The Yachtsmen, second-from-bottom in the Wessex Premier, conceded two penalties as they went down 1-3 to third place Porchester on Saturday, 4th January, a side they had beaten 2-1 in August.
Cowes Sports 1 AFC Portchester 3
Cowes made 3 changes to their starting line up: Ed Hatt returned in goal to replace Fraser Law, Scott McFarlane came in for Aidan White in defence, and Mitchell Ricketts replaced Tom Dye in midfield.
The Royals took the lead after only 2 minutes and then eased their way past a sorry Cowes side to take all three points back home across the Solent.
The Yachtsmen only threatened the visitors’ goal on a handful of occasions.
The first goal for the visitors came after just two minutes when Owen Fee appeared to have been shoved to the ground by a home defender in the penalty area. Steve Ramsey took the penalty, and his low shot sent home keeper Ed Hatt diving the wrong way.
Portchester almost doubled their lead on 17 minutes, when Fee burst past the home defence and crossed the ball across the face of goal, which bounced off the far post before being hacked clear to safety.
On 23 minutes, the ever lively Fee got in behind the home defence again, and his low cross across the edge of the six-yard box ran into the path of Nathan Paxton, but he failed to connect with the ball for what would have been an easy tap in.
Cowes had their only chance of the first half three minutes before half time when George Carter-Knight played the ball forward into the penalty area from the left for James Wykes to chase.
However, before he could pose a threat, Portchester keeper, Brad Snelling, raced off his line to smother the ball.
Half time: Cowes Sports 0-1 AFC Portchester
The visitors continued to press for goals at the beginning of the second half and almost grabbed their second two minutes after the re-start when the ball was cleared off the goal line by a Cowes defender.
Portchester was not denied their second goal two minutes later when a short corner was rolled to Fee, who was then chopped down going past his marker on the byline. Porchester’s Ramsey made no mistake with his penalty, sending his low shot past Hatt’s despairing dive to his left, giving the Royals a 0-2 advantage.
The Yachtsmen got themselves on the scoresheet on 59 minutes, through the third penalty of the afternoon, after Jimmy Wykes found himself clear inside the penalty area and went down under a challenge.
The referee pointed to the spot, and Ewan Cranwell hit his penalty low into the bottom corner of the net, to reduce the deficit to 1-2.
However, hopes of a comeback for the home side were put to bed a minute later, when Portchester restored their 2 goal advantage.
Substitute, Patrick Hnath, burst into the box before tucking home his low shot under Hatt and into the net, to put the away side a 1-3 ahead.
At the other end, Cowes again got forward, and the ball found its way to Scott McFarlane on the left-hand side of the box, but his shot was easily claimed by Snelling at his near post.
The Yachtsmen had the final chance of the game when, with six minutes remaining, McFarlane broke forward down the left and crossed the ball to Finley Phillips, who fired off a low shot which went well wide of the target.
Final score: Cowes Sports 1-3 AFC Portchester
Cowes Sports: Hatt, Ricketts, McFarlane, Bryan, Perrin, Brett, Cranwell. Carter-Knight, Wetherick. Fillips, Wykes Substitutes: Dye, McEnery, C White, Bricknell, Ince Defeat leaves the Yachtsmen second-from-bottom in the Wessex Premier, three points behind closest rivals, Bournemouth.
On Saturday, 11th January, Cowes travel away to Horndean, who are currently in seventh position.