MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – CONNOR BOWDIDGE
Assistants – Huw Evans + John Bungay
Baffins Milton Rovers returned to Westwood Park for this Premier League encounter having beaten their host back in September in the F A Vase, currently lying in 13th place in the table on 30 points from 22 games.
Conor White came into the back line replacing George Carter-Knight who is away travelling whilst Gareth Bricknell returned from suspension and Michael McEnery started for the first time, Harry Dye dropped to the bench and Leigh Mackenzie missed out following a thigh injury picked up at Team Solent before Christmas.
The first chance of the match fell to the visitors in the 5th minute when a Shane Cornish free kick was parried away by Ed Hatt in the Cowes goal, the rebound was then fired well over the bar by Baffins skipper Blu Boam. Just a couple of minutes later the home sides first attack saw them take the lead. John McKie was released down the right, played the ball across the edge of their box where GARETH BRICKNELL ran on to the ball before clipping it over Sam Gray into the left corner of the Baffins net. Cowes looked to increase their lead but Michael McEnery ‘s effort rolled just the wrong side of the post before John McKie ‘s wicked cross saw visiting defender Connor Saunders deflect the ball past the post for a corner. Baffins got their equaliser in the 25th minute when Chaz Gardener beat Callum Chase for the ball before releasing CALLUM DART who rolled the ball past Ed Hatt’s right hand into the corner of the goal. The Portsmouth based side were now in control of the game and just two minutes later had turned the game on its head when they took the lead through JORDAN NEAL who had been set up by the very impressive Callum Dart. Stunned by the turn around in the game Cowes struggled to find a way back into the game on a sticky pitch. The game became rather scrappy up to the break, the best chance went to Cowes but Gareth Bricknell ‘s free kick was comfortably saved by Sam Gray in the visitors goal.
H-t 1 – 2
Cowes started the second half brightly with a Fin Phillips free kick forcing a great save from Sam Gray. He again excelled by tipping a John McKie effort over the bar for a corner. Jimmy Wykes replaced Conor White for the home side in the 55th minute before Max Davies came on for Baffins, replacing Chaz Gardener. He nearly made an instant impact on the game as his effort flew inches wide of the upright, but parity was restored in the 70th minute when a Connor Furmidge cross from the right picked out the arriving JOHN MCKIE to tap home the equaliser from around a yard and a half. Minutes later and Westwood was plunged into darkness as the lights went out. Credit to the Match Officials as they allowed the game to continue whilst the problem was sorted. A couple of substitutions were made, one for each side as Tom Dye came on for Cowes replacing Callum Chase whilst Freemin Williams was replaced by Tommy Leigh. During the ‘dark’ spell Baffins skipper earned himself a yellow card for a lunging tackle on Tom Dye. No real chances were created in the final moments of the game. Cowes brought Harry Dye on to replace Michael McEnery and Baffins replaced Jordan Neal with Sam Woodward. With the lights back on Harry Dye picked up a yellow card for dissent after the Referee had given a goal kick when, as video evidence proved(by South Coast Journalism) should have been a corner. That decision though generally summed up the Referee’s afternoon. So the points were shared which was probably a fair result.
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Conor White(replaced by James Wykes 55), Max Draper, Aidan Bryan, Craig Insley (c), Callum Chase(replaced by Tom Dye72), John McKie, Gareth Bricknell, Connor Furmidge, Michael McEnery(replaced by Harry Dye 85 Bkd), Finnley Phillips Unused Subs; Wilfred Armfield g/k +Dave Thurman
BAFFINS MILTON ROVERS– Sam Gray, George Thomas, Freemin Williams(replaced by Tommy Leigh 72), Connor Saunders, Shane Cornish, Jamie White, Blu Boam (c) Bkd, Lewis Stockford, Jordan Neal(replaced by Sam Woodward 87), Callum Dart Bkd, Chaz Gardener (replaced by Max Davies 57), Sub not Used; Danny Rimmer