Ringwood Town 5 Cowes Sports 0

The Yachtsmen kicked off this season’s FA Cup campaign at Ringwood on Friday night and were well beaten by an impressive side who will surely be one of the favourites to win the Wessex League Division 1 title come next May.

Manager Steve Taylor sprang a number of surprises when his line-up was revealed, keeping faith with his youngsters at the expense of some more experienced squad members.

Dan Ross had a couple of early chances, but was unable to find the target and Cowes were punished after 14 minutes when a right wing corner curled in and under the crossbar at the unattended far post.  A few minutes later, Craig Insley misjudged a long ball and left a Ringwood striker a simple chance to increase the lead.  Ross had another chance as he ran clear but the home leeper came out to block his shot.

Cowes soon found themselves further behind after a frantic goalmouth scramble, the ball eventually being headed in at the far post. With half-time approaching it got even worse for the visitors as Ringwood swept down the left, the resulting cross being tapped in at the far post.

Kurt Butt and Steve Perfect were sacrificed at the break and the introduction of Ashley Brett and Harry Dye gave Cowes some stability and Jamie Dyer almost reduced the arrears with a diving header that was pushed around the post.  Cowes keeper Chris Norris was feeling groggy after a first half knock, but had to stay on as Gareth Bricknell was in a worse state and was replaced by Craig Thomas.

With 15 minutes left, Ringwood got their fifth and final goal with another far post tap in.  Cowes kept battling however, Craig Thomas seeing a decent effort cleared off the line and Lee Davies’s cross-shot flashing past the far post as they made a vain attempt to secure a consolation goal.

Cowes Sports: C. Norris, S. Perfect, C. Insley, S. Yelland, K. Butt, S.Augustus,, L. Davies, G. Bricknell, D. Ross, M. Herbert, J. Dyer.

Substitutes: A. Brett, H. Dye, T. Dye, M. Jones, D. Thurman.