Premier Division – Saturday March 12th 2016

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Attendance:- 72

Former Arsenal. Chelsea and Portsmouth star Graham Rix brought his third placed AFC Portchester side across the Solent to Westwood Park looking to continue where they had left off when the two sides had met at the Wicor Rec just over a month before, the home side winning 5 – 1. For their part Cowes came into the match off the back of a 0 – 4 defeat at Sholing who had also beaten Portchester a few weeks ago(3 – 0). One big plus for the Yachtsmen was the return to the starting line up of club Captain Craig Insley who joined Ed Sanders and and Aidan Bryan at the back with James Butt and Jason Malcolmson acting as wing backs for this game.

It was important for the home side to get off to a good start and they did so as after just five minutes a James Butt long pass over their defence saw Jordan Browne pounce, but visiting keeper Lyall Beasley was alert to block Jordan’s shot. Westwood was set alight in the 9th minute when a great cross from the right from James Butt was met with a powerful header by JARED WETHERICK past their stranded keeper into the net. Portchester were stunned by this, but looked to play their way back into the game and certainly had a lot of possession in the remainder of the first half, but never really tested Ed Hatt in the Cowes goal. Sean Thurgood blasted a 22 yard effort well over the crossbar whilst a corner from the left was headed over the bar. The home side nearly doubled their advantage when Jason Malcolmson’s free kick from the half way line saw Jordan Browne head the ball inches wide of the right-hand post. Another couple of half chances for Portchester saw a free kick fired across the face of the Cowes goal but wide of the right upright and a shot from 20 yards flew wide of the goal. So Cowes went into the break one up and had plenty to play for in the second half.

H-t 1 – 0

The visitors continued to try and get themselves back into the game in the second half but the whole of the Islanders team were well up for the fight and continued to frustrate their high flying opponents. Cowes were superbly marshalled by returning Captain Craig Insley giving his teammates confidence with his constant talking. Joe Bye thought he had scored an equaliser on 52 minutes but the agility of Ed Hatt saw the keeper tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner. Next Steve Ramsey blazed over the bar when in a good position. The visitors frustration grew as five players were shown yellow cards mainly for dissent. Keelan Sainsbury’s free kick was headed over the bar by Jared Wetherick before substitute Jimmy Wykes great run at their defence ended with him shooting wide of goal. Ten minutes from time and a ball into the Cowes area saw Geoff Dunn and Ed Hatt go for the ball, Ed looked to have pushed the Portchester forward in the back, but Referee Chris Arkless waved their penalty appeals away, much to their annoyance. He explained after that he thought their guy was going down before Ed touched him and we will certainly accept that!!!!. Cowes saw the final ten minutes out without any alarms, a result that keeps the Yachtsmen in 8th place on 42 points, but dents Graham Rix’s hopes of a second place finish that could see them promoted.

Team:- Ed Hatt, James Butt bkd(Jimmy Wykes 47), Jason Malcolmson, Craig Insley capt, Aidan Bryan, Edward Sanders, Oliver Wilson bkd, Keelan Sainsbury, Jared Wetherick(Aidan Sainsbury 65), Jordan Browne, John McKie, Subs not used – Dexter Malin + Billy Heard

Referee:- Chris Arkless           Assistants – Andy Jones + Liam White

Take a look at the photos from the game taken by ADAM PEARSON by clicking on the link below: