MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – SAMUEL BOWER
Assistants – Michael Ridge + Mark Millard
Another away day for the Yachtsmen saw them make the trip too Bonnymead Recreation Ground for a massive encounter with Amesbury Town in a game that could have significant bearing on who stays in the Premier Division for next season. Prior to the game Cowes Sports had 31 points from 34 games played, Amesbury Town 19 points, 32 games, Newport 19 points from 31 games.
The home pitch was rather soft but a lot of work had been done to make sure the match went ahead. By the end of the game though it had cut up rather badly and a lot more work will be required before their match next Tuesday.
Max Draper(injury), Ewan Cranwell and Finnley Phillips(University) returned to the starting line up replacing James Whitewood, Leigh Mackenzie and Jason Ince from the previous weeks starting XI.
On a very sticky pitch it was the Islanders that created the first scoring opportunity in the 8th minute when a Max Draper cross from the right picked out Ewan Cranwell eight yards out, but he could only send his header wide of the goal. Amesbury then fortuitously took the lead. A pass from midfield directed towards the left wing took a wicked deflection to Connar Millar who sent a through ball into the path of JAKE WATSON who calmly slotted the ball past the on rushing Cowes stopper to give the Wiltshire side the early advantage. Cowes Sports worked hard to find a way back into the game, Jimmy Wykes cutting inside his marker before seeing his shot pushed over the bar by Paddy Creese in the home goal. Ewan Cranwell then saw his effort deflected into the side netting before John McKie also tested their keeper. Luke Greenway was then denied a second home goal by Ed Hatts tidy save. A 38th minute cross from the Cowes right back area found LUKE GREENWAY who headed past the stranded Ed Hatt to double the lead. Cowes looked dejected, but in the 42nd minute managed to grab a lifeline when excellent pressure from Jimmy Wykes in the Amesbury right back area saw their defender lose the ball to JOHN MCKIE who nipped in to plant his shot past Paddy Creese into the goal. On the stroke of half time and the Yachtsmen probably should have levelled the scores, a superb crossfield ball from Tom Dye found John McKie who cut inside only to send his shot over the bar via a touch from the home custodian.
H-t 2 – 1
Cowes Sports made their own luck seven minutes into the second half when a Connor Furmidge effort was blocked, the loose ball fell nicely though for JOHN MCKIE to side foot the ball into an empty net to level the scores. Just three minutes later and the game had been turned on its head when a splendid through ball from Ewan Cranwell released JAMES WYKES who coolly rounded the home keeper before rolling the ball into the unguarded goal and give the Island side the lead for the first time in the game sending the travelling band of supporters wild with delight!! However the joy was short lived as in the 60th minute the scores were all level again as CONNAR MILLAR netted from close range. Although both side pushed hard for the all important fourth goal neither keeper was called upon to makes any saves in the final half hour. Amesbury did have the ball in the Cowes net but the offside flag had been raised whilst the best chance fell to Luke Greenway who was put through by a poor pass back, but he totally mis-kicked the ball for a goal kick, kicking a advertising board in frustration which earned him the only yellow card of the match.
So both sides had too settle for a point a piece which was far more satisfactory for the visitors and many of the home players sank to their knees at the final whistle knowing that a chance had been missed to gain on the side immediately above in the league leaving them with a mountain to climb to preserve their Premier Division status.
COWES SPORTS – Ed Hatt, Conor White, James Wykes, Max Draper(replaced by Jason Ince 82) Callum Chase, Jez Conway, John McKie (c), Ewan Cranwell, Connor Furmidge(replaced by Callum Watkins 85), Finnley Phillips, Tom Dye(replaced by Charlie Allen 63) Unused Subs; Craig
Insley + Dave Thurman g/k
AMESBURY TOWN – Paddy Creese, Connor Palmer, Archie Johnson, Emmanuel Adepitan, Craig Wheeler (c), George Higgins, Luke Greenway Bkd, Kieran Stephens, Connar Millar, Jake Watson(replaced by Jake Allen 70), Cameron Roach Unused Subs; Sean Bennett, Scott England, Ryan Elliott + Omandi Shepphard