Attendance – 171
The term “six pointer” ably describes the latest Wessex Premier game to be played by the Yachtsmen as they entertained Wiltshire side Bemerton Heath Harlequins at Westwood Park. The visitors came to the Island sitting in 18th place in the table on the same number of points as their hosts but with a better goal difference of 15, both sides having five matches remaining.
Cowes welcomed both Ashley Brett and Fin Phillips back to the starting line up along with Connor Furmidge replacing Jack Broomfield, Aedan Coode and Michael McEnery(unavailable). Also returning from injury to take a spot on the bench was Jimmy Wykes.
The tension was very evident prior to the match, but once the first whistle was blown Cowes flew out of the blocks and in just the third minute of the game the home side took the lead when a cushioned Gareth Bricknell header sent Player/Manager JOHN MCKIE racing through on goal as he entered the penalty area he smashed the ball past visiting keeper Dan Kempson into the net much too the delight of the large crowd. A fantastic start which, just two minutes later, got better when JOHN MCKIE beat hid defender before calmly tucking the ball past the helpless keeper for a second Cowes goal. This start certainly settled the nerves, as Cowes went in search of more goals, Skipper Gareth Bricknell hit a speculative effort from 35 yards in the 10th minute that sailed over the bar. Callum Chase then was shown a yellow card for questioning the award of a free kick before Bemerton finally got a bit of a foothold in the game. A 25th minute corner from in front of the clubhouse saw Ed Hatt fist the ball away from under his crossbar before Dan Kempson was forced into a similar save from a inswinging Gareth Bricknell corner. Callum Chase saw his effort easily saved. Bemerton were then gifted a chance to get back in the game when a loose Dom Sexton throw saw Jack Slade bearing down on the Cowes goal, but the Bemerton striker’s shot was tipped past the post by the in form Ed Hatt and from the resulting corner the same striker headed wide. John McKie and Jez Conway then combined down the right before the latter sent a shot across the face of goal just inches wide of the right hand post. Five minutes before the break and Rian Drake found himself with the ball at his feet on his own inside the Cowes box but once again the Cowes custodian would not be beaten.
Ten minutes into the second half and Bemerton made the first change when they replaced Scott Joyce(who appeared not impressed with the decision) with James Lightfoot. Cowes continued to attack and a minute later a John McKie cross led to handball appeals but nothing given, the ball was headed up in the air by Conor White but Connor Furmidge’s spectacular over head kick was pushed over the bar by Dan Kempson, from the resulting corner John McKie pulled the ball back to Connor Furmidge, this time his shot was diverted for a corner by a defender. Charlie Allen was then taken off for Aedan Coode with Callum Chase dropping back before Joe Spratt made way for Ceesay Yankuba for Bemerton. Callum Chase then saw his shot saved low down and Fin Phillips had a effort blocked before John McKie’s pull back was blocked on the line by a defender and the keeper pounced on the loose ball. Seven minutes from time an Jimmy Wykes came on for Conor White and just two minutes latera break down the Cowes right saw Aedan Coode slide the ball across the box where JIMMY WYKES was on hand to side foot the ball into the empty net and confirm the three points were for the home side. The final substitution saw Callum Watkins replace Connor Furmidge as The Yachtsmen held on for three very valuable points that lifts them above Bemerton into 18th place both teams with four games left(see list below).
Referee:- ALEX STANIFORTH Assistants – Alistair Taylor + Ben Orton.
Edward Hatt, Jez Conway, Dominic Sexton, Charlie Allen, Ashley Brett, Callum Chase, Fin Phillips, Gareth Bricknell (c), Connor Furmidge, John McKie, Conor White
Used Subs:- Aedan Coode(Charlie Allen) 60, Jimmy Wykes(Conor White) 83, Callum Watkins(Connor Furmidge) 87
Unused Subs; Jack Broomfield, Nicky Vyse
Remaining fixtures –
Cowes Sports – Sat Mar 30 a v HAMBLE CLUB, Sat Apr 6 h v AFC PORTCHESTER, Sat Apr 13 h v LYMINGTON TOWN, Sat 20 a v HORNDEAN
Bemerton HH – Sat Mar 30 a v SHOLING, Sat Apr 6 a v HAMBLE CLUB, Sat 13 Apr h v AFC PORTCHESTER, Sat 20 a v LYMINGTON TOWN