Attendance – 124
For the first time since September 8th Cowes Sports played a match in front of their own supporters when they entertained Christchurch at Westwood Park on a very wet day, making the surface very slippery and greasy.
The game also marked Vic Sanders first match at home since his appointment. He was faced with several players missing. Aidan Bryan, Callum Chase and Charlie Allen were all missing through injury whilst Ed Hatt and Jack Broomfield were away with work. Ben Gearing started in goal for the first time while Ashley Brett continued at centre half alongside Harry Dye and new signing Callum Casson came into midfield. Tom Dye and Jacob Jarvis stepped up to the bench to join Ji Nash and Daniel Pearson.
The Referee kicked off a three minutes early with fans still coming into the game. Just two minutes in and Ben Gearing saved well a shot from Shaun Prentice. Josh Kirkham was next to test the Cowes No. 1 who again saved with ease. The bright start from the visitors continued as Shaun Prentice beat Dom Sexton down the left before pulling the ball back for Grant Cormack to try his luck but again Ben Gearing made a comfortable save. James Wykes was shown a yellow card for a supposed foul on ‘Church skipper Billy Walker, who certainly made the most of his fall. A harsh decision. The Yachtsmen’s first chance at goal came on 17 minutes with a Jez Conway shot at Max Frampton. Cowes nearly fell behind a minute later when a cross from the left saw Dom Sexton slice the ball towards his own goal but Ben Gearing saved his blushes. Seconds later another cross from the left had Ashley Brett at full stretch to send a header crashing against his own crossbar before the danger was cleared. Cowes, struggling to get a grip in the game then created a chance for 16 year old Sam Kirby who fired straight at Max Frampton. Dominic Sexton then headed the ball off the goal line before James Wykes cut in from the Cowes left but sent his effort wide of the goal. In the 35th minute Gareth Bricknell was fouled in front of the home dug out. He got up to send the free kick to the far post where JEZ CONWAY saw his first shot well saved by Max Frampton, but there was nothing he could do to stop the second shot hitting the back of the net to give the Island side the opening goal of the game, much to the delight of the 124 crowd. Grant Cormack again tested Ben Gearing reactions who once again came out on top just before half time.
First action of the second period was a yellow card for Conor White for a challenge near the half way line. Kieran Douglas then headed a Christchurch corner over the bar then a poor free kick from wide left by their stopper only found Gareth Bricknell who in turn fed John McKie, but his shot was pulled wide of the target with the keeper struggling to get back in his goal. Reversed roles a minute later as John McKie set up Gareth Bricknell but again the shot missed the target. Would Cowes live to regret those missed chances?? Both sides made a change in the 65th minute as Callum Casson was replaced by Tom Dye for the home team and Grant Cormack went off for Christchurch with Jack Satterley coming on. Scott Joyce was then booked for another foul on Gareth Bricknell before on 74 minutes Christchurch were reduced to ten when Ben Walker was sent off for retaliation on John McKie after the Cowes player had fouled him in front of the stand, John was booked for the initial foul. From the free kick Harvey Wright had a low shot well saved by Ben Gearing. John McKie came off for the home side , Ji Nash coming on before the visitors replaced Josh Kirkham with James King. Gareth Bricknell was shown yellow before James Wykes picked up a second yellow card followed by red for another soft foul on their skipper. as Cowes held on to record their fourth victory of the season and move up to ninth in the table.
A very hard working team effort with everyone playing their part in the win which will please the new management team.
Referee:- CIHAN GECMEZ Assistants; Andy Jones + Jamie Saltzer
Ben Gearing, Conor White, Dominic Sexton, Ashley Brett, Harry Dye, Callum Casson, Samuel Kirby, Jez Conway, Gareth Bricknell, John McKie (c), James Wykes
Used Subs – Tom Dye(Callum Casson) 65, Ji Nash(John McKie) 78
Unused Subs – Jacob Jarvis, Daniel Pearson, Dave Thurman g/k