Saturday January 15th           The WESSEX League – Premier Division


played at Westwood Park                   Kick Off – 15:00              Attendance – 130

Referee:- ADRIAN BERRY                      Assistants – Gary Cash + Jamie Saltzer

Another home fixture for the Yachtsmen saw Alresford Town visit Westwood Park with the visitors sitting 3 points above the Island side in the table. Cowes welcomed back Ewan Cranwell and Jason Malcolmson who along with Gareth Bricknell were drafted into the staring line up in place of Josh Appell, Scott McFarlane(injured) and Finley Phillips (recovering from Covid).

Team:- COWES SPORTS – Edward HATT, Conor WHITE, Jason MALCOLMSON (72), Ewan CRANWELL, Jake WATSON, James FLUX, Jimmy MUMFORD, Gareth BRICKNELL (79), Connor FURMIDGE (56), John McKIE (c), Ji NASH

Subs:- Finley PHILLIPS (56), Aedan COODE (72), Jez CONWAY (79)

A cagey start from both side in their first meeting for two seasons due to the curtailment of previous seasons. First chance fell to the home side in the 9th minute when a through ball from James Flux found John McKie bearing down on the Alresford goal only to be denied by a last ditch tackle at the expense of a corner. The resulting corner from the Cowes right to the far post saw Jake Watson’s goal bound volley cleared from close to the visitors goal line. A 50/50 challenge for the ball with Alresford keeper Callum Smart saw John McKie shown a yellow card in the 15th minute. The next chance came on the half hour and fell to the visitors when a Mike Gosney free kick rebounded off the defensive wall to James Parker-Trott whose shot flew just wide of target. A couple of minutes before the break a dangerous ball across the face of the Cowes goal looked as though a simple tap in but a great tackle by Gareth Bricknell to send the ball out for a corner. H-t 0 – 0 

Cowes started the second half brightly and in the 48th minute a cross come shot from Ji Nash had Callum Smart struggling to push away for a corner. On 56 minutes Connor Furmidge was replaced by Finley Phillips. A couple of minutes later and a Ji Nash free kick from wide on the Cowes right was swung into the area and Gareth Bricknell saw his glancing header come off the keepers right hand upright before James Flux fired over the bar. Marcio Neves then replaced George Windsor for the visitors. Cowes again threatened in the 61st minute when Ji Nash played in John McKie who clipped it over the advancing keeper only to see the ball go narrowly wide of the goal. A typical sucker punch for Cowes as Alresford took the lead on 64 minutes with what looked like an offside goal which was not clearly seen by the Assistant. John McKie then volleyed over the bar before Magpie keeper Callum Smart escaped punishment when tripping Gareth Bricknell close to the bye line. On 69 minutes a neat through ball saw Jimmy Mumford through with only the keeper to beat he rounded the keeper who the brought him down, the penalty was given but amazingly the keeper again escaped being shown what should have been a second yellow. Skipper JOHN MCKIE stepped up and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way to score a deserved equaliser. Alresford took Sam Steel off replacing him with Audriy Demira. Cowes replaced Jason Malcolmson with Aedan Coode (72) and Gareth Bricknell with Jez Conway (79) to give a bit of impetus up front. Cowes were pressing hard for a second goal and John McKie saw his dipping effort skim off the top of the crossbar on 79 minutes. Final sub of the afternoon for the Magpies saw Rhys Taylor come off and Sam Vidler come on for the final ten minutes. For the second time in as many minutes John McKie saw his header hit the crossbar and bounce down on the line before being cleared away for a corner. The last chances of the game fell to the visitors as Ed Hatt saved a low shot from sub Marcio Neves before , in stoppage time the Cowes keeper made a brilliant save to push the ball over the bar from the same player to ensure the points were shared on the day. A good competitive game from both sides on a sticky pitch.