Saturday October 16th            The WESSEX League – Premier Division

COWES SPORTS  3 (2)  v  4 (2)  BASHLEY

played at Westwood Park                     Kick Off – 14:00                    Attendance – 117

Referee:- DAVID MOREY                        Assistants – Mark Robertson + Andrew Jones

Team:- COWES SPORTS – Edward HATT, Max COSHELL (46), James WYKES, Jez CONWAY (42), Callum CHASE (c), Mitchell RICKETTS, Darren WILLIAMS, Jimmy MUMFORD, Connor FURMIDGE (70), Aedan COODE, Ji NASH

Subs:- Jake WATSON (42), George HOLMES (46), Scott McFARLANE (70), unused – Kyle DREW, Owen DENNESS g/k

The first in a run of five consecutive homes games saw the Yachtsmen entertain New Forest side Bashley who had had a great start to the season sitting high up in fifth in the table whilst Cowes Sports were in seventh, so supporters were looking forward to an exciting game. A complete game was expected after the corresponding fixture last season, the last before the December lockdown, was abandoned before half time after a torrential downpour flooded the pitch.

Manager Max Draper made two changes to the starting XI with James Wykes and Jez Conway returning whilst new signing from Shanklin, Kyle Drew was named on the bench though a knock sustained at training would prevent a debut.

A bright start from the home side saw a first minute cross by Aedan Coode was volleyed at Bashley keeper Sammy Thompson by Darren Williams. The New Forest side responded with Ollie Bradley firing over the bar  before a 10th minute cross from Jack Smith was headed straight at Ed Hatt by Brad Morris. On 18 minutes the opening goal for Bashley saw a cross from the Cowes left by JACK SMITH find a way though into the right corner of Ed Hatt’s goal. The visitors Ollie Bradley then went down in the Cowes penalty area trying to con the Referee to get a penalty, but all he received was a yellow card for diving. Cowes nearly equalised in the 26th minute as Sammy Thomson ventured out of his area to the touchline, lost the ball to Connor Furmidge and then tried to foul the Cowes striker, who done well cut inside  before setting up Aedan Coode who saw his goal bound shot cleared off the goal line by a defender. The keeper was yellow carded for his attempt to foul the Cowes forward. Cowes defence was again opened up in the 34th minute when a Jack Smith shot was well blocked by James Wykes but the loose ball fell to HARRY BUNCE who calmly turned and rolled the ball into the goal to put his side well in control. Six minutes later and the Island side were back in the game when a break down the right saw a defender stop the attack, but Jimmy Mumford’s persistence saw him win the ball back, play it across the six yard box where CONNOR FURMIDGE smashed the ball into the goal. A blow for the home side as Jez Conway(illness) had to be replaced by Jake Watson.  Undeterred Cowes fought back and deservedly equalised a minute before half time when a pinpoint  cross from Darren Williams on the right picked out CONNOR FURMIDGE who headed the ball past Sammy Thompson to the delight of the Cowes faithful. So four goals shared in the first half seemed to be a fair reflection on the half. H-t 2 – 2 

Cowes made a change before the second half started as Max Coshell was replaced by George Holmes meaning a slight change of positions. Jimmy Mumford pushed forward and saw his shot deflected for a corner in the 47th minute from which Darren Williams headed over. Bashley broke on 51 minutes as Harry Bunce bore down on goal but Ed Hatt done well to block the shot  and Mitchell Ricketts completed the job by clearing off the line. Bashley replaced Rhys Taylor with River Smith in the 52nd minute. Harry Bunce was causing the Cowes back line problems and in the 61st minute saw his shot blocked by Mitchell Ricketts then a second effort again blocked as Mitchell Ricketts flung himself to the ground to block again seemingly with his back, but Referee Dave Morey blew his whistle and awarded Bashley a penalty saying Mitch had deliberately handled the ball and showed the Cowes defender a yellow card. A very harsh decision that once again went against the Island side. LEWIS ROSS kept his cool to slot home the spot kick to restore the New Foresters lead. Cowes replaced Connor Furmidge with Scott McFarlane for the final twenty minutes before Bashley brought Bue Bennett on in place of Harry Bunce. Having already been booked in the first half Bashley keeper then came to the left edge of his area and appeared to handle the ball outside the box but the Referee reckoned he was inside, so he got away with that. Once again the lads in blue never gave up and on 83 minutes got their reward when a foul close to the Bashley left touchline saw JI NASH curl the free kick over everyone and leave Sammy Thompson flapping as the ball sailed over him into the top right corner of the goal. Unfortunately the Islanders joy was short lived as a low cross from Lewis Ross found BUE BENNETT to score what proved to be the winning goal from close range. Despite their best efforts Cowes could not find a third equaliser as Bashley held on to take the three points, though many said that the performance from the Yachtsmen deserved a share of the points,  but again a controversial decision went against the Island side.