Royals defeated in frustrating evening encounter
AFC Portchester 1 Cowes Sports 2
Portchester endured a frustrating Wednesday evening at the hands of a battling Cowes side as they slid to defeat.
Despite taking an early lead and having the better of the play, the visitors didn’t let the Royals get away from them and took the few chances they had to secure all three points.
It looked like the home side were picking up where they left off against Shaftesbury when the game got under way as Portchester took the lead after only four minutes.
Before that Cowes won a free kick on the edge of the box which Darren Williams hit low past the defensive wall but straight at keeper Brad Snelling.
A long clearance through the middle sent Nathan Paxton running clear of the defence and he beat keeper Ed Hatt to the ball on the edge of the box before running into the area and rolling his shot into the empty net.
The stiff breeze almost gave Cowes a quick way back into the game when the wind caught Josh Warren’s backpass and Snelling had to palm the ball away from his goal.
The resulting indirect free kick inside the box was rolled to Williams but he blazed his shot well over the crossbar.
On 22 minutes Owen Fee danced his way past three challenges on the edge of the box before he was chopped down but Steve Ramsey’s effort from the free kick went over the crossbar.
The visitors got themselves level on 36 minutes following a cross into the box from the right. Portchester failed to clear their lines and following a strong challenge on the edge of the six yard box, the ball rolled to Callum Chase and he smashed it into the net from close range.
The match officials ignored strong shouts for a Portchester penalty four minutes later when Paxton picked up a long clearance and spread the ball right into the path of Dan Wooden.
He appeared to be sent sprawling by a challenge inside the box but the referee waved away the home protests.
Wooden went close again five minutes after half time when he got in behind the Cowes defence following a through ball from midfield but he hit his low shot straight at Hatt.
Portchester then drove forward again, which allowed Rob Evans to surge forward down the right but his rising shot from the right hand side of the penalty area went straight at Hatt.
The home side went closer still to scoring on 58 minutes when a free kick wide on the left was crossed to Jordan Brooks at the far post and his header had to be pushed around the post by Hatt.
With around 20 minute to go, based on how the game was going, it looked like the home side would eventually find the goal they were looking for but in the end it was the visitors who came more into the game by stifling Portchester’s attacking threat and then breaking forward more regularly.
On 71 minutes they took advantage of the home side having a man down injured and surged forward. Gareth Bricknell received the ball inside the penalty area and Snelling had to get down low to keep out his effort on goal.
Paxton’s looping header from a free kick went just wide of the post before the visitor’s snatched what proved to be the winner on 82 minutes.
A free kick was played forward and the ball was eventually worked to substitute Jai Nash inside the box. He side stepped a couple of challenges from home defenders before dispatching a low shot past Snelling and into the net.
Portchester almost managed to scramble home an equaliser in injury time when a throw in from the right was flicked on and the home side tried to prod the ball over the line from close range.
The ball looked like it may have crossed the line before a defender was able to hack it clear but the linesman did not signal to indicate it had crossed the line.
Ramsey then tried to force the ball home from close range in the next attack but Hatt was able to make a comfortable low save.
Goal: Nathan Paxton (4 mins)
Line-up: Brad Snelling, Rob Evans, Liam Bush (replaced by Jack Barker on 72 mins), Jordan Brooks, Josh Warren, Olly Searle, Owen Fee (replaced by Brodie Spencer on 68 mins), Steve Ramsey (capt), Nathan Paxton, Mike Turvey, Dan Wooden.
Subs not used: Stuart McConnachie, Bradey Norton, Efu Kazadi.