East Cowes Vics lost the only Wessex League match to survive the atrocious weather conditions on Saturday in a game in which they managed only 1 attempt at goal in 90 minutes of play.

The Vics welcomed Verwood Town to Beatrice Avenue looking for a decent display to take them into next Monday’s Bank Holiday encounter with local rivals, Newport. Unfortunately, a Vics side bereft of ideas, competitive spirit and attacking intent turned up on the pitch.

Newport manager Stewart Shepherd, who attended the game, should sleep soundly over the festive season after watching the poor performance of his next opponents.

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Vics manager Richie Woodburn, was forced to make changes through the suspension of club skipper, Ryan Gregory. The back 4 was shuffled into a 3 and struggled to get to grips with the Verwood strike force.

Verwood opened the scoring in the 14th minute when a mix up in the Vics midfield left the defence exposed, and Verwood’s Callum Butler hammered a vicious drive past Vics keeper, Karl Steinborn-Busse. A minute later, another mistake in the middle of the park let in Verwood centre forward, James Guthrie, but this time Vics keeper Karl Steinborn-Busse was able to pull off a good save.

Verwood continued to push forward and created several opportunities but were unable to increase their lead before the break.

Disappointingly, Vics didn’t manage a single shot for the whole half.

HT: East Cowes Vics 0-1 Verwood Town

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Vics were the better side for the opening 5 minutes of the second half, moving the ball around deftly and attempting to find an equalizer. Vics striker, Ji Nash, found himself clear in the 49th minute but was unable to take the ball past the Verwood keeper, and his desperate appeals for a penalty were brushed aside.

Verwood almost increased their lead in the 55th minute, but an outstanding save from keeper Steinborn-Busse again thwarted Guthrie, Verwood’s centre forward.

In the 63rd minute, some excellent work from the Vics front 2 – Ji Nash and Jimmi Burton – saw them break through the Verwood defence. However, with just the keeper to beat, the referee pulled back play for an infringement. The resulting free kick from Ji Nash – the Vics’ only shot in the entire game—whistled inches past the post.

Verwood increased their lead in the 75th minute when Vics’ Ollie West and Verwood’s Diop Evans clashed heads. With both players down, the referee allowed play to continue, and the ball carried through a motionless Vics defence to Verwood centre forward, James Guthrie, who toe-poked the ball past Steinborn-Busse to give the Dorset side a 0-2 advantage.

Verwood then scored a third in the 84th minute when a cross from Guthrie eluded the Vics’ defenders and goalkeeper to sneak into the far corner of the goal and end any remaining hope for Vics getting anything from a very disappointing performance.

FT: East Cowes Vics 0-3 Verwood Town
Vics: Steinborn-Busse, White, Newbold, O. West, H West, Coode, Chapman (captain), Young, Burton, Nash, Catania
Subs: Kirby, Ahmed, Saunders, Woodburn, Yates

After the game, Vics manager, Richie Woodburn, declared himself “livid” with his team’s performance. Richie said:

“We got what we deserved. We didn’t create a chance. Their keeper came home from the game spotless.

“We couldn’t complain if we had lost by 5 or 6. Only Karl kept the score down.

“We saved our worst performance until the last game before Christmas. We are going into the Newport game at our lowest ebb.”

Vics play tenants, Newport, in the Island Derby at Beatrice Avenue on Monday 28th December. The game is all ticket, with attendance limited to 300 because of COVID restrictions.

Newport’s game against Romsey on Saturday was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

Cowes’ match against Bashley at Westwood Park on Saturday was abandoned shortly before half time due to extreme weather conditions with the home side trailing 0-1.

Cowes’ home game against Horndean on 29th December has been postponed due to COVID restrictions. The Yachtsmen’s next home game will be against Hamworthy on 2nd January.

Island Echo will provide a full match report for forthcoming Island Derby and coverage of Wessex League games in 2021.

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