Attendance – 136
Another League fixture and another very important game for John McKie’s Yachtsmen as Shaftesbury were welcomed to the Island. The visitors had won the reverse fixture 3 – 1 earlier in the season and had won three of their previous four League game, drawing the other one and had taken Southern League Salisbury to penalties before losing 8 – 7 in a local Cup game during the mid week prior to this game.
Conor White returned from injury whilst Fin Phillips and Ewan Cranwell were back from University, all started with Aedan Coode and Nicky Vyse dropping to the bench and Charlie Allen being rested from the squad.
Once again the local support came out in numbers to support the team in their quest for three more points(136) and they were to be rewarded. Cowes started as they intended to carry on when after just two minutes John McKie beat the right back near the touchline before cutting inside to the edge of the area before trying a curling shot that visiting keeper John Hill watched as it whistled just wide of his left hand post. For the next twenty minutes or so both defences ruled as they repelled any attacks. Twenty six minutes in and a Shaftesbury attempt to clear their lines was blocked by Michael McEnery who bore down on goal, but his low shot was straight at their keeper who saved with ease. Shaftesbury’s first effort on goal came in the 37th minute, but Cowes stopper Ed Hatt parried the ball away from goal before Malachi Benjamin fired wide of target. Two minutes later the breakthrough came when Michael McEnery retrieved the ball that had flown across their box to the far left of their box, he sent the ball back into the area where John McKie touched onto FINLEY PHILLIPS who fired into the net from around ten yards much to the delight of the crowd. Visiting skipper Gary Bowles was booked by Referee Antony Cross for having too much to say towards the Assistant on the far side. So Cowes went into the break with a slender one goal lead.
Early in the second half a foul near the half way line was waved as play on by the Referee leaving John McKie bearing down on the Shaftesbury goal but the Player/Managers shot was tipped over the bar by John Hill. Ben Wood then tested Ed Hatt as the visitors threatened an equaliser but the Cowes No. 1 saved low down to his right. A 56th minute Gareth Bricknell corner to the back post was headed back into the middle by Ewan Cranwell for John McKie to head towards goal but their keeper saved on the line. Ben Wood(Shaftesbury) and Cowes’ Ashley Brett were then booked in quick succession before Greg Peel was only shown a yellow card for a very late tackle on Callum Chase. Back to the football, Fin Phillips won the ball in midfield before crossing to John McKie whose goal bound shot was cleared off the goal-line by a defender. A raft of changes saw Shaftesbury’s Elliott Bevis and Jason Stripp replaced by Dereck Hayford and Matt Hindle while Cowes sent on Callum Watkins for Conor White. Ten minutes from time Gareth Bricknell’s cross saw Ewan Cranwell side foot an effort goalwards but again a visiting defender was on hand too clear off the line, Michael McEnery then screwed a shot inches wide. Elliott Eaves was taken off with Aaron Laney coming on. Shaftesbury’s best chance of the game fell to Greg Peel in the 81st minute but he pulled his shot wide of Ed Hatt’s left hand post. Another dangerous attack from the visitors saw a cross fizz across the face of the Cowes area but nobody was on hand to get a touch and the danger fizzled out. Aarun Ince replaced John McKie before in the final minute Michael McEnery was put through, he got to the ball before their keeper who impeded him well outside the box earning himself a straight red card as the Yachtsmen held on for three more precious points in their battle to avoid relegation.
Referee:- ANTONY CROSS Assistants – Andy Jones + Aaron Tree
Edward Hatt, Jez Conway, Dominic Sexton, Callum Chase, Ashley Brett, Ewan Cranwell, Finley Phillips, Gareth Bricknell (c), John McKie, Michael McEnery, Conor White
Used Subs:- Callum Watkins(Conor White) 70, Aarun Ince(John McKie) 86
Unused Subs – Aedan Coode, Nicky Vyse, Jack Broomfield