SYDENHAMS FOOTBALL LEAGUE Division 1 – Saturday 7th December
COWES SPORTS 3 – 2 ANDOVER TOWN
With the Yachtsmen having taken only two points from twelve, and Andover Town had comprehensively beaten Cowes back in October(3 – 0), the home side knew that they would had to be at their very best if they were going to get any thing from this match against the current League leaders and came into the game on the back of ten victories in their last eleven league matches.
Manager RICHIE WOODBURN forced into changes, with Ed Hatt suspended and Peter Bradley working new signing William Hunt came in for his Wessex League debut, Aidan Bryan returned at center half in place of Charlie Allen( injured shoulder) and Jared Wetherick replaced Oliver Wilson. A couple of positional changes were made as well from the side that had drawn at Hayling United.
Stepping up from Island League football is never easy for any player let alone a keeper and to be thrown in at the deep end against the top side makes it even more difficult. Imagine Will Hunts thoughts after just nine minutes when a ‘cross’ from Andover Towns LLOYD FOOT flat footed Will and crept inside his left hand upright to give the visitors the lead. Those who had witnessed the October defeat thought another drubbing was on the cards, but credit to the team as they battled their way back into the game and drew level in the 20th minute when a JOHN MCKIE free kick from 25 yards hit a defender in the wall diverting the ball into the Andover goal despite the efforts of keeper Jake Wallesley-Davies. Cowes, however, were only on level terms for two minutes as a ball to the far edge of the Cowes area found TOM RIDDELL, he cut back inside before firing the ball past Will Hunt into the net to restore their lead. Again Cowes responded well with John McKie in particular causing most of the problems. Twice within a minute (24 + 25)John had shots at goal, the first was well saved by their keeper whilst the second effort hit a defender which took the sting out of the shot making it an easy save. Just before half time John McKie fired a shot wide of goal before a similar fate for Andover’s Tom Riddell at the other end. Nathan Lewis then ran at the visitors defence before forcing the keeper to save to his right.
H-t 1 – 2
The Island side were desperate to get back on level terms and within three minutes of the start of the second half they were level once again. A free kick from inside the Cowes half was headed on by Darren Williams, who was having one of his best games of the season, to JARED WETHERICK who got the ball under control before superbly curling his shot beyond the out stretched hands of Jake Wallesley-Davies and into the left side of his goal, much to the delight of the Cowes supporters. Shortly after Andover should have regained the lead for a third time when Lloyd Foot set up Michael Dixon, but he could only lift the ball over Will Hunt and the crossbar much to the relief of all connected with Cowes. Nathan Lewis had been given a man marking job to do on their influential skipper Lewis Benson, he was certainly doing a fantastic job as Benson was rather quiet in the second half.
The home side were starting to believe that they could match the League Leaders in every department and a positive result could be gained. Cowes pushed hard to get that all important third goal whilst the ever dependable Craig Insley and Aidan Bryan mopped up everything that Andover could throw at them.
Darren Williams won the ball in midfield, played it to Jordan Browne who in turn sent it to Jared Wetherick, he turned his marker but sent his shot just wide of the Andover goal. In the 77th minute substitute Oliver Wilson challenged Alex Dockree near the half way line sending the ball down the Cowes right, under no pressure Town’s Cole Hinchcliffe rolled it back towards his keeper, JOHN MCKIE pounced to intercept before clipping the ball past the keeper, it seemed that time stood still as the ball slowly made it’s way goal-wards before hitting the far post and rolling into the goal to send Westwood Park delirious and Cowes into the lead for the first time in the contest. For the remainder of the game neither side gave an inch, the closest we came to any more goals was late on when an Andover free kick was headed onto the outside of the left hand post and out for a corner. Referee Michael Ballard finally blew his whistle for the final time to give Cowes a much needed win and a terrific boost to their confidence for the fixtures ahead.
Photos taken by ADAM PEARSON
TEAM:- William Hunt, Keelan Sainsbury, Ryan Gregory, Aidan Bryan, Craig Insley capt, Nathan Lewis(bkd), Joe Phelps(bkd)(Ross Gregory 65), Darren Williams( Oliver Wilson(bkd) 70), Jared Wetherick, Jordan Browne, John McKie, Sub not used; Richie Woodburn.
REFEREE:- MICHAEL BALLARD Assistants – Derek Hughes + Richard Wetherick