Attendance – 131
Once again it could be said that the luck of the draw was against The Yachtsmen as, although they were at home, their opponents were Westbury United from the Western Premier League. The Wiltshire side were in second place having gained promotion as Champions last season, but more importantly were on an unbeaten run that went back too last December, so another very tough game in prospect.
Caretaker Manager, Ian Potts, made one change from the previous line up, Ji Nash swapping with Connor Furmidge. Joining Connor on the bench for the Island side were Conor White, Michael McEnery, Gareth Bricknell and Ashley Brett. For their part the opposition made three changes too their starting line up from their previous match. Joe Kirkpatrick, Joe Stradling and Francois Allen coming in for Grant Gunning, Dan Jordan and Dan Kovacs, the latter taking his place on the bench along with Ryan Baggs, Josh Ferguson, Morgan Skipp and Lee Fielding.
Cowes Sports got off to a perfect start when with just four minutes on the clock JAMES WYKES picked the ball up some 25 – 30 yards from goal wide on the left, cut inside before unleashing a dipping shot that flew over their keeper, Ed Baldy, into the net too send Westwood wild. It did not take long for the mainland side to create the chance for an equaliser when in the 10th minute Callum Chase’s poor back header was pounced upon by Ricky Hulbert, but he pulled his shot across the goal and wide of Ed Hatt’s left hand upright. Joe Stradling then fired wide from distance before Cowes responded as skipper John McKie fired straight at the keeper. Controversy in the 18th minute when the visitors were awarded a very soft penalty, winger Callum Denkiv crossed from the Cowes right and the ball hit Callum Chase’s arm, who was no more than two yards away, Referee Cihan Gecmez pointed to the spot, a rather harsh decision as Callum had no chance of getting out the way.
Despite Ed Hatt diving the correct way he could not stop JAMIE JORDAN from equalising. Once again though Cowes responded well and were awarded a free kick to thee left of their area, Fin Phillips sent a perfect cross to the back post where it found EWAN CRANWELL to head the ball into the goal from close range and restore the home sides lead. The Islanders then had the chance to increase their advantage when Fin Phillips broke quickly fed John McKie who unfortunately put his shot wide of the goal. The game was very open with both sides looking for more goals and the second equaliser came on 32 minutes when CALLUM DENKIV headed the ball into the left corner of the Cowes goal. Another great response from the home side as just two minutes later Cowes were back in front when a great weaving run down the left by Ji Nash before he crossed to JOHN MCKIE who scored his fifth goal of the season and have the crowd dreaming of Wembley. The final minutes of the first half were played out without further incident and a pulsating first half ended with the Yachtsmen 3 – 2 ahead.
Josh Ferguson replaced Francois Allen, who had picked up a yellow card in the 1st half, at the start of the second half. Will Stead became the second Westbury player to see yellow early in the second half, he was quickly followed by skipper Steve Hulbert who complained about the Referee giving a goal kick to Cowes when it was clearly a corner. Westbury continued their fast start and really should have levelled in the 52nd minute when Callum Denkiv managed to scoop the ball up onto the crossbar from two yards out, then a brilliant clearance from the goal line kept the Yachtsmen ahead.
Eighteen minutes in and the visitors coach was sent to the stand after he had run around to behind their goal coaching their defence. Both sides made a change in the 65th minute – Gareth Bricknell replacing Jared Cousins for the home side whilst Morgan Skipp replaced Joe Kirkpatrick for Westbury. The Wiltshire team continued to press as Cowes invited them onto their defence, Ricky Hulbert again wasted a good chance. Michael McEnery came on for James Wykes and Will Stead was replaced by Dan Kovacs. Substitute Josh Ferguson, who was lucky to still be on the pitch having kicked James Wykes in the head earlier in the half, then went on a mazy run five minutes from time before crossing and RICKY HULBERT flicked the ball wide of Ed Hatts despairing dive and the ball trickled into the right corner of the goal for a deserved equaliser. Westbury were now in control as the 90 minutes finished level at 3 – 3
Four minutes into extra time and the visitors took the lead for the first time in the game, a hopeful ball into the Cowes box saw CALLUM DENKIV beat Callum Chase to the ball before sending his shot past the helpless Ed Hatt into the net. Conor White then replaced Callum Chase before Dominic Sexton picked up a yellow card. Callum Denkiv then was shown a yellow card before the visitors settled the tie with a breakaway fifth goal as RICKY HULBERT lifted the ball over the advancing Ed Hatt from the right side of the area. Cowes sent on Connor Furmidge for Ewan Cranwell for the final eight minutes with Westbury sending Ryan Baggs on for Callum Denkiv. Their final substitute was shown yellow for kicking the ball away before Gareth Bricknell and Westbury’s Josh Ferguson were shown red cards for a skirmish on the half way line.
Another good performance from the Yachtsmen although maybe they sat back a bit too much in the second half, a chance missed by the home team, but Westbury showed great determination not to be beaten and eventually got their rewards earning a trip to Petersfield in the next round who I would expect to be easily beaten.
Referee – CIHAN GECMEZ Assistants – Michael O’Donavan + Daniel Burke
Edward Hatt, Jez Conway, Dominic Sexton, Callum Chase, Aidan Bryan, Ewan Cranwell, Finley Phillips, Jared Cousins, Ji Nash, John McKie (c), James Wykes
Used Subs:- Gareth Bricknell(Jared Cousins) 65, Michael McEnery(James Wykes) 78, Conor White (Callum Chase) 101, Connor Furmidge(Ewan Cranwell) 111.
Unused Subs- Ashley Brett