Cowes Sports 1 AFC Portchester 3
AFC Portchester enjoyed a comfortable start to 2020 with a straight forward victory on the Isle of Wight.
The Royals took the lead after only two minutes and they didn’t look back after that as they eased their way to the three points.
The home side only threatened the visitors’ goal on a handful of occasions and it was missed chances at the other end by Portchester that was more of a threat to them heading back across the Solent without all three points.
Owen Fee, back in the starting line up, was a thorn in Cowes’ side all afternoon and he set up Portchester’s early opening goal.
Dan Wooden had already hit a dipping shot just past the post when Jason Parish held up the ball before putting Fee clear inside the penalty area and he was shoved to the ground by a home defender.
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 a deep free kick by Adam Cripps on the left found Fee bursting past the home defence again.
He crossed the ball across the face of goal, Wooden missed his chance to head the ball home but it carried on and bounced off the far post before being hacked clear to safety.
A minute later Wooden did have the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for offside.
On 23 minutes Fee got in behind the home defence again on the right 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.
Three minutes later Paxton turned provider when he crossed the ball into the box from the left but Wooden’s shot was blocked by a defender.
On 28 minutes a lofted pass picked out Parish inside the box but he fired into the side netting and five minutes later a corner from the left found Wooden but he glanced his header narrowly wide.
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 had raced off his line to smother the ball.
The visitors continued to press for goals at the beginning of the second half and they almost grabbed their second two minutes after the re-start.
A throw in from the left was partially cleared by the home defence but Fee lifted it back into the box to Wooden who directed the ball over Hatt but a defender got back to clear it off the line.
However, Portchester weren’t to be denied their second goal two minutes later when a short corner was rolled to Fee and as he went past his marker on the byline he was chopped down.
Ramsey made no mistake with his penalty - this time his low shot went past Hatt’s dive to his left.
Portchester had another goal disallowed on 54 minutes - this time for a foul - and they went close again two minutes later when a corner was cleared to Rob Evans, who played the ball to Wooden but his shot through a crowd of players went straight to Hatt.
The visitors’ fears they might pay the price for their missed chances increased when the home side got themselves on the scoresheet on 59 minutes.
Cowes had worked the ball down the left before a through ball put Wykes clear inside the penalty area and he 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.
However, any fears of a home fightback were put to bed a minute later when Portchester quickly restored their two goal advantage.
After the ball had been won in midfield, Wooden slid a pass through to substitute Patrick Hnath and he burst into the box before tucking home his low shot under Hatt and into the net.
Wooden went close again on 71 minutes when he twisted and turned his way past the home defence but he blasted his shot well over from the edge of the box.
At the other end, Cowes again got forward down the left 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.
With ten minutes remaining Fee was sent clear into space on the right before he crossed the ball inside to Evans, who tried to fire his shot home but it lacked any power and trickled through to Hatt.
The final chance of the game went to the home side with six minutes remaining when McFarlane broke forward down the left and crossed the ball to Finley Phillips, who fired off a low shot but it went well wide of the target.
GOALS: Steve Ramsey (2 mins, pen; 49 mins, pen), Patrick Hnath (60 mins)
LINE-UP: Brad Snelling, Jack Barker, Adam Cripps, Rob Evans, Ellis Martin, Olly Searle (replaced by Stuart McConnachie on 75 mins), Nathan Paxton (replaced by Patrick Hnath on 53 mins), Steve Ramsey, Jason Parish (replaced by Jordan Brooks on 65 mins), Dan Wooden, Owen Fee.
SUBSTITUTE NOT USED: Liam Bush.