Bembridge returned to the top spot in Division 1 by beating Northwood St Johns in a hard-fought contest in the only 1st tier Isle of Wight fixture to survive Saturday’s atrocious weather.

The game – played at the Isle of Wight Community Club during a torrential downpour – attracted a ‘crowd’ of just 1: die-hard Bembridge fan Angel Golding (partner of goalkeeper Charlie Watterson). Angel kept herself dry by pitching a tent at the side of the pitch.

The game began disastrously for Bembridge when – after just 20 seconds – Northwood’s Jason Malcolmson sent a curling left-foot shot past Watterson from the middle of the Northwood penalty area after being put through by Toby Cousins (1-0).

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It took until the 29th minute for Bembridge to equalize when the skilful Ant Kettle floated a free kick into the Northwood penalty area, which was flicked on for Charlie Dyer to head home (1-1).

In the 38th minute, Kettle scored the goal-of-the-game when he directed a 30-yard lob over Northwood keeper James Bedding and into the top right corner of the goal (1-2).

Northwood came close to equalizing a minute from the interval when Toby Cousins had a header stopped on the line.

HT: Northwood St Johns 1-2 Bembridge

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Bembridge continued to attack in the 2nd half and would have extended their lead but for some great work by Northwood keeper James Bedding. In the 53rd minute, Bedding made a brave save from centre forward, Josh Field, before punching away a goalward bound header from the resulting corner.

Northwood were knocked back in the 57th minute, when captain, Joe Tigwell, was sent off for a 2nd bookable offence by referee Keyson Colebrooke after a mistimed tackle in treacherous, slippery conditions.

Now playing against 10 men, Bembridge continued to attack but were thwarted by the agile Bedding, who first pulled off a great save from Kettle in the 72nd minute, before again saving the home side by stopping a header 5 minutes later.

Northwood continued to battle gamely in the atrocious conditions and thought they had equalized when Jason Malcolmson bundled the ball into the back of the net in the 82nd minute, but the referee ruled the effort offside.

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The closing stages were notable for a great cameo performance from Bembridge substitute Jez Conway, who grazed the Northwood post with a 30-yard strike a minute before full time before having a strong shot stopped by Bedding moments later.

FT: Northwood St Johns 1-2 Bembridge

Northwood St Johns: Bedding, Woodford, Jones, Collins, White, Watson. Tigwell (c), Flux, Ramage, Malcolmson, Cousins Subs: McKenzie, Butt, Fever-Norton

Bembridge: C. Watterson, Collwill, Trueman. Field, Dyer, A. Clark, Kettle, M.Watterson, Field, Malin, Michail Subs: Broadbent, S. Clark, Conway

After the game, Northwood manager, John Cook, said:

“It was a close game in which both teams battled well in ridiculous conditions. The weather was the winner.”

Bembridge manager, Justin Malin, said:

“After a slow start conceding very early, I felt we bossed the game. In very tough conditions, we always tried to play good football. We missed a lot of chances, which kept Northwood in the game who deserve credit for battling to the end.”

Bembridge’s win leaves them in top spot in the Division 1 table with 19 points from 8 games. W&B, who did not play on Saturday, are 2nd with a full 18 points from their 6 games. Shanklin, whose game against Niton was postponed, are in 3rd position with 17 points from 7 games.

In Division 2, leaders East Cowes Sports trounced Newchurch 0-8 at Sandy Lane; 2nd-placed Pan hammered Newport Reserves 0-5; Osborne Coburg beat East Cowes Vics Reserves 5-2.

Oakfield top Combination 1 after winning 2-3 against 2nd-placed Bembridge at Steyne Park with a brace from Ellis Lomas and a single goal from Harrison Ward.

Newly formed Bembridge ‘A’ lead Combination 2 after beating Pan 0-1 at Downside. The performance-of-the-day in Combination 2 came from Vectis, who trounced Newchurch 11-1 with goals from Euan White (hattrick), Ben Urkie (2), George Butler, Jack Popple, Jack Lax, Jake Toulson, Darren Wood and Benjamin Ballard.

Results for Saturday 2nd October 2021:

Harwoods Renault IOW Saturday League Division 1: Binstead & COB A-A West Wight; Niton Community A-A Shanklin; Northwood St Johns 1-2 Bembridge; Oakfield A-A Cowes Sports Reserves

Division 2: Newchurch 0-8 East Cowes Sports; Newport Reserves 0-5 Pan Sports; Osborne Coburg 5-2 East Cowes Vics Reserves

Combination 1: Bembridge 2-3 Oakfield; Binstead & COB A-A West Wight; Ryde Saints A-A Whitecroft & Barton Sports

Combination 2: Carisbrooke United 6-0 AFC Wootton; Pan Community 0-1 Bembridge A; Vectis 11-1 Newchurch; Yarmouth & Calbourne 3-4 Ventnor

Results courtesy of Isle of Wight DFA

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