MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – ADAM HILLIER
Assistants – Andrew Walker + George Vockins
First away game of 2018 saw the Yachtsmen make the trip across the Solent to Gang Warily, home of second placed Blackfield + Langley who had lost their F A Vase replay during the previous mid week at Bracknell Town, who off course had beaten Cowes in the F A Cup earlier in the season.
Manager Steve Hunt was away in Leicester so missed the game leaving Ian Potts and Mark Randall in charge. Blackfield Manager, former Cowes player, Glenn Howes rotated his squad for this match, six of the starters had also done so at Bracknell whilst Joe Butcher came off the bench to start against his former club. Cowes for their part made two changes, Harry Dye and Jimmy Wykes coming in for Fin Phillips and Michael McEnery.
A tough encounter for the Yachtsmen got off to the worst possible start when LIAM ROBINSON put the hosts ahead in the 8th minute. However the Islanders were on level terms in the 20th minute when Harry Dye was fouled in their area and JOHN MCKIE made no mistake from the resulting spot kick. Two minutes later Callum Chase picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon for Cowes. Cowes nearly went ahead in the 37th minute when John McKie ‘s goal bound effort was superbly tipped over for a corner by the home stopper. Despite putting Cowes under pressure Blackfield could not find a way through a stubborn defence as the sides went into the break all square at 1 a piece.
H-t 1 – 1
The Yachtsmen began the second half with a couple of yellow cards for Aidan Bryan and John McKie, but then, the unthinkable happened, Cowes Sports scored a second goal, Callum Chase played the ball into their box and HARRY DYE scored from eight yards to send Dave Draper and Robin Merryfield wild with excitement at the possibility of the side getting three points away from home for the first time this season. Gareth Bricknell became the fourth Cowes player to be booked. Cowes’ hopes of three points were dashed in the 80th minute when the home side were awarded a penalty which FRANKLYN CLARKE netted to draw the home side level. A yellow card for Connor Furmidge was followed shortly after by a red card for a Blackfield player leaving them down to ten men for the final four minutes. Callum Watkins replaced John McKie before Jimmy Wykes made it six yellows for Cowes, but more importantly Cowes held on to gain their first away point of the season which puts them seven points clear of the relegation zone having played one game more.
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Max Draper, Gareth Bricknell Bkd, Aidan Bryan Bkd, Craig Insley (c), Callum Chase Bkd, Conor White, Harry Dye, Connor Furmidge Bkd, John McKie Bkd (replaced by Callum Watkins 90), James Wykes Bkd Subs not Used; Tom Dye + Dave Thurman g/k
BLACKFIELD + LANGLEY – Thomas Rees, Adam Costello, Ryan Oatley, Lewis Tallack, Sam Poole (c), Sean Stewart, Liam Robinson, Franklyn Clarke, Sam Griffin, Sami Makhloufi, Joe Butcher, Sub Used :- Leronne Plummer, Not Used; Joe Byrne, Connor Hoare, Nimes Pina, Henry Howes