Saturday December 11th          The WESSEX League – Premier Division

COWES SPORTS  4 (1) 1 (1)  ALTON

played at Westwood Park                       Kick Off – 15:00                  Attendance – 110

Referee:- JAMES COLLEY                                  Assistants Gary Cash + Jack Doncom

Team:- COWES SPORTS – Edward HATT, Max COSHELL, Jimmy MUMFORD, Mitchell RICKETTS, Jake WATSON, Scott McFARLANE (69), Finley PHILLIPS (c), Jack BARSDELL (64), Connor FURMIDGE, John McKIE (79), Ji NASH

Subs:- Conor WHITE (64), Aedan COODE (69), Rafferty BOYD-KERR (79)

Cowes Sports welcomed promoted side Alton to Westwood Park for the first League meeting since 2009/10 season when the visitors were Alton Town. It was the visiting Secretary’s first visit to Cowes though one of the travelling guests had played at Westwood back in the 80’s.  The pitch was quite wet before the game following heavy rain a couple of days previous and the second half of the game was played in steady rain but the pitch held up very well given the wet conditions.

Four changes to the starting line up saw Mitchell Ricketts replace Jez Conway, John McKie returned to the wing and Connor Furmidge came in as the central striker with Jack Barsdell dropping into midfield. Conor White returned to the bench after missing 12 games through injury and was joined by Aedan Coode, Jez Conway, sub keeper Owen Denness and 17 year old Rafferty Boyd-Kerr.

Cowes started the match determined to put last weekends poor show at Portchester well to the back of everyone’s mind. An early 6th minute shot across the face of goal from John McKie drifted wide of target. Ten minutes in and the same player was put through on goal by Finley Phillips. Credit though to Alton keeper Edward Lang who made himself big to block the Cowes striker’s effort. From the resulting corner the keeper was forced to save on the goal line a Ji Nash header. Finally the Islanders got the breakthrough in the 15th minute when a fine ball down the left from Jimmy Mumford sent Ji Nash in behind the visitors back line, as the keeper came out to narrow the angle Ji slipped the ball inside to the edge of the box for JOHN McKIE to side foot into the empty net. Alton responded and on 22 minutes forward George Bowerman headed over the crossbar, but they did not haver to wait long for an equaliser. On 24 minutes a long throw from the far side skimmed off Jake Watson’s head to the left side of the goal where STEVE BLACK tapped home from 4 yards. Cowes nearly regained the lead on 34 minutes when Finley Phillips found John McKie on the right and his early cross picked out Ji Nash at the back post but the angle was tight and he fired into the side netting. H-t 1 – 1 

As the players came out for the second half so the fine rain started and continued for the rest of the game. Cowes though did not let the conditions stop them. They pressed hard and limited Alton to very little possession and Ed Hatt was a virtual spectator throughout the half. In the 54th minute Cowes won a corner which skipper Finley Phillips floated in from in front of the clubhouse, SCOTT McFARLANE rose the highest to head home from six yards to restore the Cowes lead. Cowes replaced Jack Barsdell with Conor White in the 64th minute. Three minutes later and the home side were 3 – 1 up. Connor Furmidge headed on a long clearance and JOHN McKIE just beat their keeper to the ball but was forced wide of goal, but the top scorer made it look easy as he got control of the ball and from a tight angle placed the ball into the left corner of the Alton net. Aedan Coode then came on for the tiring Scott McFarlane on 69 minutes. Moments later and a fourth was nearly added as Edward Lang spread himself well to deny Connor Furmidge. Playing with confidence Cowes looked hungry and in the 79th minute John McKie looked as though he had completed his hat trick when he beat their keeper, but his effort cannoned off the right hand post and was cleared. Manager Max Draper decided John needed a rest so off he came and on came debutant 17 year old Rafferty Boyd-Kerr. Alton by this time were being battered. Finley Phillips’ shot from some 30 yards had their keeper at full stretch to push the ball round the post. The resulting corner saw Connor Furmidge ‘s low angled shot again blocked away for a corner by the keeper. This time the corner was cleared by the defence  but only to Aedan Coode 30 yards from goal he cut inside a little and fired a shot in the crashed off the crossbar and found JI NASH on hand to volley into the top right corner of the goal from seven yards. Cowes easily saw out the remaining eight minutes to complete a stunning victory against ninth placed Alton thus moving themselves onto 25 points in 14th in the table.

Lets hope that all are available next week and another good performance can be had at U S Portsmouth. That is what Manager Max Draper and coach Alex Smith are striving for from the team, a bit more consistency.