Extra Preliminary Round – Saturday August 15th 2015
MELKSHAM TOWN 2 – 2 COWES SPORTS
Attendance – 114
Cowes Sports hit the road to Wembley with a first ever visit to the Conigre Ground, home of Melksham Town. Due to being unable to change our departure time our hosts for this game kindly agreed to a 15-30 kick off.
With Aidan Sainsbury(attending a wedding), John McKie and Jared Wetherick(both injured) unavailable, Aidan Bryan and Oliver Wilson started allowing Nathan Lewis to move into midfield, Tom Scovell dropping to the bench.
As expected the home side made the early running and created the first chance in the 6th minute when a free kick was flicked into the path of Dan Kovacs(who was clearly offside) who poked his effort wide of Ed Hatt’s goal. Thirteen minutes in and another opportunity for the home side but Gary Higdon headed over the crossbar. The Island side’s first chance came in the 25th minute when Max Draper sent in a free kick which Charlie Smeeton stretched but was unable to get a touch too. Cowes fell behind on the half hour mark in unfortunate circumstances. A Melksham cross into the Cowes area saw the ball bounce around the six yard line before Aidan Bryan attempted to clear, unfortunately the ball hit Jordan Browne before looping back into the goal for an OWN GOAL that the home side probably just about deserved on balance of play. The Islanders responded quite well as Dexter Malin saw his effort across the face of Rob Brown’s goal but the wrong side of the post before the best chance of the half should have seen Cowes level. Charlie Smeeton sent a cross to the back post where Max Draper was free, but sent his header back over the bar.
H-t 1 – 0
Again Cowes should have equalised in the 50th minute when Oliver Wilson sent Dexter Malin down the right, his cross was behind Charlie Smeeton but fell nicely for Jordan Browne who should have hit a first time shot at goal, he tried to control the ball first which allowed a defender to recover and clear for a corner. Cowes survived a scare in the 65th minute when a Melksham corner from the Cowes left Ryan Bennett headed the ball down, but it bounced up and over the bar. Five minutes later a similar corner to the back post was headed back across the goal by Ryan Bennett to GARY HIGDON who headed the ball into the Cowes goal to double the home sides lead. At this point most people in the ground thought the home side would be advancing to the next round, but credit to the Islanders they had other ideas and pressed to get themselves back into the game. A lifeline came in the 83rd minute when substitute, Jason Ince, crossed from in front of the main stand, JORDAN BROWNE challenged for the ball and managed to head home from eight yards. Could the great comeback be on?? Well, to the joy of those connected with Cowes Sports, the equalising goal came four minutes into injury time when a long hopeful ball from Aidan Bryan managed to find JORDAN BROWNE in the middle of the home area, he kept his cool to slot the ball past Rob Brown and bring the scores level at 2 – 2. Referee Alistair Francis still managed to find another four minutes of injury time in which the home side forced a couple of corners which Cowes dealt with to secure a creditable draw, thus setting up a replay back at Westwood Park on Tuesday night(18th August, KO 19:30).
TEAM:- Ed Hatt, Max Draper(Jason Ince 77), Keelan Sainsbury(Jez Conway 77), Aidan Bryan, Steven Russell, Oliver Wilson bkd, Joseph Adams(Thomas Scovell 72), Nathan Lewis capt bkd, Jordan Browne, Dexter Malin, Charlie Smeeton, All subs used.
REFEREE:- ALISTAIR FRANCIS Assistants – Damien Allmark + Stephen McKee