So at the business end of the season and once again the Yachtsmen are fighting hard for survival in the Wessex Premier. Nothing new in that!!! Another away day saw the Islanders make the short trip across the Solent to Hamble Club who prior to the game were sitting nicely in 6th position, and had triumphed 3 – 1 on the Island earlier in the season. A tough game was expected although the hosts had lost their previous league fixture at home to Sholing a few days earlier which confirmed the Boatmen as Champions. The fixture schedule saw Cowes’ relegation rivals playing at Sholing at the same time. Would the Champions be up for it now that they had won the League? was the question on many people’s minds, and how would Hamble play??
Player/Manager John McKie made just one change from the team that demolished Bemerton the previous week, Aedan Coode coming in for Fin Phillips who was back at Uni. Eight of the Hamble squad that had lost too Sholing were involved along with a few youngsters.
The Islanders showed that they meant business straight from the kick off as they pushed the home side back towards their own goal. In the first minute John McKie was fed down the Cowes right, he beat the left back before sending a shot across the face of goal but unfortunately wide of the right hand upright. A foul awarded too Cowes in the 5th minute five yards outside the left side of their penalty area saw skipper Gareth Bricknell’ s curling effort cannon off the crossbar before Jez Conway’ s effort was somehow blocked, then John McKie curled his shot just past the left hand post. Cowes continued too push forward as Hamble struggled to find any sort of rhythm. Nathan Lynch thought he had given the hosts the lead on 25 minutes when he lobbed Ed Hatt from 35 yards, but the offside flag had been raised. Gareth Bricknell then watched as his snapshot flew just over the bar. The visitors were forced into a substitution in the 40th minute when Charlie Allen was replaced by the returning Aidan Bryan. Conor White picked up a yellow card for throwing the ball away, but only after the home Manager had moaned about it. Cowes, egged on by around 25 travelling fans, some of whom had been giving the right back some stick throughout the half, finally grabbed the lead their efforts had deserved in the final minute of the half when JOHN MCKIE received the ball wide on the Cowes left, beat the said right back before cutting inside then rolling the ball through the legs of Rory Anderson, in the Hamble goal, to give Cowes the lead at half time. More good news from along the road that Sholing were winning 4 – 1 at half time.
The second period started with a booking for Hamble’s Callum Kitcher for a foul on Callum Chase near the centre circle. Just nine minutes in and Hamble made a double substitution when Ben Kemplen and Richie Bridle were replaced by Marlon Mason and Tom Green. In the 58th minute Marlon Mason was lucky not to earn himself a yellow card for a nasty challenge on keeper Ed Hatt who needed treatment. Jimmy Wykes then came on for Conor White on the right wing. In the 69th minute John McKie retrieved a Crossfield ball before clipping it too Connor Furmidge whose volley flew well wide of the goal. Hamble’s Nathan Lynch then did the same at the other end. Marlon Mason was booked for a challenge on Callum Chase. Then on 75 minutes JOHN MCKIE cut inside and made his way into the area before Jake Newton tripped him, Referee Tom Baines pointed to the spot. The Player/Manager picked himself up to stick the ball past Rory Anderson into the right corner of the goal sending the travelling support into chants of “Yachtsmen” and dreaming of another campaign in the Premier Division next season. Connor Furmidge was replaced by Callum Watkins. In the 88th minute Ed Hatt was forced to make his first save of the game when Jez Conway’s attempted clearance hit Owen Fee forcing Ed to a flying save to push the ball for a corner. Hopes of a clean sheet were dashed in the 95th minute when NATHAN LYNCH sent a low shot into the right corner of Ed’s goal to pull one back for the home side but it was too little too late as Cowes held on for another three points that puts them SIX clear of Bemerton with three games left.
A terrific performance by all that was certainly helped by the vociferous support. Thank you too all that travelled, it was much appreciated by the players and Management.
Referee:- THOMAS BAINES Assistants – Jordan McRitchie + Des McCulloch
Edward Hatt, Jez Conway, Dominic Sexton, Ashley Brett, Charlie Allen, Callum Chase, Aedan Coode, John McKie, Connor Furmidge, Gareth Bricknell (c), Conor White
Used Subs:- Aidan Bryan(Charlie Allen) 40, Jimmy Wykes(Conor White)68, Callum Watkins(Connor Furmidge) 76
Unused Sub – Jack Broomfield