MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – CONNOR BOWDIDGE
Assistants – Alistair Taylor + Zach Robinson
Following another disappointing away day at bottom side Petersfield Town last weekend, Cowes Sports returned to their home at Westwood Park where they entertained Bournemouth who were sat comfortably in mid table and had triumphed in the reverse fixture back in November. This was certainly a must win game with both Amesbury)6pts behind with a game in hand) and local rivals Newport(7pts behind with 2 games in hand) looking too close the gap on the Yachtsmen and in the coming weeks Cowes travel too both sides.
With the importance of this game both teams took time to settle. A quick break by Connor Furmidge was stopped just 10 yards inside the Bournemouth half which earned Tom Mallett a yellow card. Louis Coulson sent a header just wide of the Cowes goal before the home side took the lead on 22 minutes. Jason Ince sent a free kick from wide on the right into their box which caused confusion, the ball was not cleared and fell too CONNOR FURMIDGE who slotted the ball nicely into the right corner of the visitors net. Shortly after Gareth Bricknell sent a right foot effort wide of the left hand post after good work by Connor Furmidge had set him up. Connor then sent a low shot into the right side netting when he maybe should have scored. Being the focal point up front for the Island side his next shot cannoned back off the post as the home side threatened a second goal before half time. Bournemouth’s best chance came on 38 minutes but a tame effort from Ali Talkhal was easily gathered by Ed Hatt as Cowes remained just one goal ahead at the break.
H-t 1 – 0
Bournemouth made two changes at half time with Nasim Meddah and Scott Walters being replaced by Marius Nicukscu and Liam Donachy respectively. The visitors started the better side in the second half with a Lewis Harvey free kick forcing Ed Hatt to finger tip the ball over the cross bar for a corner before Mani Ohameje saw his header hit the outside of the left hand post. Jason Ince, who picked up a yellow card for a trip on Aziz Aldahyan, then sent a long throw into the “Poppies” area which caused problems for their defence before Connor Furmidge turned his marker only to fire wide of goal. Leigh Mackenzie, returning from injury, came on for Jimmy Wykes on 71 minutes. Three minutes later John McKie broke free down the right, beat his marker before sending a cross towards the back post where CONNOR FURMIDGE met it with a powerful header into the Bournemouth goal to double the home sides advantage and send a huge sigh of relief around the ground, a bit of breathing space for the Islanders. Both sides then made changes, Bournemouth replacing Tom Mallett with Okoma Kulisewa whilst Cowes Sports brought on Conor White and Tom Dye for Jez Conway and John McKie. Visiting Captain Chris Spears was also booked for a nasty challenge on Gareth Bricknell. The visitors finished the game the stronger side and should have scored in the third minute of injury time when Ed Hatt flapped at a cross but Lewis Harvey missed an easy chance. They did get a consolation goal a minute later as MANI OHAMEJE fired into the top left corner of the home goal but there was not enough time left to search for an equaliser as the Referee Connor Bowdidge blew for full time.
Joy for the home side picking up three vital points, but the result became more significant as results from other games came through. First Newport, who had been leading for a long period at home to Hamworthy United had conceded an equaliser, Amesbury Town had lost at Portland United 6 – 1 , Brockenhurst were defeated by Sholing 4 – 1 , Team Solent lost at home to Fareham Town 2 – 1 and then to cap it all Hamworthy had scored a late late winner at St Georges Park. Thus the bottom of the Premier Division table now reads as below:-
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Max Draper, Jez Conway(replaced by Conor White 82), Callum Chase, Craig Insley (c), Jason Ince Bkd, John McKie(replaced by Tom Dye 85), Aidan Bryan, Connor Furmidge, Gareth Bricknell, James Wykes(replaced by Leigh Mackenzie 71) Unused Subs; Callum Watkins + Sam Sanders g/k
BOURNEMOUTH – Nick Thomas, Aziz Aldahyan Bkd, Lewis Harvey, Christopher Spears (c) Bkd, Tom Mallett Bkd(replaced by Okoma Kulisewa 82), Chia Khider, Ali Talkhal, Mani Ohameje, Louis Coulson Bkd, Nasim Meddah(replaced by Marius Nicukscu 46), Scott Walters(replaced by Liam Donachy 46) Unused Sub; Rooeen Farhadi