A confident Island side made the hour long trip to the other side of Salisbury to take on Bemerton HH in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates F A Cup for the right to travel to Thatcham Town in the next round.
The two sides had had completely opposite starts to their league campaign, the Yachtsmen had won both their opening games whilst the home side had suffered two defeats. Manager Steve Hunt made a couple of changes to his starting line up, Gareth Bricknell and Jez Conway coming in for James Wykes(bench) and Aidan Bryan(holiday) whilst Michael McEnery joined the bench. For Bemerton M Fredericks replaced Lewis Watch between the sticks whilst S Dawes and Kelvin Robinson came in for Jack Slade and Tom Moseley.
The home side began the match on the front foot and were first too create as a cross from the right back area saw Dawes glance a header across the face of the Cowes goal but wide of Ed Hatt’s left hand post. Ewan Cranwell then split the home defence to give Ji Nash a chance on goal but his shot only found the keeper. The Quins continued to press for the opening goal with Dawes testing Ed Hatt who had to tip a shot over the crossbar at the expense of a corner. Kitcher then sent in a cross that found the head of Dawes but this time his header went wide of the target. Cowes responded and nearly took a fortunate lead when Jez Conway’s cross into the box evaded Ji Nash and nearly caught the home keeper out who had too adjust his position quickly to stop the ball finding the right corner of the goal. A period of uneventful play up to the half time whistle was only broken when John McKie curled an effort from the edge of their area towards the top left corner of the Bemerton goal, but the home stopper make to gather with relative ease as the first half remained goalless.
The second half again started with Bemerton threatening the Cowes goal. Fletcher sent in a cross that had Ed Hatt back pedalling to turn the ball over the bar before a free kick into the box saw a header sent straight into the chest of a grateful Cowes keeper. Dawes picked up the first yellow card of the game for a deliberate foul with Cowes breaking quickly. Fin Phillips played the ball into John McKie with his back too goal, he turned his marker but sent his shot just wide of the near post. With the Islanders struggling too find their rhythm Michael McEnery replaced Ji Nash with twenty minutes too go. Fifteen minutes from time another attacking substitution from the visiting side saw James Wykes come on in place of Fin Phillips whilst Robinson was replaced by Moseley for Bemerton. Smith then twice had the chance to give his side the lead with headers, the first from a corner but he put the ball wide of Ed Hatt’s right hand post before from a free kick he headed straight at the Cowes keeper. The final substitution for Cowes saw Ryan Gardner replace the injured Jared Cousins. Dawes went off with Greenough coming on for the final three minutes. With the game looking destined for a replay on the Island, the Assistant on the stand side of the ground flagged for a free kick after Ryan Gardner had won the ball fairly, after consulting, the Referee awarded the kick. Cross sent the ball towards the far post where SMITH rose above everyone to head the ball into the Cowes net for a 93rd minute winner, much to the delight of the home crowd. From the restart Cowes attacked and sent the ball out too the left where Jimmy Wykes beat the full back but saw his shot cannon off the left hand post and roll away too safety.
In conclusion a very disappointing result, but also a disappointing performance from the Yachtsmen as they never really tested the home keeper, struggling to create any chances for Ji Nash or John McKie. Bemerton for their part were the better side and had the better opportunities but again did not look like they were going to score.
Referee:- DARREN GAY Assistants – Stephen Fostings + Frazer Harley
Edward Hatt, Conor White, Gareth Bricknell, Callum Chase, Jez Conway, Dominic Sexton John McKie (c), Ewan Cranwell, Finley Phillips, Ji Nash
Used Subs – Michael McEnery 69min (Ji Nash), James Wykes 77min (Finley Phillips), Ryan Gardner 87min (Jared Cousins)
Unused Sub – Dave Thurman g/k