played at Newport FC, St Georges Park
Darren Arnold and his young side had won their way through to the Challenge Cup Final where they faced Champions and Cup holders Whitecroft & Barton Sports a side they had lost twice too during the League campaign.
Despite some people expecting Cowes to strengthen their team for this game the Management decided to keep to the players who had beaten East Cowes Sports, 1-0 and Shanklin 5 – 1.
As expected it was the current holders who started well despite the bonfire smoke that was drifting across the ground. Josh Appell sent a header over the Cowes crossbar in the second minute before Alex Wright saw his shot drift well wide of target. However, it did not take long for W & B too take the lead. A 7th minute free kick looked to drifting out for a goal kick, but Harry Ovnik head the ball back across goal from the bye line, keeper Ben Gearing pushed the ball away from goal but only too MATTHEW EVANS who slotted the ball into the left corner of the Cowes net. Just three minutes later and the advantage was doubled when a near post corner was not cleared by the defence and again MATTHEW EVANS was on hand to score from close range. A cricket score looked likely, but on 12 minutes Cowes Reserves were give hope when, from a wide free kick Aidan Sainsbury was adjudged to have fouled Arthur Balchin inside the box, Referee Abu Gates awarded the penalty which SCOTT MCFARLANE sent keeper Gareth True the wrong way to score. The next quarter of an hour flew by with no real goal threat from either side, then on 30 minutes, Max Coshell was easily beaten in the right back area by Matt Evans, as the W & B player made his way towards goal for what looked likely to be number three, skipper Max Draper appeared from no where to block the shot. 37 minutes gone and Cowes fell 3 – 1 behind when a long throw from in front of the tea bar was not cleared and the ball fell too SAM YELLAND who fired home from six yards. Cowes’ Arthur Balchin showed his goal threat only too see his effort cleared off the goal line. Matt Evans was then replaced by Jack East shortly before the break. W & B were awarded a free kick around 25 yards from goal, while Ben Gearing was organising his wall, quick thinking by AIDAN SAINSBURY saw him send the ball into the left corner of the Cowes goal to make it 4 – 1 at the break.
John Bilton came on at half time for Keelan Sainsbury before Alex Wright hobbled off to be replaced by Luke Bennett, so just 55 minutes in an W & B had used all three substitutes. Scott McFarlane tried his luck from distance but sent his shot wide of goal. Skipper Max Draper was then booked for a foul out wide. In the 69th minute the game was mad safe as JOSH APPELL headed in from 2 yards following a free kick. With Joe Adams struggling with an injury he was taken off for the final 20 minutes. Darren Arnold the sent on Daniel Pearson and Aedan Coode in place of James Wright and Aarun Ince. ARTHUR BALCHIN fired just wide of goal in the 83rd minute before, two minutes later, his shot was deflected up and over Gareth True into the goal for a second Cowes goal. W & B were visibly tired by now, but the Cowes youngsters were still full of running and were causing the holders some problems. Charlie Butt replaced Max Coshell for the final minutes. Then in the final minute ARTHUR BALCHIN netted from close range to bring the Yachtsmen back to within two goals. The holders were visibly rattled going into 4 minutes of added time. Their skipper showed this with a needless nasty challenge on the far touchline on Aiden White which needed treatment and earned the W & B player a straight red card. No further action as the Newport based side held on to lift the Cup once again, but the young Yachtsmen can be proud of the way they played, in particular the second half and that the future for Cowes Sports could be bright if this set of players keep together.
Referee:- ABU GATES Assistants – Ian Smith + Andy Jones
Ben Gearing, Max Coshell, Jacob Jarvis, Mitch Ricketts, Max Draper (c), Aiden White, Sam Kirby, Scott McFarlane, Arthur Balchin, Aarun Ince, James Wright
Used Subs:- Aedan Coode(James Wright) 70, Daniel Pearson( Aarun Ince) 70, Charlie Butt(Max Coshell) 86
Unused Subs:- Paul Gould + Zach Fever-Norton