig Insley, Gareth Bricknell, John McKie and Darren Williams all returned to the starting XI while Callum Chase and Ollie McArthur came on from the bench. Due to Ed Hatt’s suspension sixteen year old keeper Samuel Sanders made his debut in goal.
Just four minutes into the game and the visitors were forced into making a substitution when Clive Matoni was forced off with a groin injury, Sam Lopes replacing him. The home side took the lead in the ninth minute after John McKie’s cross from the right was blasted into the top left corner of the Shaftesbury goal by JIMMY WYKES, a great start for the Yachtsmen. The Dorset side responded well and tested Cowes’ young keeper when Martin Schroeder fired a shot at Sam Sanders who saved with ease. Twenty two minutes in and George Carter-Knight sent in a low free kick that Dan Card got down low to his right to push the effort away for a corner. A 25th minute long clearance by Sam Sanders found John McKie who won a tussle with his marker before delivering the ball into the box where CONNOR FURMIDGE netted the home sides second goal of the afternoon. Shafesbury’s Martin Schroeder again tested the Cowes keeper with a free kick bur Sam Sanders confidently collected without any problem. Darren Williams and Jimmy Wykes both picked up yellow cards before a 39th minute Connor Furmidge shot from distance was gathered at the second attempt by Dan Card. However the Shaftesbury stopper was again beaten a minute later when Jimmy Wykes cross found Darren Williams beyond the far post, he headed back across goal for JOHN MCKIE to back-heel Cowes’ third goal, much to the delight of a bumper crowd(150). More delight for the home side right on half time as Connor Furmidge found JOHN MCKIE on the edge of their area, he curled the ball wide of their keeper into the left corner of the goal to give the Islanders a comfortable 4 – 0 half time lead.
H-t 4 – 0
Seven minutes into the second half and Gareth Bricknell fired wide of goal after Connor Furmidge had set him up, a minute later and Jimmy Wykes saw his goal bound effort blocked away for a corner by Sam Lopez. Conor White then replaced Darren Williams before John McKie thought he had completed his hat trick when Harry Dye had a shot parried and the Cowes two goal hero netted the rebound, but a debatable offside flag denied him on this occasion. The same player again tried his luck but sent his shot wide of goal. Shaftesbury were seeing a lot more of the football in the second half with Martin Schroeder first sent a header wide of target before seeing another header pushed away for a corner by Sam Sanders who was certainly impressing in the Cowes goal. Oliver McArthur replaced Max Draper in the 73rd minute before Connor Furmidge watched as his effort was parried away by their keeper. Shaftesbury gave themselves some hope when a through ball saw HARRY BECKLEY round Sam Sanders and roll the ball into the net, but surely would be too little too late. John McKie was again thwarted by their young keeper minutes from the end as the Island side saw the game out to gain three valuable points.
COWES SPORTS – Samuel Sanders, Max Draper(replaced by Oliver McArthur 73) , George Carter- Knight, Aidan Bryan, Craig Insley (c), Harry Dye, John McKie, Gareth Bricknell Bkd, Darren Williams Bkd(replaced by Conor White 56), Connor Furmidge(replaced by Callum Chase Bkd 81), James Wykes Bkd, Subs not used; Jason Ince + Dave Thurman g/k
SHAFTESBURY – Dan Card, Jason Beal Bkd, Aaron White Bkd, Sam Smith Bkd, Jack Vallis (c), Dan Finnigan Bkd, Martin Schroeder Bkd, Jack Mitchell Bkd(replaced by Bernado Silva 70), Clive Matoni(replaced by Sam Lopez 4), Harry Beckley, Malachi Benjamin.