Sydenhams Football League

Division 1 — Saturday January 3rd 2015

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COWES SPORTS    5 – 3  NEW MILTON TOWN

Attendance:- 110

For the first game of the New Year, Cowes Sports welcomed New Milton Town too Westwood Park for what on paper would be a very closely fought match, the two sides lying in fourth and fifth respectively in the League table. The visitors had already beaten the Yachtsmen back in November in the Russell Cotes Cup(2-1).

Cowes Manager Richie Woodburn named an unchanged starting XI, although two changes were made to the subs bench, Ollie Wilson and keeper Will Hunt replaced Joe Phelps(suspended) and James Butt. With New Milton Town Manager, Callum Brooks not in attendance due too illness, stand in, Connor Natella’s starting XI was missing top-scorer Kabba Jack and central defender Sam Davidson, both suspended by the club having been sent off in the defeat at home to Hythe & Dibden the previous Saturday.

Just as in the previous home game the crowd were treated to a goal within two minutes of the start. This time however it was the Yachtsmen who scored when a Joe Adams corner from the Cowes left was headed home by unmarked RYAN GREGORY, his fourth of the season, for a perfect start to the New Year. Confidence grew in the home side with John McKie looking to be nearly back to his best form. In the 4th minute it was he who attacked the New Milton defence before pulling the ball back to Tom Scovell who saw his shot blocked and Nathan Lewis’s follow up shot well saved by Tom Jackson in the visitors goal. Early Cowes pressure continued when Max Draper gave the ball to Gareth Bricknell who in turn sent the ball into their box where Jared Wetherick headed down to Lee Davies, his attempted shot fell to John McKie whose effort hit the post as Cowes looked to add to their early goal. On a greasy surface and with light rain falling throughout Cowes were playing some great football, good crisp passing at a very high tempo, Joe Adams was next to try his luck from 35 yards but his shot flew over the bar. The visitors finally made tracks of their own and Manny Ohameje sent a shot across the area that went for a goal kick to the home side. On 24 minutes Lee Davies split their defence with a superb through ball to John McKie but young keeper Tom Jackson made an excellent save at the expense of a corner for the home team. Three minutes later and the lead was doubled when a cross from the left saw Lee Davies completely miss the ball, but just behind him was JARED WETHERICK to thump home number two for the Island side. Within the space of three minutes the Islanders could of had a hat trick, first John McKie had a chance in the 34th minute as he was slipped in by another through ball, but his delicate chip, that looked like it was heading for the net was somehow finger tipped over the bar for a corner by their outstanding keeper, who incidentally has come up through their Youth system, still only being 18 yo. Two minutes later John McKie broke down the left before setting up Lee Davies who fired over the bar from close range under challenge from a defender. Then in the 37th minute another John McKie goal bound shot was saved. Cowes were then caught by the sucker punch when New Milton broke in the 40th minute and JACK DICKSON rounded Ed Hatt to slot in the visitors first goal of the game. Two minutes later and Cowes were two ahead again, the luckless John McKie saw his effort blocked by a defender, the rebound fell nicely to TOM SCOVELL who nonchalantly lobbed the ball over the keeper, who was off his line, into the left corner of his goal. A minute before the break and another John McKie effort was blocked and rebounded off him for a goal kick before they broke and Ed Hatt had to be at his best to save at the expense of a corner. A great first half from both sides in difficult conditions surely could not be repeated in the second half??

H-t 3 – 1

With everyone having just about got their breathe back the second half got under way. It took a little while for both sides to settle again, but once it got going again the sides were going hammer and tongs at each other, excellent work from Lee Davies again saw John McKie with a chance to find the goal and his wonderfully executed curling effort looked certain to add number four for Cowes, but again Tom Jackson made a brilliant save to tip the ball over the bar. However from the resulting 56th minute corner JARED WETHERICK added Cowes’ fourth goal from inside the six yard box and ten minutes later John McKie’s cross from the left was pushed away by their keeper but only to LEE DAVIES to fire home number five. However if Cowes thought that was job done, New Milton had other ideas. Substitute Robbie Woolner was sent on and he started causing the Cowes defence some problems. A quick break by the visitors in the 68th minute saw Ed Hatt come off his line which presented MORGAN TURNER with the ideal opportunity to lob the ball over the Cowes keeper into the empty net and give them a glimmer of hope. That was improved in the 73rd minute when substitute ROBBIE WOOLNER curled in from 22 yards that gave Ed Hatt no chance and brought the visitors back to within two goals. New Milton were pressing hard and from a 78th minute corner Robbie Woolner saw his header across the goal pushed away by Ed Hatt, but Referee ruled that it was a goal kick. Twice in the final moments of the game Ed Hatt showed that he too can keep his side ahead with two fantastic saves to deny New Milton any further goals and secure all three points for the home side.

THE HOLIDAY SHOP & A L S TRAVEL “Man of the Match” —  JOHN MCKIE

Team:- Ed Hatt, Max Draper, Nathan Lewis, Ryan Gregory, Craig Insley capt, Tom Scovell, Joe Adams(Jez Conway 72), Gareth Bricknell bkd(Oliver Wilson 57), John McKie bkd(Jimmy Wykes 77), Jared Wetherick, Lee Davies, Subs not used; Jason Ince + Will Hunt

Referee:-   Steve Currie       Assistants – John Hopkinson + Dave Gregory