Wessex Premier League | 10 October 2017 | The Blanchard Wells Stadium | Scorers: B. Scott(2), Baldacchino
Two outstanding strikes from Bobby Scott and a tidy finish from Alex Baldaccino meant that AFC Portchester completed a miraculous comeback, despite being two goals behind at halftime and down to ten men.
The royals started the game in full ascendency and in the seventh minute almost opened the scoring when great work from Baldaccino opened up a great goal scoring chance for Bobby Scott 6 yards out. However, Ed Hatt in the Cowes net made a great save to deny the frontman.
The pressure was relentless and the Royals continued to pressure the Cowes back line, in the ninth minute both Balddaccino and Noakes somehow failed to capitalise as they saw shots cleared dramatically off the line.
Next to try and break the deadlock was Steve Ramsey, but his 25 yard strike was well held by the opposition keeper.
In the 21st minute and with their first attack and against the run of play Cowes broke the deadlock, Connor Furmidge breaking through the Portchester defence and smashing the ball past Cameron Scott. 0-1.
The opening goal quickly changed the dynamic of the game as Cowes suddenly came into and started to play some decent football of their own.
The Royals made their job a lot harder for themselves in the 35th minute when Joe Noakes received a straight red card after he jumped up high for a header and was alleged to elbow his opponent.
The sending off was quickly punished a few minutes later when in the 39th minute the away side doubled their advantage. This time it was Jimmy Wykes who found the back of the net, after he followed up a chipped shot from John Mckie. 0-2.
Half Time: AFC Portchester 0-2 Cowes Sports
Stand in manager Jason Hampson would have had a lot to say at halftime and decided to switch things up a bit, as he brought on Dale Mason in place of Olly Searle.
The next goal in the game was always going to be vital, and thankfully for the Royals it came in the 49th minute from an outstanding individual effort from top-scorer Bobby Scott.
With the ball bouncing around 30 yards out and with nothing obvious on, the number 9 released a fierce dipping volley that flew in passed a static goalkeeper. 1-2.
With the goal came a massive boost in belief for the Royals, and they begin to dictate the game despite being a man down.
The direct approach from substitute Mason was giving the Cowes defence something else to think about, as he looked to have the beating of his man every time he had the ball.
The Royals made the most of their dominance and levelled in the 55th minute, when Baldaccino was the quickest to react after the keeper spilled a powerful strike from captain Joe Bye. 2-2.
Having looked out of the game at halftime, the boys in orange could not have dreamt of a better start to the second half.
However, it was almost worst-case scenario as not long after the equaliser Cowes almost went back in front after the 58th minute with Wykes curling the ball wide after cutting in from the left channel.
Scott was looking full of confidence after his outrageous opener and almost grabbed a second in stylish fashion after he ghosted round the goalkeeper in the 70th minute, but after doing the hard work fired into the side netting.
Although Scott would be the man to have the last laugh as he dispatched a perfectly placed free kick from 25 yards out to complete the most unbelievable of comebacks. 3-2.
The team stuck together and showed real resilience to reduce Cowes to very little in the closing stages and held on to claim a vital three points.
Full Time: AFC Portchester 3-2 Cowes Sports
Following the heroic comeback, assistant manager Jason Hampson spoke to the media;
“The lads really dug out blind, and that was the best comeback I have ever seen to be honest with you”
“It shows a hell of a team spirit, the skipper will tell you about that. There a real good bunch of lads, to go down ten men and come back like that shows a lot”
“It was important to bounce back from a disappointing result at the weekend”
Captain Joe Bye also spoke to the media;
“Everyone knew it was not good enough in the first half, and in the second half we went back to basics”
“I think everyone was in second gear in the first 45 and we knew that if we picked up then we could win the game”
“If we can turn our 45 minute performances into 90 minutes I think we would be battering teams”
Royals: C. Scott, Evans, Moody, Ramsey, Warren, Kirby, Searle, Bye, B. Scott, Baldacchino, Noakes
Subs: Mason, Noice, Birmingham
Cowes Sports: Hatt, Draper, Carter-Knight, Bryan, Chase, Bye, Mckie, Mcarthur, Furmidge, Bricknall, Wykes
Subs: White, Sanders, Cosham, Blackmore, Thurman
Report by Hugo Butler