The View from the Bar 

  Hell’s bells, that AFC Bournemouth side were a bit good, eh? I texted one absent Cowes supporter afterwards to let him know how things had gone – it’s not often you write along the lines of ‘Lost 0-7 – we played really well’, but the truth of it is, we did play well with a depleted side against a really, really impressive team. Had we turned in a display like we did against Bournemouth in the Vase, for example, I think the visitors would probably have been into double figures by half-time.

  That first goal? Wow! I can’t remember the last time a goal from the visitors drew applause like that from the Westwood crowd, and that was only from those not too stunned to clap. In truth, there were three or four strikes that would, under normal circumstances, be in contention for goal of the season up here.

  And it’s not like there weren’t a few moments of excitement for the home crowd. At 2-0 down Jimmy had a great chance, and we also had decent claims for a penalty turned down. Could a goal then have made all the difference? In all likelihood, no, but it would have been nice to register against the current HSC holders, who didn’t ease up one bit and were resolutely professional throughout (a bit too professional in the case of their number 6, who’s win-at-all-costs attitude got a bit grating when he was loudly berating the officials over the most inconsequential of decisions, even when seven goals ahead. But complaints would be churlish – regardless of the result it was a pleasure to see such a quality team (including several players who have turned out for AFC Bournemouth 1st Team) playing up here.

  Definitely the loudest cheer of the night was reserved for Jamie Linnington’s stunning penalty save early in the second half, a real moment to savour for the young keeper and the 250-strong home crowd. It would be great if we could reach that figure again this season.

  Now, sit down before you read this, but believe it or not I actually managed to break my duck and go to the mainland last Saturday for the first time in over eighteen months. I had a rare opportunity to take nipper to an away game, so over to Hamble Club we trundled for my first ever visit there (and nipper’s first-ever away fixture). He was well excited, although I think this was largely down to the variety of different foods he could badger me for during the course of the trip. The frankly massive hot-dog served up by Hamble Club kept him quiet for about ten minutes, but then he was straight back on it, exploring the options available in the clubhouse. Boy can he put it away!

  As for the game itself – the first half was very even, if anything we had the better of it, and after conceding a sloppy opener the leveller from Connor was richly deserved (and very well taken). The number of chances we spurned didn’t bode well, though, and in the second half Hamble Club upped their game just enough to actually enjoy the bulk of possession and score a couple while limiting us to just a handful of forays forward. Disappointing, but a great day out nonetheless. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to clubs doing online-only programmes though. Harrumph. Otherwise, it was a real pleasure, and a very friendly club to boot.

  A couple of big games for us coming up as we look to put the recent string of defeats behind us – home to Portland today then away to Christchurch next Saturday – both against sides whose customary strong form seems to have deserted them at the start of this season. I’ve no doubt we’ll have to be at our best to get anything from them though, so get behind the lads and let’s see if we can get back to winning ways.

  Enjoy the game.

           Toby

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