After a traumatic week that saw Victor Sanders relieved of the Managers job with John McKie taking over on an interim basis as Player/Manager until the end of the season, Cowes Sports travelled to Alresford Town, who were in the top eight in the table, and having lost 6 – 1 in the Hampshire Cup earlier in the season, so another tough fixture.
Conor White replaced the injured Aidan Bryan in the only change to the starting line up whilst Scott McFarlane, Aedan Coode and Jacob Jarvis filled the bench seats.
Straight from the kick off Cowes found themselves on the back foot when in the first minute Luke Rae screwed a shot just wide of target following a cross from the left. Five minutes gone and George Farrelly was put through on goal but he blazed the ball high over the bar. finally the breakthrough came in the 6th minute although somewhat fortuitous for the home side. A long clearance down the Cowes right saw LUKE RAE in a chase for the ball with Conor White, unfortunately for the Islander he pulled up with a reoccurrence of a hamstring strain which left the Alresford forward with only keeper Ed Hatt to beat which he done with ease. Scott McFarlane replaced the injured Conor White with Ewan Cranwell dropping back to right back and Scott tasking his place in midfield. the Yachtsmen responded well and from a 10th minute Fin Phillips corner Scott McFarlane volleyed the ball straight at the home stopper. Route one football from the home side saw Luke Rae fire over the bar before a cross from the Cowes right was volleyed goalwards only for Captain Ed Hatt parry the ball away to safety. A 22nd minute throw found John McKie on the right touchline, he battled his way past a couple of defenders into the box but could not find a pass to Jez Conway who would probably have scored, and ended the move with a weak shot that caused no problems for Jordan Tewksbury in the home goal. A contentious decision in the 27th minute cost Cowes dearly. Charlie Allen appeared to be fouled on the edge of the box but no foul was given, the loose ball fell nicely for AARON BLAXALL to volley home from 22 yards to double the home sides lead. A nice lay off from John McKie found Callum Chase but his shot from 20 yards flew over the bar as Cowes tried to find a way back into the game. Aaron Blaxall then tested Ed Hatt with a cross that the Cowes stopper had to tip over the bar. Shortly before half time Charlie Allen slid into a challenge just inside the box, Luke Rae took advantage to fall over Charlies outstretched leg and Referee Tom Moisey awarded the home side a penalty and showed the Cowes defender a yellow card. Home Skipper CHRIS MASON stepped up to beat Ed Hatt from 12 yards for a third Alresford goal.
Despite the scoreline Cowes started the second half brightly and a Callum Chase 30 yarder made the home keeper work. Then Ed Hatt was called into action to parry away a header from Luke Rae who was a constant threat to the Cowes backline. 54 minutes and another Cowes effort went a begging, Charlie Allen found Jez Conway who in turn clipped the ball over the home defence for John McKie to volley towards goal, but Jordan Tewksbury blocked the shot. Five minutes later and Scott McFarlane broke up a Alresford attack before releasing John McKie but he fired over the bar. Scott McFarlane then fouled their forward on the left side of the box and a second penalty was awarded to the home side, before the spot kick was taken Charlie Allen was then replaced by young Jacob Jarvis. The delay got to skipper Chris Mason who fired wide of the right hand post on this occasion. GEORGE FARRELLY then cut in from the right before blasting the ball past Ed Hatt for a fourth goal in the 67th minute. Cowes’ final change saw Aedan Coode replace Callum Chase whilst Chris Mason came off for the home side to be replaced by young Louis Russell. A good interception by Aedan Coode saw him give the ball to Jez Conway, but unfortunately he fired well wide of the goal. Jalon Rowe replaced Adam Pearson for Alresford. Aedan Coode and Jez Conway combined well to set up Scott McFarlane with a shooting chance but he fired wide. Ten minutes from time and a fifth goal when PAUL COVENTRY stretched to meet a cross from the right to divert the ball into the net. Liam Hibberd was replaced by Steven Hall in the final change of the game before the home side had the final word with a sixth goal, a cracking 25 yard drive by LUKE RAE. With this result the home side move up to fifth in the table whilst the Islanders remain 19th.
A tough baptism for John McKie and his team, but with several new signing on the cards he will hope for better things over the next few weeks.
Referee:- TOM MOISEY Assistants- Eilidh Currie + Kevin Robinson
Edward Hatt (c), Conor White, Dominic Sexton, Ashley Brett, Charlie Allen, Jack Broomfield, Ewan Cranwell, Callum Chase, Jez Conway. John McKie, Fin Phillips
Used Subs:- Scott McFarlane(Conor White) 7, Jacob Jarvis(Charlie Allen) 61, Aedan Coode(Callum Chase) 67
Unused Sub – Dave Thurman g/k