Match Report - Division 1
Match Report - , by Ian Craig
East Cowes Victoria v Fleet Spurs
East Cowes Victoria 1 Fleet Spurs 1 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter
It was a glorious spring day as Spurs paid their regular annual visit to the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately, they could only field a very much weakened squad as seven regular players were unavailable for various. Neither side had even passable recent form, with only four victories between them over the last three months. This pointed to a game that wouldn’t be of the highest quality but might be close. This indeed happened, though Vics would have won with something to spare if they had managed to convert a number of excellent goal chances.
As might be expected, Fleet started nervously, and East Cowes might easily have been a couple of goals ahead in the first five minutes, but were let down by their finishing. Gradually Spurs improved and came into the game, though Vics still had the bulk of possession and scoring chances. However neither keeper was seriously troubled and 0-0 at half-time was the inevitable result of a very moderate half.
The game continued in the same vein after the break, and a goal – and a well-taken goal at that – came as something of a surprise. In the 54th minute a cross from Ji Nash on the left found Jimmi Burton in space near the penalty spot and the striker placed his header accurately inside the far post, giving Mark Appleby no chance. As both teams seemed to tire in the warm sun, Spurs began to create goal chances, but home keeper Cameron Farley proved equal to any goal-bound efforts. Fleet’s best chance came when the hard-working Dan Bone beat two defenders on the right, but the well-placed Zac Chillery was unable to turn his cross into the net. Although Spurs were now having most of the possession, Vics threatened with a number of quick breaks, but again poor finishing let them down. As the game entered stoppage time, the Islanders seemed happy with their one-goal margin as they started to play keep-ball near the corner-flags. This proved unwise, as Spurs gained possession and went down the other end where Bone forced Farley to make a flying save from his curling shot. Adam Nash took the resulting in-swinging corner, which Bone headed powerfully past Farley from close range. This equaliser was the last meaningful action of the game, as the referee blew for full-time straight after the restart.
Spurs now have only two games to play, both against top-six sides, in what has turned out to be a disappointing season for them. On Easter Saturday, they entertain Ringwood Town at Kennels Lane while on 22 April, they visit Shaftesbury, who are one of the favourites for the third promotion spot. Both games are due to kick off at 3.00.
Vics team: Cameron Farley; Aiden Jones; Josh Craig; Macauley Watterson (capt); Benjamin Gregory; Danny Cowburn; Ji Nash (sub Harrison Berry 77); Aaron Shephard (sub Blake Reeves 63); Jimmi Burton; Ellis Lomas; Daniel Verstraeten (sub Kyran Hopcraft 63)
Spurs team: Mark Appleby; Adam Bond; Adam Nash; Chris Barnes (capt); Stefan Davis; Pete Lines; Jan Verhoeven (sub Zac Chillery 57); Mike Bertoux; Dan Bone; Tom Chillery; Jack Moore