The View from the Bar 

  Well, mixed emotions about Tuesday night. As the crowd filed out Steve Mumford said to me “you’d have taken a draw before the start”, and he was right, but the point we did indeed gain was somewhat bittersweet after we’d played so well and defended so valiantly, and worn down an impressive Fareham side to the point where we had a good number of chances as the game progressed (and, let’s not forget, taken the lead with a cracking goal before being denied what looked a stonewall penalty…)

  Hopes weren’t high after Fareham took a 23rd minute lead, but Darren Williams’ smart finish within a minute put us back on level terms and all of a sudden the visitors knew they were in for a proper battle. It’s easy to see how The Creeksiders have made such a strong start to the season, but they met the most resilient, stubborn and committed response from our lads and it was just fantastic to watch. Ed played a blinder to help keep them out, topped off with the magnificent penalty save in (what we thought were) the dying seconds. Up came the Fareham keeper for the resultant corner, and there was a grim inevitability about the goal that followed (although, unlike the previous Saturday, the keeper wasn’t directly involved). We can’t begrudge Fareham though, they were well worth a point – it was just heart-breaking after such a great display from Cowes. Full marks to Fareham for this, though – they were understandably delighted to claw back a last-gasp point, but they celebrated together and didn’t feel the need to large it in front of the Cowes support or rub our noses in it. I have a lot of respect for them for that.

  The decision that robbed Cowes of a penalty when we were 2-1 up still smarts, though. Especially when people much closer than me confirmed that Ji did receive a hefty push in the back as he bore down on goal. The yellow card for ‘diving’ added insult to injury. We just don’t seem to be getting the penalty decisions, at either end, going in our favour at the moment. Awarded and converted that would have wrapped the game up for us. Oh well…

  Brilliant crowd on Tuesday evening. 212 – the first Wessex League crowd we’ve had over 200 in a good while (apart from a couple of derbies). Heck of a roar when Ji Nash’s goal went in towards the end too – I bumped into a friend of mine who lives in the town the next day and he said it was loud and clear where he was. I love that – it’s nice to remind folks we’re here. Things like the posters in shops help do that too – there’s plenty of people who rarely or never come to Westwood who ask me (and I’m sure others) about the club and how we’re getting on. It’s that kind of embedding in the community that really helps give us sound footings for things like sponsorship, advertising and, of course, turnstile clicks. I don’t doubt that that roar on Tuesday will put a few on the gate today. So get out there and talk about the club and, where you can, bring a mate or two along as well – let’s see if we can get a few more gates over the 200 mark this season…

  Bit of a daunting task ahead this afternoon as Horndean – title favourites and with a 100% record away from home – come to town. Good news though, I think I *may* have struck a deal with Horndean general manager Mick Catlin that if I put a certain tune by local heroes Plastic Mermaids on the tannoy before the game then Horndean will give us a goal start. Might take a bit of work to square it with the ref (and the rest of the Horndean contingent, come to that…) but a deal’s a deal though, right?

  I massively enjoyed meeting up with Mick and a few of his pals when Plastic Mermaids played a show at Porchfield Cricket Club this summer. I hate the word ‘banter’, but we did enjoy some good-natured mickey-taking about our mutual footballing lives along the way. It’s easy to forget sometimes that the opposition are more-or-less an exact replica of ourselves – the passions we have and the time we put in to our respective clubs – just wearing different colours, that’s all.

  But enough of such niceties, I’m sure the gloves will be off come 3 o’clock – and that’s exactly the way it should be.

  Enjoy the game.

           Toby.

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