Tuesday February 8th                    The WESSEX League – Premier Division


played at Westwood Park                    Kick Off – 19:45                   Attendance – 165

Referee:- Anthony Cross                               Assistants – Alistair Taylor & Chris Cass

Promotion chasing Brockenhurst were the visitors to Westwood Park for Cowes’ final midweek home League match. Any thoughts that the visitors might rest a few players with their FA Vase last 16 tie coming up at the weekend were unfounded as a strong starting XI were brought to the Island. Once again four changes for the home side from the XI that earned a point at a windy Portland the previous Saturday saw John McKie, Gareth Bricknell, James Flux and Ewan Cranwell come into the starting XI whilst Aedan Coode, Joseph Adams, Ji Nash and Max Coshell all dropped to the bench where they were joined by Darren Williams, back in the squad for the first time since the end of October after a knee injury.

Team:- COWES SPORTS – Edward HATT, Conor WHITE, Jimmy MUMFORD, Henry WEST, Jake WATSON, James FLUX, Finley PHILLIPS (c), Ewan CRANWELL (64), Gareth BRICKNELL, John McKIE (44), Jack BARSDELL (60)

Subs – Ji NASH (44), Darren WILLIAMS (60), Aedan COODE (64)

If Cowes had any thoughts of repeating their last mid week result(their 2 – 0 win over Baffins MR) then the Badgers soon put paid to that as two goals in a minute, 5th and 6th almost finished the game before it had started. As early as the 5th minute right winger KIERAN O’DONNELL was given too much time and space and made Cowes pay as he curled  the ball into the right corner of Ed Hatt’s goal to give third placed Brockenhurst the lead. Within a minute that advantage was doubled as top score SILVANO OBENG buried a second goal through the legs of keeper Ed Hatt. That was bad enough for the Yachtsmen but they were lucky not to find themselves three down on 11 minutes as Mitchell Speechley-Price saw his curling effort from the left edge of the box beat Ed Hatt but Conor White was back on the goal line to clear the ball away. Having been stunned by the early onslaught slowly the Yachtsmen began to see more of the ball and cause a few problems themselves. On 22 minutes a Jack Barsdell cross from the left had visiting keeper James Mayo gathering the ball just in front of Gareth Bricknell. A dangerous 29th minute cross from John McKie was headed away by a defender for a corner from which Gareth Bricknell’s ball into the near post was headed against the visitors crossbar by Henry West. Minutes later a Finley Phillips free kick from just outside the right edge of the box was swung in and John McKie headed on towards the back post where Henry West tried to clip the ball back into the danger area only to see James Mayo catch the ball under his crossbar. Kieran O’Donnell’s free kick on 39 minutes had Silvano Obeng stretching but he could not get enough to get the ball on target as it bounced off him and over the bar. The home side then suffered a blow seconds before half time when John McKie got a whack around the eye and after a bit of onfield treatment was forced off looking very groggy to be replaced by Ji Nash. It was not clear if the challenge on John had been a deliberate elbow around the eye area or just a pure accident. H-t 0 – 2 

Six minutes into the second half and the game as a contest was settled. A cross into the Cowes box found its way just beyond the far post where KIERAN O’DONNELL was unmarked to lash the ball past Ed Hatt hitting a defender on the line trying to clear before ending in the back of the net. To try and find a way back into the game Darren Williams (back from a knee injury sustained back in October) came off the bench to replace Jack Barsdell. The sub immediately fed Finley Phillips whose low shot was saved by the visiting keeper. Ewan Cranwell was then replaced by Aedan Coode but within a minute Brockenhurst were given the chance to add a fourth goal when Jimmy Mumford brought down Kieran O’Donnell in the box, but the Brock’ winger picked himself up to take the spot kick only to see Ed Hatt superbly save and deny him his hat trick. Gareth Bricknell then became the first and only booking of the game on 73 minutes when he brought down left back Ronan Moore who squealed as he went down as though serious injured, but off course once the yellow card had been shown he was up and running very easily. Christie Ward was then replaced by Toby Colmer on 76 minutes. Ji Nash saw his effort fly over the bar before Victor Lecar  came on for Mitchell Speechley-Price for the New Forest side. Following a Cowes attack that was cleared by the visitors on 85 minutes SILVANO OBENG received the ball just inside his own half in front of the stand, with Cowes short of numbers at the back he raced towards goal but seemed to miss the chance as he dillied and dallied with the ball before eventually slipping it past Ed Hatt into the left side of the goal. The final act of the game saw youngster Oliver Hicks come on for Kieran O’Donnell for the mainlanders as they took all three points home with them which moves them level on points with Horndean with a game in hand whilst the home side stay in 16th level on points with Alresford and a point ahead of Portland.