Sunday October 31st Kick Off – 14:00
HAMPSHIRE COMBINATION & DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE U18 – League Cup
played at Winchester Castle Ground Referee :- GLENN ANNETT
Team:- COWES SPORTS U18 – Sol CARSON, Finley CRACKNELL, Daniel JOHNSON, Rowenn CHURCHILL, Billy BACKSHALL, Josh ANNETT, Teddy MUMFORD, Jamie TROWBRIDGE, Kyle KILROY, Cory SANDERSON (c), Harry SYMES, Sub:- Dan DRUDGE
Cowes Sports U18 were originally drawn at home for this League Cup tie, but due to pitch unavailability were forced to concede that advantage. Heavy rain during the preceding days meant that even Winchester had to find another pitch with their home pitch at Winchester College not fit. Eventually the game was played at Winchester Castle’s home ground though not on the main pitch but on a smaller one next to it. Also Cowes’ Glenn Annett was asked to Referee the game as no one could be found from the local area. Cowes travelled to the game with several regulars unavailable mainly due to work commitments, so new signings Sol Carson(keeper) and Dan Drudge came into the squad whilst Finley Cracknell and Josh Annett were handed first starts.
The young Yachtsmen could not have got off to a worse start as they took kick off and found themselves a goal behind within 12 seconds as they were caught napping by the home side. It could have been worse on 3 minutes when a cross into the Cowes box hit the hand of Rowenn Churchill and a penalty was awarded, but Winchester’s striker placed the ball the wrong side of Sol Carson’s goal so the Islanders remained just one down. Credit to the young Yachtsmen as they fought their way back into the game and deservedly levelled in the 16th minute when a long clearance saw the home keeper racing out but as the keeper failed to gather the ball KYLE KILROY took full advantage to roll the ball into the unguarded net. Kicking with a strong wind behind their backs Winchester continued to push forward but the number 9 added top his woes by missing a couple of good chances. Winchester retook the lead in the 27th minute when the impressive number 7 headed home from a corner. He then saw another effort cannon off the right hand upright in the 31st minute. The Islanders then stunned the home side by once again equalising in the 32nd minute when Rowen Churchill’s free kick was not dealt with by the home defence and KYLE KILROY’S superb bicycle kick found the left side of the home goal. Again though some poor defending cost the Yachtsmen as number seven was allowed to cross in the 36th minute and number 11 headed the home side back into the lead. Shortly before half time and a fourth goal was added when again a mistake in defence allowed 11 to cross for a simple tap in by 9 who finally got an effort on target. H-t 4 – 2
With the wind now at their backs Cowes pushed forward from the start of the second half and Jamie Trowbridge went close to pulling a goal back in the 50th minute when his shot had the home keeper scrambling across his goal and just managing to turn the ball away for a corner. In the 54th minute Cowes were handed a way back into the game when Kyle Kilroy was fouled in the Winchester area and JAMIE TROWBRIDGE stepped up to slot the spot kick home. Although the Island side pushed hard to find the equaliser Winchester defended quite well to deny any clear sight of goal. In the 81st minute a free kick to the home side about 22yards from goal saw keeper Sol Carson save well. In the final minute of the game the result was confirmed as their 7 got to the bye line and crossed leaving their substitute with an easy header from three yards to score a fifth and decisive goal for Winchester and send them through to the next round on the League Cup.
Given the number of important players that were missing, a creditable performance from the Young Yachtsmen and certainly gives hope for a positive result when the sides meet in the League in December.