Match Report – AFC Portchester v COWES SPORTS




played at The Crest Finance Stadium  Attendance –

Referee – MARK SHAPLAND Assistants: Cole Collinge + Alan Gower

Second League game for the Yachtsmen and another away trip, this time to the Portsmouth area to take on much fancied AFC Portchester, a side that we have had some close defeats over the past couple of seasons but have also been hammered – 2 – 12 in League Cup, so following the previous Saturday’s defeat at Alresford not much was expected from this fixture.

Coach Alex Smith was forced into four changes to the starting line up as Joe White, Fin Phillips, Ewan Cranwell and Michael McEnery were all unavailable for the game. Into the starting line up came Isaac Cruise, Ashley Brett, Aidan Bryan and Darren Williams. Joining Ji Nash and Aedan Coode on the bench were Dominic Sexton, Jez Conway and Samuel Kirby. Portchester made just one change, Nathan Paxton replacing James Thomson from the side that had started the season with a 4 – 0 victory over Shaftesbury.


Edward Hatt, Conor White, Isaac Cruise, Aidan Bryan, Ashley Brett, Callum Chase, Scott McFarlane, Gareth Bricknell (c), James Wykes, Darren Williams, Jacob Jarvis, Subs – Ji Nash, Aedan Coode, Dominic Sexton, Jez Conway, Samuel Kirby

Cowes knew that they would be in for a tough game from the start and within five minutes they found themselves a goal down. Following a Cowes free kick which found it’s way to keeper Brad Snelling, a quick kick upfield found NATHAN PAXTON in on goal, despite Cowes keeper Ed Hatt closing the striker down the ball got past the Cowes stopper leaving the home striker with a tap in to give his side the lead and leave Cowes thinking back to the cup defeat a couple of years ago. To their credit the Islanders fought their way back into the match and on thirteen minutes should probably have had an equaliser. A home defender played the ball back to his keeper who used his hands as the ball was over head height, Referee Mark Shapland awarded Cowes an indirect free kick 12 yards out. Skipper Gareth Bricknell touched the ball to his left but Darren Williams fired over the crossbar to keep the home side ahead. For the remainder of the half the expected onslaught from The Royals failed to materialise, in fact it was the Islanders that pressed forward and looked the more likely to score, a dangerous Jacob Jarvis cross from the left caused panic, but no Yachtsman could get a touch and the ball was cleared by the home defence, only to Conor White on the right whose cross into the box was cleared with greater ease. Cowes got their reward for their dominance shortly before the break when Gareth Bricknell beat three defenders around the box before taking the ball around the keeper who fouled him, but CALLUM CHASE was on hand to tap the ball into the empty goal much to the delight of the travelling fan(Dave Draper). The equaliser was no more than Cowes deserved for the way they had played.  So the teams went into the half time break all square.

As expected the home side came out for the second half fully intent of putting the Islanders in their place and most of the first 15 of the second half was spent in the Cowes half of the pitch, but the home side could not find a way through and began to get frustrated. Nineteen minutes in and the home side were awarded a free kick which was floated into the box which was met by a firm header at goal which Cowes No.1 produced a great save at the expense of a corner. Jez Conway replaced Scott McFarlane in the 65th minute before skipper Gareth Bricknell was booked shortly after. Ji Nash then came on for Jacob Jarvis in the 71st minute. Although the home were seeing a lot of the ball they were not able to find a way through to test Ed Hatt. Excellent work on the left by Darren Williams saw him set up Gareth Bricknell but home keeper Brad Snelling kept his side level with a good save. As the half wore on Cowes began to find more space and started to create a few chances for themselves. Could the lads hold out for the final quarter of an hour? NO they could not!!! They actually went on to score a winner. With just ten minutes left on the clock a ball into the Portchester box saw Darren Williams dummy leaving substitute JI NASH with the opportunity to drop his shoulder before sending the ball under the home keeper into the net to put the Yachtsmen ahead for the first time this season. Aedan Coode came on for the final few minutes, James Wykes going off as Cowes looked to run time down which they did successfully to gain their first three points of the season leading to a very pleasant trip back across the water.

Stand in Manager Alex Smith became the first Manager to come away from Portchester with any points as the table below shows –

10/11      1 – 1       1 – 6
11/12      3 – 2      1 – 2
15/16      1 – 0      1 – 5
16/17      2 – 0     0 – 2
17/18      1 – 2      2 – 3
18/19      3 – 3     0 – 1

a couple of close defeats away from Westwood tho only one lose at home.