The Yachtsmen made the long two-and-a-half hour journey to Dorset to face Portland, who sat in fifth place in the table before kick off, having lost only one league game since the start of the season.
Both manager, Steve Rutter and assistant manager, Joe McCormack, were unavailable for Saturday’s game, leaving Ian Potts in charge of the team.
The Yachtsman arrived only 40 minutes before kick off, having experienced traffic problems on route, and were therefore restricted to a short warm up. The conditions were hardly precipitous for a good game of football, with driving rain and fog, which made conditions difficult for both sides. However, with the wind to their backs, the Island side stunned the home crowd by taking the lead on the half hour, when James Wykes saw his pass find skipper, Gareth Bricknell, 20 yards out, who then fired past the home keeper to give the Yachtsman a 1-0 advantage at half-time. Despite having the wind at their backs, the Islanders failed to add further goals to the score sheet before the break.
Half time: Portland United 0 -1 Cowes Sports
The Yachtsmen did their best to preserve and extend their lead after the restart. First, Michael McEnery had a good opportunity to give the away side a two-goal advantage, when he ran with the ball from the halfway line towards the Portland area but unfortunately sent his shot wide of the goal. Then, midway through the half, a long clearance sent James Wykes bearing down on the Portland goal with just Steve Boore to beat in the home goal, but the keeper saved well to keep his side in the game.
As the fog thickened, and with the wind now behind them, Portland first levelled with a strike from Maxwell Buckler, then took the lead through a header. The Yachtsmen threw on their substitutes in an attempt to get back into the game, with Jacob Jarvis replacing Michael McEnery, Daniel Pearson coming on for Scott McFarlane and Jason Ince replacing ‘Chalky’ White.
However, it was the home side who were to seal victory in injury time, when a looping header crept past Cowes custodian, Ed Hatt, shortly after he had made the last of a number of great saves that had kept the Yachtsmen in the contest.
Final score: Portland United 3 -1 Cowes Sports
Cowes Sports: Hatt, Conor White, Sexton, Joseph White, Ashley Brett, Aiden White, McEnery, McFarlane, Bricknell (c), Coode, Wykes, Subs: Ince, Pearson, Jarvis
Defeat at Portland leaves Cowes Sports in 17th position in the Wessex Premiership table, with just two wins in 11 games.
On Saturday (2nd November), the Yachtsmen travel to north Hampshire to play Fleet Town, who lie in 15th place in the Wessex Premier, 2 places above the Island side. Island Echo intends
to provide full reports for all Island sides appearing in the Wessex League.