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East Cowes Vics scraped past Verwood Town on Saturday in their first fixture since 8th February – and possibly their last now COVID-19 restrictions have come into force.

Vics made 2 changes to the side that had lost at home to Andover New Street on 8th February, with Tyler Greenslade and Henry West replacing Sam Kirby and Macauley Waterson in the starting line up.

The visitors from Dorset had most of the possession in the first half, forcing a long series of corners, but appeared to lack a cutting edge up front. Karl Steinborn-Busse in the Vics goal was only forced into action on two occasions, making 2 saves in the 18th and 30th minutes.

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Verwood’s attacks were comfortably dealt with by Vics’ strong centre backs, Henry West and captain, Ryan Gregory.

At the other end, Vics created numerous chances for themselves, but failed to put the ball in the net. In the 4th minute, Henry West had a good effort blocked. In the 18th minute, Jimmi Burton sent a wild shot 18 yards past the post from a good position. Then, in the 37th minute, Jez Conway succeeded in breaking through the Potter’s defence to score, only for his effort to be ruled offside.

Vics continued to harass the Verwood defence after the disallowed goal, without making the decisive breakthrough. Harry Catania had a good effort blocked in the 37th minute. In the 40th
minute, Jez Conway had a shot deflected over the crossbar and in the 41st minute, Harry Catania saw his 20 yard effort also deflected over the bar.

Jez Conway shot narrowly wide in the 43rd minute, following which Henry West had a further effort blocked a minute into first half injury time.

HT: East Cowes Vics 0-0 Verwood Town

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The Potters had plenty of chances to take the points home to Dorset in the second half and hit the woodwork twice, but it was the Island side who claimed victory thanks to a single decisive goal.
Numerous chances fell to Verwood centre forward, Ben Harris, who ho had a unlucky afternoon.

First, he had a shot blocked by Karl Strinborn-Busse in the Vics goal 2 minutes after the break. He then shot wide in the 50th minute, following which he hit the outside of the post in the 56th
minute. Joe Manley hit a shot past the post for the visitors in the 58th minute. However, it was Vics who were to show the Dorset side how to convert scoring opportunities into goals, when, in the 60th minute, Harry Catania put Jez Conway through on the edge of the penalty area, for the burly striker to send a low shot into the left hand corner of the net from 10 yards out.
The Potters’’ Ben Harris was once again unlucky in the 71st minute, when he saw a shot-come-cross hit the crossbar.

Jimmi Burton had a chance to give the home side a 2 goal advantage in the 78th minute, but had his close range shot blocked on the goalline.

The Potters had their opportunities to equalise in the closing stages of the game, shooting over the crossbar in the 84th minute, narrowly missing the post in the 1st minute of injury time, and having a further shot fly high over Steinborn-Busse’s goal just before the final whistle. However, the only-goal-of-the-game from Jez Conway proved sufficient to earn all 3 points for Vics.

FT: East Cowes Vics 1-0 Verwood Town

Vics: Steinborn-Busse, H West, Greenslade, O.West, Gregory, Newbold, Chapman, Catania (Waterson 82), Burton, Conway (Dixon 85), Hayward (Kirby 80)

Commenting after the game, Vics manager, Richie Woodburn, said:

“I expected our players to be rusty as we haven’t played since 8th February. Training hard is no substitute for match fitness. I think we had the better chances throughout the whole game. We played really well and dug in deep. We should have scored twice in the first half. Our two centre backs, Ryan and Henry, dealt with everything Ringwood could throw at us. Our opponents may have had more of the possession, but possession means nothing if you don’t create chances.”

Vics’ victory leaves them in 17th place in Wessex League 1, with 20 points from 25 games.

All football games have now been suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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