Attendance – 114
In there first home fixture for a month Cowes Sports welcomed third placed Horndean to Westwood Park.
Once again Manager Vic Sanders saw his squad decimated by injury as Charlie Allen became the sixth player to become unavailable having been injured in the warm up. He joined Aidan Bryan, John McKie, James Wykes, Conor White and Connor Furmidge on the sidelines. Zackery Fever-Norton, Aedan Coode, Michael McEnery and Scott McFarlane came in along with the returning Ashley Brett. On the bench Jacob Jarvis was joined by Aarun Ince, Sam Kirby and Callum Watkins with Wilf Armfield the sub keeper.
As with the Tadley game in November as the Referee blew his whistle for kick off, the heavens opened with heavy rain, thankfully the downpour did not last as long but left the already wet pitch very heavy. Seven minutes in and skipper Gareth Bricknell became the first player to be shown a yellow card for a sliding tackle in front of the home dugout. A quarter of an hour in and Scott McFarlane saw his free kick pushed up and over the bar by Horndean keeper Ross Casey. Three minutes later and Horndean took the lead when their first effort was well blocked, but the rebound fell nicely for MILES EVERETT to fire home from 10 yards or so. The visitors joy was short lived as within a minute the Yachtsmen were back on level terms when a ball forward to MICHAEL MCENERY saw his persistence pay off as he clipped the ball into the keeper’s top left corner of the goal. Twenty five minutes in and Cowes were unlucky not to take the lead as Jez Conway’s cross from the right had Gareth Bricknell at full stretch to touch the ball inches wide of the left post. A silly free kick conceded wide on the Cowes right, in the 33rd minute, was floated beyond Ed Hatt’ s left post, two home defenders thought the ball was going out of play for a goal kick, but their player had other ideas and managed to head it back into the middle of the area where DAN SACKMAN was on hand to volley in from near the penalty spot to regain the lead for the visitors. Cowes’ Ashley Brett and ‘Deans skipper Ashley Howes both were booked for fouls. Horndean the should have added a third goal just before the interval when Benny Reed’s cross found Mark Smith inside the six yard box, but he sent the ball over the bar from two yards out in what may be the “Miss of the Season”.
Cowes could, maybe should have been level on 53 minutes when Ashley Brett headed over the bar from six yards, Michael McEnery was right behind him and would of had a great chance to score. Two minutes later and the killer blow for Cowes when from a throw ALFIE LIS picked up the ball before curling a worldie into the top right corner of Ed Hatt’s goal to make it 1 – 3. Zach Fever-Norton went into the book somewhat harshly as the Horndean player went down screaming following Zac’s challenge, but was up and running away without treatment as the Ref booked the Cowes player. Samuel Kirby replaced Zac shortly after. Miles Everett then curled an effort wide of the Cowes goal. Hardworking Jez Conway was then taken off for the returning Callum Watkins. Seventy two minutes gone and a Scott McFarlane corner caused confusion in the Horndean box, the ball eventually found Callum Chase but his shot was blocked before being cleared, then left wing back Dominic Sexton went very close with a 25 yard piledriver as Cowes threatened a comeback. Horndean then took Alfie Lis and Mark Smith off, bringing on Thomas George and Luke Heard while Cowes’ final substitution saw Aarun Ince replace Dominic Sexton. No further chances were created by either side but the final incident saw Horndean captain sent off(not sure whether straight red or second yellow) for dissent after a free kick had been awarded too Cowes.
Overall considering they were six players missing, Cowes played quite well against one of the top teams, but individual mistakes cost them again. A few new signings would not go a miss but is there anyone about that would improve the side??
Referee:- LEE NOWACKI Assistants – Andrew Jones + Jamie Saltzer
Edward Hatt, Zachery Fever-Norton, Dominic Sexton, Callum Chase, Michael McEnery, Ashley Brett, Aedan Coode, Jack Broomfield, Jez Conway, Scott McFarlane, Gareth Bricknell (c)
Used Subs:- Samuel Kirby(Zac Fever-Norton) 56, Callum Watkins(Jez Conway) 70, Aarun Ince(Dominic Sexton) 81
Unused Subs; Jacob Jarvis, Wilfred Armfield g/k