Saturday March 19th                       The WESSEX League – Premier Division


played at Westwood Park                      Kick Off – 15:00                 Attendance – 102

Referee – Adam Hillier                                Assistants – Ben Orton & Jamie Saltzer

Cowes Sports came into this fixture knowing their Premier Division status was secure for another season, however opponents Christchurch could still be caught by Hythe & Dibden in the race for survival.

Once again Max Draper was forced into making changes as Max Coshell and George Holmes were unavailable, Jake Watson was added to the injured list and Joe Adams was rested, so in came James Flux , Josh Appell, Ji Nash and Jez Conway to the starting XI whilst it was good to see youngsters Billy Backshall,  Ben Tickner and Harrison Dempsey join Tommy Jackson and Scott McFarlane on the bench.

Team:- COWES SPORTS – Edward HATT, Jack BARSDELL, James WYKES (68), Henry WEST, Jez CONWAY, James FLUX, Josh APPELL, Jimmy MUMFORD (62), Darren WILLIAMS, Gareth BRICKNELL (c), Ji NASH (62)

Subs:- Scott McFARLANE (62), Ben TICKNER (62), Harrison DEMPSEY (68), unused, Billy BACKSHALL & Tommy JACKSON

The first quarter of an hour was very dull and in all honesty set the tone for the rest of the game. The first action came in the 17th minute when a long throw into the Christchurch box was laid back by Gareth Bricknell to Jack Barsdell whose 25 yard effort was tipped over the bar by Miles Bartram in the ‘Church goal. A strong wind blowing across the pitch did not help the players with control of the ball but then if you stick it in the air then what is to be expected. On 20 minutes Jack Barsdell sent a free kick from 20 yards with the outside of his right foot fizzing past the outside of the right hand post of the visitors goal. Ji Nash then tried his luck from distance on 28 minutes but his low shot was saved. Eventually  something to cheer about as Cowes took the lead in the 35th minute when JEZ CONWAY fired into the left corner of the net from just outside the ‘D’ much to the delight of the 102 crowd. However the joy was short lived as from the restart Christchurch found LUKA CHALWELL on the left edge of the Cowes area and he fired across Ed Hatt into the right side of the Cowes goal to equalise within a minute. So two goals within a minute but very little else in the first half as the teams went into half time level and the crowd were left to hope for a better second half. H-t 1 – 1 

The second period kicked off with the crowd anticipating a better half but unfortunately this did not materialise. The first meaningful event came on the hour when the visitors made a substitution, Eder Batista replacing Sam Royston. Two minutes later Cowes responded with a double substitution themselves, Scott McFarlane and Ben Tickner coming on for Ji Nash and Jimmy Mumford. On 19 minutes James Wykes made his way into the left side of the Christchurch area only to be upended by a defender for what looked a clear penalty, Referee Adam Hillier waved away Cowes’ appeals though play was stopped for treatment to the Cowes player which eventually forced James Wykes off the pitch to be replaced by 16 year old Harrison Dempsey for his senior debut. The visitors also made a change as Matty Morris was replaced by Owen Reynolds. The final substitution of the game came on 77 minutes when Ollie Wooley was taken off with Jamal Baxter coming on. In the 79th minute a Christchurch forward fell over just outside the right side of the Cowes area which was adjudge to be a foul and a free kick awarded. Jack Barsdell did not agree with the decision and spoke out of turn and was immediately shown a red card. Just before the end of a dour second half Scott McFarlane was yellow carded for a lunge in their half. Having had plenty to say for himself from the start the visitors Luke Ansell was finally shown a yellow card as the game went into added time which some may suggest could have been a second yellow for his constant questioning of the Officials decisions./