Striker Charlie Smeeton was the unlikely hero for West Wight in their draw against league leaders Shanklin on Saturday, after regular goalkeeper Ryan Young was harshly sent off in the first half and he was forced to deputise between the sticks.
Makeshift keeper Smeeton even saved a second half penalty from Shanklin captain, Iain Seabrook. Smeeton had played with Seabrook at Newport and knew where he usually sent his penalty kicks and correctly guessed that, on this occasion, he would send the ball in the opposite direction.
Shanklin had strengthened their side for their visit to West Wight with the addition of 2 Wessex league players from East Cowes Vics – defender Henry West and forward Ji Nash. West Wight had Cowes Sports midfielder, Connor White, in their starting 11.
In an entertaining and eventful game, West Wight went down to 10 men on the half hour mark when keeper Ryan Young handled outside the box.
Shanklin then took the lead in the 35th minute, when Jason Smythers lobbed substitute keeper, Smeeton, to score his 100th goal for the club. However, shortly before the interval, West Wight equalised through a 25-yard curling effort from George Saunders.
HT: West Wight 1-1 Shanklin
Shanklin began the second half on the front foot. In the 50th minute, Wayne Newnham saw an effort bounce off the crossbar. Then, in the 60th minute, experienced Shanklin captain, Iain Seabrook, had a penalty attempt saved by the indefatigable West Wight substitute keeper.
However, in the 65th minute, George Carter-Knight finally broke down the determined West Wight defence with a superb 25-yard strike.
However, West Wight were to have the final say in the game when, against the run of play, Connor White rounded Shanklin keeper Ward in the 75th minute to score the equalizing goal. League leaders Shanklin were then reduced to 10 men for the final minutes of the game, after one of their number sin-binned for dissent and were unable to make further progress against a spirited West Wight side.
FT: West Wight 2-2 Shanklin
The draw leaves Shanklin still leading the Isle of Wight League with 25 points from their 10 games. West Wight trail the leaders by 5 points, with 1 game in hand.
After the match, Shanklin manager, Paul Haward, described the game and performance as “frustrating”.
West Wight manager, Johnny Holmes, was happier with the manner in which his side played, stating that:
“Everyone worked hard to get the result. We aim to stay in the group of contenders for the title.”
On the incident which led to West Wight keeper Young, he said:
“Our defence should have dealt with it. However, his momentum carried him outside the penalty area and the ball struck his arm.”
In other matches in Island League Division 1, defending champions W&B beat 3rd placed Northwood St Johns 1-0, through a goal by Newport midfielder, Joe Craig. The win leaves W&B trailing Shanklin at the top of the table by a single point.
In Island League Division 2, Oakfield maintained their 100% record with a 5-1 victory against Adgestone. At the other end of the Division 2 table, bottom club Wroxall contrived to lose for the 9th time in 9 games, going down 10-1 to Pan Sports. Newport ‘A’ managed their first point of the season with a creditable 2-2 draw away to Yarmouth & Calbourne.
Island League results: Saturday 3rd April:
Division 1: Carisbrooke United 0, Binstead & COB 3; Cowes Sports Reserves 2, Brading Town 1; ECS 6, Ventnor 4; Sandown 0, Ryde Saints 2; Vectis 1, Bembridge 2; West Wight 2, Shanklin 2; Whitecroft & Barton Sports 1, Northwood St John 0.
Division 2: Wootton 2, Niton Community 7; Adgestone 1, Oakfield 5; Newchurch 3, Seaview 4; Pan Sports 10, Wroxall 1; Yarmouth & Calbourne 2, Newport A 2.
Fixtures for Tuesday 6th April:
Division 1: Bembridge v Sandown; Brading Town v Ventnor; Carisbrooke United v Vectis; ECS v Binstead & COB; Northwood St John v West Wight; Whitecroft & Barton Sports v Cowes Sports Reserves.
Division 2: Adgestone v Pan Sports; Newport A v Wroxall; Niton Community v Wootton; Oakfield v Seaview; Osborne Coburg v Yarmouth & Calbourne.
Unfortunately, spectators are currently unable to attend Island League games at enclosed grounds due to Covid regulations. However, Island Echo will be providing regular reports on Island League games for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.