Extra Preliminary Round Replay – Tuesday August 18th 2015
COWES SPORTS 3 – 1 MELKSHAM TOWN
Attendance – 118
A first ever visit to Westwood Park for 14-15 Toolstation Premier League Champions, Melksham Town for this Emirates FA Cup replay after a late Jordan Browne double earned the Island side a second chance.
With the visitors making one change to their starting line up, top scorer Dan Kovacs being replaced by Ash Barnett whilst home Manager, Richie Woodburn, named the same starting X1 but had both Aidan Sainsbury and John McKie back on the bench.
The home side were expecting a similar game to Saturday’s with the Wiltshire side playing the long ball game and pumping lots of balls towards the Cowes back-line. They certainly were not disappointed. An early opportunity saw Dexter Malin in on goal but he shot straight at the visitors keeper. A fifth minute shot from the edge of the area by Oliver Wilson saw Rob Brown dive low to his left to push the ball away, CHARLIE SMEETON was the only player to react to smash the ball back into the Melksham net to give the Yachtsmen the start they wanted.
Melksham thought they had equalised in the 12th minute when they had the ball in the Cowes net, but Referee Adrian Harris had blown for a free kick to the home side. The visitors then threatened again when a free kick was headed straight at Ed Hatt by Captain Ryan Bennett. Twenty four minutes into the game and a cross into the Cowes area was deemed to have hit a Cowes arm and a penalty was awarded, a bit harsh most thought. GARY HIGDON stepped up to fire past Ed Hatt from 12 yards. Just six minutes later, Oliver Wilson was fouled in their box by full back Syeed Ibrahim, earning himself a yellow card, with Referee Adrian Harris awarding a second penalty of the game, this time to Cowes Sports, which was converted by CHARLIE SMEETON firing high into the net despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.
The Toolstation Champions responded well to going behind again and were looking dangerous, in particular from dead ball kicks. Will Stead headed a 38th minute free kick wide of the target when he should have done better before, in the 43rd minute, Ryan Bennett again headed goal-wards from another free kick which Max Draper done well to clear off the line, though the goal would not have counted as a foul had been spotted by the Officials.
H-t 2 – 1
The second half again saw the visitors pushing hard for their second goal, but with Aidan Bryan and Steven Russell in top form at the center of the Cowes defence and both full backs doing well to cut out any crosses it was again down to set pieces from Melksham to cause any threat to the Cowes goal. A diving header in the 54th minute bounced up and over the bar before, on the hour a long throw was flicked across the face of goal wide of Ed Hatt’s right hand post. The closest the Wiltshire side came to leveling the scores came in the 75th minute when another corner from the Cowes right was flicked across goal and rebounded off the left hand post before being cleared to safety.
Jordan Browne then watched as his curling shot flew just over the bar before, with eight minutes remaining, a ball forward saw Rob Brown leave his area to head the ball clear under challenge from John McKie, his clearance found substitute AIDAN SAINSBURY on the half way line, his quick thinking saw him lift the ball over everyone and, with the keeper stranded on the edge of his area, into the empty goal, much to the delight of most of the 118 crowd and seal a place in the next round where Cowes will welcome back Patrick Wilson and his Wimborne Town side to Westwood Park.
TEAM:- Ed Hatt, Max Draper, Keelan Sainsbury(Jez Conway 81), Aidan Bryan, Steven Russell, Oliver Wilson, Joe Adams(Aidan Sainsbury 50), Nathan Lewis capt, Jordan Browne, Dexter Malin(John McKie bkd 70), Charlie Smeeton, Subs not used; Jason Ince + Alex Wright
REFEREE:- ADRIAN HARRIS Assistants – Sean Phillips + Peter Creagh