Attendance – 88
One of the toughest fixtures yet for Manager Vic Sanders and his Cowes Sports team as they travelled across the Solent to the Universal Stadium, home of league leaders Sholing who had a 100% record so far this season.
Despite their midweek cup defeat The Yachtsmen were in buoyant mood confident they could upset their glamorous hosts. Cowes welcomed back Aidan Bryan to the starting line up whilst Ben Gearing replaced Dave Thurman in goal. On the bench were Ryan Gardner, Charlie Allen, Daniel Pearson and new signing Aiden White who had just turned 16.
The home side started well and with just two minutes on the clock fashioned the first chance of the game when full back TJ Cuthbertson sent a low shot towards the Cowes goal, but Ben Gearing saved with ease. Cowes slowly played their way into the game and a long range Dom Sexton shot was fired straight at Ryan Gosney in the home goal. It was Sholing who drew first blood in the 16th minute when DAN MASON took on and beat Aidan Bryan on the left edge of the Cowes box before unleashing a powerful drive across Ben Gearing into the bottom right corner of his goal. At this point some may have thought the flood gates were about to open, but that was not the case as the Islanders battled and fought for every ball. Gareth Bricknell was fouled near the half way line, but no free kick was given, Jez Conway played on and shot just wide of the home goal. Cowes again came close to levelling the scores in the 21st minute when a corner from the Cowes left into the box led to appeals for a handball b y a Sholing defender, but nothing was awarded, James Wykes saw his shot smack against the right upright and go out towards the sideline where Gareth Bricknell retrieved the ball to cross it back into the danger area where Jacob Jarvis headed across the face of the goal. The home side were lucky to survive those few minutes with their lead still intact. Shortly before the break T J Cuthbertson again caused problems for the Cowes defence but he could only toe poke a shot wide of goal.
Cowes began the second half brightly, Jez Conway done well on the left before crossing into James Wykes whose header was straight at Ryan Gosney. Home forward Lee Wort then fired a low effort at Ben Gearing who was commanding his box well. Daniel Pearson replaced Jez Conway 0n 68 minutes. Cowes then had Ashley Brett booked for a foul before a long clearance by Ryan Gosney saw Bradley Targett latch onto but his shot blazed well over the bar. Eventually the home sides quality up front paid off when on 82 minutes LEE WORT fired home from the edge of the area to double the lead. Cowes then took Dominic Sexton and James Wykes off bringing on Ryan Gardner and debutant Aiden White(16 years of age) for the final minutes. Gareth Bricknell was then yellow carded for a foul on Lee Wort ten yards outside the left edge of the area. From the resulting free kick DAN MASON nodded home from six yards to seal the three points for the home side.
It has to be said that the final scoreline was a little flattering for the home side as they were made too work very hard for the win, if Cowes show this sort of form throughout the season and can find someone to stick the ball in the net they will win more than they lose.
Referee:- ALEX RUSH-FEAR Assistants – Rudi Burton + Alan Gower.
Ben Gearing, Conor White, Dominic Sexton, Aidan Bryan, Ashley Brett, Jack Broomfield, Callum Chase, Jacob Jarvis, Jez Conway, Gareth Bricknell (c), James Wykes
Used Subs:- Daniel Pearson(Jez Conway) 68, Ryan Gardner(James Wykes) 84, Aiden White(Dominic Sexton) 84
Unused Subs:– Charlie Allen + Dave Thurman g/k
Below is a brief report from Sholing with great compliments to the Yachtsmen –
On a very cold afternoon with the first knockings of winter banging at the turnstile, Sholing entertained a spirited Cowes Sports team who gave a very good account of themselves. In fact, until the last ten minutes a neutral could have considered them unlucky to be behind.
Frankly, the game was scrappy from start to finish, but it was after about 15 minutes that Dan Mason found himself clear and blasted the ball home past Cowes keeper Ben Gearing who had a good game commanding his penalty area. For the rest of the first half it was even steven but it could have been 1-1 at the break as Cowes hit the crossbar five minutes after Dan scored the opener.
The second half was again nip and tuck although the visitors did not raise too big a challenge against Ryan Gosney’s goal. That in part was down to solid defending by the Boatmen’s defence with Owen Royl and Pete Castle working hand in glove with TJ Cuthbertson and the giant Dan Miller.
On 82 minutes Sholing could breath a little easier when Lee Wort scored, and the Cowes team visibly wilted and in time added on Dan Mason headed home a third.
Frankly I thought that 3-0 did not do Cowes justice. Yes, Sholing were worth their win, but the margin of victory was unfair on the visitors.
The official Sholing MOTM was Jamie Bulpitt, he was mine too. His engine room is phenomenal and never seems to run out of puff. Having said that TJ had a great game as did Dan Mason. But Jamie edged it for me.