Attendance – 120
A new era began for COWES SPORTS FC as recently appointed new Manager VIC SANDERS first official game in charge of the team saw them travel to The Crest Finance Stadium, home of AFC Portchester who sat just one point behind the Yachtsmen in the table.
The home side went into the game off a thumping 8 – 1 home victory over Andover New Street whilst the Islanders had been beaten at home 0 – 3 by Portland United.
Manager Vic Sanders was forced into changes, Gareth Bricknell, missing the second of his three match ban, was joined by injured strike duo John McKie and Ji Nash on the sidelines as well as Ewan Cranwell and Fin Phillips who had returned to University. Charlie Allen came into the starting line up from the Reserves while Jack Broomfield, Conor White and Connor Furmidge all stepped up from the bench. Harry Dye, Max Draper and Corrie Stafford filled the bench.
As expected the home side came out of the trap quick and put the Cowes defence under pressure from the start. Joel Jackson fired in a shot from the left corner of the Cowes box which had Ed Hatt at full stretch to tip onto the bar and away for a corner in the 4th minute. the home sides Jake Morgan was yellow carded for a foul on Aidan Bryan in the 14th minute. Despite having most of the possession Portchester never really tested the Cowes stopper. 25 minutes in and for the second season in a row the home side were reduced to ten men in the first half of the game when Jake Morgan picked up his second yellow followed by red for a very late challenge on Dominic Sexton who needed treatment. Despite being a man short the home side continued to dominate the game, Olly Searle saw his header tipped over the bar by Ed Hatt before the Cowes keeper parried away a shot from Daniel Simmonds. Home skipper Jamie Ford then headed another chance into the side netting as the game remained goal less at the break.
The second period began in the same vain with Portchester in the ascendancy, Joel Jackson firing high over the bar before a combination of Ed Hatt and Charlie Allen denied Dan Simmonds. Finally the Portsmouth side took the lead with a disappointing goal from the Cowes point of view. A throw in from the right found BRANDON MILLER on the edge of the box, he toe poked the ball towards the left corner of the goal and the Cowes defence just watched the ball trickle into the corner of the goal. Daniel Simmonds then volleyed across the face of the visitors goal. Cowes finally threatened the home goal when Jimmy Wykes pulled the ball back to Dom Sexton who crossed for Jared Cousins to head goalwards, but home keeper Tom Price was equal to save and keep his side ahead. A couple of substitutions as Harry Dye replaced Connor Furmidge for Cowes and Dale Mason came on for Joel Jackson for Portchester. Cowes best chance of the game came nine minutes from time when Dom Sexton’s corner dropped at the feet of Callum Chase but his goal bound effort was blocked by the home side. Corrie Stafford came on for his debut in place of Charlie Allen. Harry Dye then flicked on a throw into the path of Jimmy Wykes but once again the home keeper saved well. Max Draper replaced Conor White for the final five minutes. Again Jimmy Wykes had a effort at goal but curled the ball inches wide of the target as Cowes finished the stronger of the sides but had left it too late as the home side held on to take the three points and leap up the table to second.
Referee:- BRIAN WHITE Assistants; Mark Cottrell + Kamil Balin
Ed Hatt, Conor White, Dominic Sexton, Aidan Bryan (c), Jack Broomfield, Charlie Allen, Callum Chase, Jez Conway, Jared Cousins, Connor Furmidge, James Wykes
Used Subs:- Harry Dye(Connor Furmidge) 79, Corrie Stafford(Charlie Allen) 83, Max Draper(Conor White) 86
Unused Sub; Dave Thurman g/k