Attendance – 135
A welcome break from the pressure of the relegation battle in the Wessex Premier Division saw the Yachtsmen take on Island Div 1 side Pan Sports for a place in the Semi Final of the IoW Senior(Gold) Cup.
Player/Manager John McKie took the bold decision to name both Skipper Gareth Bricknell and himself on the bench for this match with Jimmy Wykes, Jack Broomfield and Aidan Bryan returning to the starting line up. Charlie Allen was also missing due to an injury picked up at Hamble.
As the teams prepared for the start of the game a downpour of hail and rain hit Westwood Park. The home side got off to a great start when after just eight minutes JAMES WYKES smashed the ball over Pan keeper Kayton Evans to give the Wessex Premier side the early lead to settle any nerves. A few had expected the visitors to try and rough up their hosts and so it looked like it would be when on 13 minutes Jamie Wright was booked for a reckless tackle on Conor White near the far touchline. From the resulting free kick Connor Furmidge netted but the Assistants flag was raised for offside. Pan Sports then had a good chance but striker Ashley Gulliver sent a 25 yard shot wide of the Cowes goal. Just as Cowes were beginning to dominate the game the ground was plunged into darkness as the lights went out. After around a 15 minute delay the lights came back on, but Cowes’ rhythm had been disrupted. The remainder of the half mainly involved Aidan Bryan. Firstly on 37 minutes Jordan Scott became the second Pan player to be booked for a foul on Aidan Bryan. The Cowes player then had a header cleared off the line by a visiting defender before a long range effort – which Aidan insisted after the game was a cross, flew over the bar, then just before the break Aidan Bryan was booked for a foul. So the Senior side led at the break, but you always felt that Pan were capable of getting back in the game.
Early Cowes pressure in the second half should have seen Cowes when Conor White’s cross from the near touchline picked out Aidan Bryan who could only send his header past the outside of the keepers right hand post. Five minutes into the half and Cowes were stunned as BILLY CHUGG volleyed the Island League side level with a sweetly struck shot from outside the box. Cowes nearly regained the lead almost immediately when Jez Conway squared a free kick to Jack Broomfield on the edge of the box, his shot was parried by Kayton Evans but the rebound was headed into the net by Callum Chase but he was ruled to be in an offside position. However it did not take Cowes long to regain the lead when a deep Jez Conway corner was headed onto the bar by Ashley Brett and the rebound fell nicely to JAMES WYKES to head the home side back into the lead. A couple of Pan players tried to say the ball had not crossed the line, but it clearly did and the goal stood. Pan replaced Jamie Wright with former Cowes player Ross Lacey before more controversy when Liam Slaven’s free kick from wide on the Cowes right cannoned off the crossbar and was the seemingly blocked on the line(possibly by hands) before the danger was cleared, a let off for the Yachtsmen. Dominic Sexton was then shown a yellow card for a foul before Lennox Dunkling and Ross Lacey were replaced by Kieron Allen and Calum Case for Pan and Gareth Bricknell came on for Jack Broomfield for the home side. Calum Case then saw his shot clear the crossbar by inches. Another change for Cowes saw Callum Watkins replace goalscorers James Wykes. The final action of the game saw Jordan Scutt sent off for a cynical foul on Callum Watkins as Cowes hold on to book their place in the semi final against Whitecroft & Barton to be played at St Georges Park on April 23rd KO 7 30pm.
Referee:- TOM BERRY Assistants – Alistair Taylor + Ben Orton
Edward Hatt, Jez Conway, Dominic Sexton, Callum Chase (c), Ashley Brett, Aidan Bryan, Aedan Coode, Jack Broomfield, Connor Furmidge, James Wykes, Conor White
Used Subs:- Gareth Bricknell(Jack Broomfield) 69, Callum Watkins(James Wykes) 80
Unused Subs:– Scott McFarlane, John McKie, Ben Gearing g/k