Saturday October 23rd      The WESSEX League – Premier Division


played at Westwood Park                   Kick Off – 15:00                     Attendance – 111

Referee:- ANTONY CROSS                 Assistants – Christopher Cass + Harvey Small

Team:- COWES SPORTS – Edward HATT, James WYKES, Jimmy MUMFORD, Jake WATSON, Callum CHASE (c) (62), Jez CONWAY, Darren WILLIAMS, Aedan COODE, Connor FURMIDGE, Ji NASH (72), Jaz CAMARA (53)

Subs:- Scott McFARLANE (53), Jack BARSDELL (62), Max COSHELL (72), unused – Lewis WRIGHT, Owen DENESS g/k

The second of five consecutive home fixtures saw the Yachtsmen welcome Portland United to Westwood Park. The corresponding fixture last season finished 8 – 1 to the Yachtsmen but a much tougher game was expected.

Two changes to the starting line up for the home side. Max Coshell dropped to the bench with Jake Watson replacing him, while Jaz Camara replaced Mitchell Ricketts. New signing Jack Barsdell, son of former favourite Adam Barsdell, started on the bench whilst Lewis Wright was also welcomed back to the fold. Visitors Portland United made two changes from the side beaten at Bashley in mid week, Matt Burrows replacing Ollie Lowes whilst Joel Hewitt came in for Danny Griffiths.

An early chance for the home side saw Ji Nash put through on goal with just the keeper to beat, but credit to Mike Edgar who blocked well with his feet to prevent his side going behind in the 4th minute. Portland responded and a low 11th minute effort from Ben Morris that had Ed Hatt scrambling low to his left to push the ball past the post for a corner. A cross from Aedan Coode from the right landed on the top of the net with the keeper beaten. Harry Thomas sent a 35 yard shot towards goal which Ed Hatt had to push away for a corner. The resulting corner was swung in from the Cowes right and picked out the head of skipper RYAN McKECHNIE who scored to give his side the lead. Darren Williams sent a shot straight at Mile Edgar on 22 minutes. Callum Chase earned himself a yellow card for a foul on the half way line as Portland threatened a quick break on the half hour mark. Cowes’ best chance to equalise came in the 33 minute when a superb Aedan Coode cross picked out the unmarked James Wykes who should have scored but his diving header flew back across goal and well wide of the left hand post. Another good pass from Aedan Coode picked out Ji Nash near the right corner of the Portland six yard box, his powerful shot though cannoned off the crossbar and away to safety. Shortly before the break Ji Nash became provider as a cross come shot from the left saw Darren Williams stretching at the far post but could not get the touch to divert the ball in. Cowes were then nearly caught in injury time when Troy Walbridge was through on goal but Ed Hatt done well to block the shot with his feet to keep his side only a goal behind at the break. H-t 0 – 1 

Despite a half time ear bashing from the management team Cowes were sluggish at the start of the second half. In the 47th minute Ryan McKechnie surged forward for Portland and was gutted to see his shot cannon back off the post. However he did not have long to wait for a second goal. A 51st minute long throw from the Cowes left was poorly defended and RYAN McKECHNIE took full advantage to volley the ball past Ed Hatt into the goal. A mountain to climb for the home side. Both sides made changes, Scott McFarlane replaced Jaz Camara for Cowes in the 53rd minute whilst Greg Borthwick came on in place of skipper Ryan McKechnie on 55 minutes. Joel Hewitt was replaced by Matty Burrows and Jack Barsdell came on for his debut in place of Callum Chase on 62 minutes. to try and bring a bit of pace into the Cowes attack. Max Coshell then came on in place of Ji Nash on 72 minutes sending James Wykes up front. Connor Furmidge met a 74th minute Aedan Coode corner but saw his header parried away by visiting keeper Mike Edgar. A lifeline for the Yachtsmen came in the 75th minute when Jack Barsdell broke down the right before pulling the ball back to Connor Furmidge whose clever little flick found DARREN WILLIAMS at the far post. His header was blocked by keeper Mike Edgar but the second attempt hit a defender on the line and bounced up into the roof of the net before being cleared. Fifteen minutes to find an equaliser for the home side. However it was Portland who nearly added to their goal tally in the 38th minute when substitute Greg Borthwick saw his shot saved at the 2nd attempt by Ed Hatt. Portland were clearly wasting time at every opportunity and were allowed to do it by the Referee. In one incident Jack Barsdell allegedly threw the ball at the visiting Manager which sparked off a unsightly incident that had subs on the pitch as well. Once things died down Referee Antony Cross only showed yellow cards to Franklyn Clarke(Portland Manager), sub keeper Josh Lucas and to Cowes’ Jack Barsdell, all of whom could easily have seen red. Max Coshell was also shown yellow shortly after as well. Five minutes into added on time and Cowes won a corner. Even Ed Hatt went forward. Aedan Coode swung the corner in from in front of the clubhouse and Ed Hatt got his head to the ball sending it towards goal where JAKE WATSON managed to get a touch to send the ball into the net for an equalising goal and break the hearts of Portland’s players.

The point gained takes the Yachtsmen to 18 points for the season and keeps them in 11th place in the table. When was the last time a Cowes side had so many points at this stage of the season?? Maybe 2005/06 when they remained unbeaten till the end of November perhaps??