Saturday March 5th 2022                       The WESSEX League – Premier Division


played at The Sunseeker International County Ground   Kick Off – 15:00  Attendance – 95

Referee:- Anthony Cross                      Assistants – Peter Carr & Maxwell Ashley

For the second successive Saturday these two teams locked horns, this time it was Cowes Sports turn to travel to Poole for the game. The home side made two changes from the previous week’s game Jamie Filkins and Jack Lovell dropping to the bench with Jamie Beasley and Steve Devlin coming in. The Yachtsmen mad three changes as Jack Barsdell, Ewan Cranwell and Tommy Jackson started in place of Joe Adams(sub), Gareth Bricknell(Reserves) and James Wykes(away).

Team:- COWES SPORTS – Edward HATT, Jack BARSDELL, Ewan CRANWELL, Henry WEST, Jake WATSON (50), Tommy JACKSON, Finley PHILLIPS (c), Jimmy MUMFORD, Jez CONWAY (56), John McKIE (65), Ji NASH

Subs:- Joseph ADAMS (50), George HOLMES (56), Scott McFARLANE (65)

Following the previous weeks defeat at Westwood Cowes knew it would not be easy in Dorset especially as Hamworthy had only conceded three goals at home all season in the league and just 10 in 21 games in all competitions, Poole Town(Dorset Senior Cup) and Glebe(FA Vase) the only sides to score twice at the Sunseeker County Ground.

Four minutes into the game and the home side had the first chance of the game when Jamie Beasley’s shot was well blocked by Henry West before the rebound to the edge of the area found Eddie Hodge whose shot skimmed off the top of the crossbar. Cowes responded as John McKie clipped a ball over the home defender to Jez Conway who got close to the bye line before blasting the ball across the face of the Hamworthy goal. Steve Devlin then tried his luck from distance which Ed Hatt parried low down before gathering at the 2nd attempt. In the 14th minute the home side took the lead when a ball down the Cowes left was pulled back from the bye line to just outside the Cowes area where EDDIE HODGE fired home. Henry West once again blocked a Jamie Beasley effort in the 20th minute before four minutes later Ji Nash cut in from the right but his left foot shot flew wide of the right hand post. Just before the half hour mark Cowes fell further behind when MAX WILCOX cut back inside on the Cowes left before curling the ball past Ed Hatt’s right hand into the goal. Cowes were back in the game though on 35 minutes when JIMMY MUMFORD pushed forward onto a through ball, it looked like their keeper or defender would clear but the Cowes man managed to get a touch on the ball first to poke it past Shane Murphy just inside his left post. Minutes later a tackle by John McKie saw Drew Ecott-Young carried off after a few minutes delay with an ankle ligament injury. H-t 2 – 1 

The Yachtsmen really should have levelled the scores inn the 49th minute when a ball in from the left found Ji Nash in front of goal but Shane Murphy done well to save and keep his side ahead. A blow for Cowes as Jake Watson was forced off a minute later with a groin injury, Joe Adams coming on and Tommy Jackson dropping into the back line. George Holmes then replaced Jez Conway up front. On the hour the Islanders stunned the home players and crowd when a ball down the right saw Ji Nash close down their left back Chris Clarke and force him to pass the ball back to the keeper, however the pass was short and JOHN MCKIE nipped in and kept his cool to beat the advancing keeper and send the ball into the home goal, thus becoming the first Wessex team this season to score twice in a home game against the hosts. Joe Adams then made a great block on the edge of the Cowes area to deny Lee Francis. Ed Hatt was again in good form and done well to push a Max Wilcox header away for a corner before again saving well from a Cameron Munn shot. Brave defending and some indifferent finishing saw the game go into the final minutes with a draw the likely result but once again a poor decision, this time from the Assistant on the clubhouse side went against the Yachtsmen. A ball into the Cowes area looked to find MAX WILCOX in a clear offside position before he scored a third goal for the home side. No flag was raised by the Official to the surprise of all in the ground, players, Management and home crowd. The Referee, who also thought the player was offside, went to consult his Assistant and ended up giving the goal. Then in the final minute substitute Jack Lovell shoulder barged Tommy Jackson on the right side of the area and as the Cowes player fell he clipped the Hamworthy man who went down and a penalty was given. STEVE DEVLIN stepped up to bury the spot kick and condemn Cowes to defeat. Worse for Cowes as in injury time Finley Phillips was forced to leave the field with an ankle injury that may well keep him out for a few weeks.

Once again Cowes were on the end of a poor decision as even the home supporters had agreed that the third goal should not have stood but then we all know the big decisions always go in favour of the top clubs.

FOOTNOTE:- Back at Westwood the Reserves beat Northwood St Johns 2 – 0 in the Memorial Cup with DARREN WILLIAMS scoring the first goal which made a bit of history for him as it was his 100th goal for Cowes Sports FC. Seventeen yearr old Harrison Dempsey added the second whilst another 17 year old, keeper Owen Denness saved a penalty late on.