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Cowes Sports FC, sitting precariously in third from bottom position in the Wessex Premier, played their first game since 26th October on Hamworthy United’s artificial pitch, which enabled the game to go ahead despite the appalling weather conditions.

The Yachtsmen made 3 changes to the side that lost at Portland United a fortnight ago, with Euan Cranwell, Morgan Perrin and Aidan Bryan replacing Aiden White, Aedan Coode and Scott McFarlane.

Gareth Bricknell nearly opened the scoring for the Yachtsmen in the 19th minute, direct from a corner, but his effort bounced off the crossbar. Then, in the nineteenth minute, a second Bricknell corner was met by Ashley Brett, whose header was spectacularly saved by Hammers keeper, Shane Cooper, only for it to be stabbed home from close range by Jimmy Wykes, to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage.

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Dan Cann then equalised for the home side on 23 minutes, before Michael McEnery restored the Yachtsmen’s lead a minute later, first hitting the crossbar, then deftly placing the rebound into the back of the net.

On 33 minutes, the hosts drew level through a Lee Francis header from the edge of the penalty area. A Hammers player, Tony Rolls, then had to be substituted in a bizarre incident, when he broke his nose in a collision with his own keeper. The Yachtsmen then had a goal controversially ruled offside just before half time, apparently for handball.

Half-time: Hamworthy United 2-2 Cowes Sports

The Hammers took the lead for the first time in the game on the hour mark, through a long-range strike from Saadi. Moments later, Hamworthy controversially had a ‘goal’ that they thought had bounced over the goal line after hitting the crossbar disallowed. However, in the absence of VAR technology, the score remained at 3-2 to the Hammers.

The Yachtsmen kept battling, almost equalising on three occasions. First, Gareth Bricknell was denied by a challenge in the penalty area. Then, a surging run up the right flank by Conor White
came to nothing for the Island side. Finally, in the 83rd minute, Michael McEnery was denied a goal by the Hammers keeper’s feet.

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The Yachtsmen’s valiant efforts finally came to nought, when Hammers substitute, Ash Pope, added two goals injury time, to send the Islanders back across the Solent empty-handed.

Final score: Hamworthy United 5-2 Cowes Sports

Cowes Sports: Hatt, C.White, Sexton, J White, Brett, Cranwell. Perrin, Bryan, Bricknell, McEnery, Wykes Subs: Snow, McFarlane, A White

Cowes captain, Gareth Bricknell, was forced to come off late in the game with a head injury. It has subsequently been discovered that he broke his cheekbone, an injury that may require surgery. Island Echo wish him a speedy recovery.

On Tuesday night, the Yachtsmen start a run of three home games, when they face Petersfield United at Westwood Park in the Hampshire Senior Cup, kick-off 19:45. On Saturday, they face
Bournemouth in the Wessex Premier. If you can’t make it to the game, Island Echo will provide a full match report.

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