Aiden Bryan makes a last-ditch tackle against Hythe. Picture by GRAHAM BROWN
COWES Sports have begun their assault on the Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1’s top two, after two huge wins this week.
The Yachtsmen have been in imperious form since returning from a lengthy hiatus with the bad weather, and showed no signs of stopping on Saturday, when they travelled to fellow promotion hopefuls Hythe and Dibden and won 2-1, before comfortably defeating Ringwood Town 4-1 on Tuesday night at Westwood Park.
Hythe and Dibden 1, Cowes Sports 2
Cowes knew they had a tough task on their hands to defeat Hythe on their own ground, having only lost one match in the league since the two sides met at Westwood Park in August.
The Islanders took time to settle but chances for Nathan Lewis and Joe Adams gave them confidence and they took the lead on the half hour when Jordan Browne headed the ball across the face of goal for Lee DAVIES to tap in.
Hythe should have equalised shortly after when a ball into the box looked certain to be poked home, but goalkeeper Will Hunt produced a stunning point-blank save to keep them out.
They did level ten minutes into the second half, heading in from a corner, and Hythe enjoyed a great spell of possession and pressure, which Cowes did exceptionally well to contain.
Victory was sealed on a rare venture into the Hythe half, when Cowes won a 70th minute corner which Ryan Gregory floated into the box finding Jordan BROWNE with a free header.
The final 15 minutes were tense after Lewis was sent off a second booking, and Cowes were forced to defend resolutely. Parity was restored shortly before the end when Mark Lilley was red carded for a two footed tackle on John McKie, and Cowes held on the win.
Cowes Sports: Hunt, Draper, Ryan Gregory, Bryan, Insley, K. Sainsbury, Lewis, Phelps, Davies, Browne, Adams. Subs: Sunsburg, McKie, Ross Gregory, Wetherick, Jones
Cowes Sports 4, Ringwood Town 1
At Westwood Park, Cowes came from behind to take the win, and move up to third in the table.
Ringwood took the lead in the fourth minute and it took until the 38th for a shell-shocked Cowes to equalise, Jared WETHERICK thumping the ball home. Minutes later the tide had turned as Cowes took the lead, WETHERICK popping up from close range to strike again.
The Islanders increased their advantage on the hour when Ryan Gregory’s dangerous cross was missed by a defender and Joe ADAMS tapped the ball home.
With twenty minutes remaining, 16-year-old Stuart McCarthy was sent on at left back in place of Ryan Gregory for his first taste of Wessex football and he certainly did not look out of place. Fellow substitute Jordan BROWNE added a fourth goal seven minutes from time following good work from man of the match John McKie.
Cowes Sports: Hunt, Sainsbury, Ryan Gregory, Bryan, Insley, Sunsburg, Lewis, Ross Gregory, McKie, Wetherick, Adams. Subs: McCarthy, Phelps, Browne, Davies, Draper