THERE was great relief around wet and windy Westwood Park as Cowes Sports won their first game of 2019 — a single goal victory over Brockenhurst Town.

During a poor first half, with no quality from either side, the Yachtsmen broke the deadlock on 27 minutes.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Gareth Bricknell (far right in blue) swivels and smashed the ball home against Brockenhurst.  

A corner swung in from the right caused the Brockenhurst defence all kinds of problems and skipper Gareth Bricknell was first to pounce to bury it from close in.

The Cowes defence, which looked very shaky in the first half, grew in confidence and kept at bay everything the Badgers could throw at them after the interval, with Cowes keeper Ed Hatt having nothing to save, other than catch comfortable long balls swung into the box.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Yachtsmen keeper Ed Hatt called into action to repel a Brockenhurst attack in the first half.

Cowes looked the more assured going forward, with player-manager John McKie giving the New Forest side a tough time, with close efforts and unlucky not to add to the home side's lead.

After the game, McKie said: "It's fantastic to get the three points. I don't think Brockenhurst would argue that over the two fixtures this week. We deserved at least three points.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Jimmy Wykes (in blue) returned to the Cowes Sports line-up after being sidelined the past ten weeks through injury.

"We were nowhere near the level we have been playing away from home, but I take that as a huge positive — to be able to win ugly is a fantastic trait at this level.

"We said before the game that Westwood will become a fortress, with the target to go the rest of the season unbeaten at home.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cowes player-manager John McKie (in blue) led the line well against Brockenhurst.

"The lads again gave everything. I couldn't have asked for more.

"The last 20 minutes of the game were actually our best. Instead of dropping off to try and ride out the game, we continued to press forward and played some fantastic, expansive football.

"We had Jimmy Wykes back after ten weeks out and he came through it unscathed which, for us, is like a new signing.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Yachtsmen skipper Gareth Bricknell led from the front against Brockenhurst — scoring his fifth in five games for Cowes.

"We've also got Gareth (Bricknell) in fantastic form at the moment — scoring five goals in his last five games and, as our skipper, he drives us all on, as well as Callum Chase at the back, one of the best centre halves on the Island.

"We're a tightly-knit bunch and we stick together, work for each other and every single player plays their part without any arguments, which is superb."

The Islanders remain second bottom, but have closed the gap on the surrounding teams.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Jordan Browne scored the winner in consecutive games for Newport — today against Fawley Town at St George's Park. FILE

Just like last week against New Milton Town at home, Newport won 1-0 in Sydenhams Wessex Division 1, with Jordan Browne the hero again when he pounced on 28 minutes to score against Fawley Town.

Port squandered numerous other chances to extend their lead.

The win lifted them to sixth, but their realistic goal must be to finish fifth this season with the teams from fourth and higher, 18-plus points ahead of them.

East Cowes Vics are putting together a good little run of their own in the league after drawing 1-1 at home to Folland Sports — the game saved with an equaliser deep into stoppage time at the end of the game.

Folland opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time and held tyhe lead until the death.   

Vics climbed a place to tenth.

In the Isle of Wight Senior (Gold) Cup quarter finals, in-form Shanklin beat Brading Town 5-2 at the County Ground, while Island league Division 2 pace-setters Bembridge and Ryde Saints won their Isle of Wight Junior A Cup ties 3-1.

In the Island league Division 1, Pan Sports pulled off an excellent 2-2 draw at home to runaway leaders Whitecroft and Barton.

Northwood St John failed to make any ground on W & B with their disappointing goalless draw at home to basement club Osborne Coburg.

                                     TODAY’S RESULTS (SATURDAY)

Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division: Cowes Sports 1, Brockenhurst 0.

Sydenhams Wessex Division 1: Newport 1, Fawley 0; East Cowes Vics 1, Folland Sports 1.

Isle of Wight Harwoods Dacia Senior (Gold) Cup, second round: Shanklin 5, Brading Town 2.

The Ken Morris Isle of Wight Junior A Cup, second round: Brading Town Reserves 1, Bembridge 3; Carisbrooke United 5, Seaview 2; Oakfield 5, Shanklin Reserves 1; Ryde Saints 3, West Wight Reserves 1. 

The Isle of Wight Unison Junior B Cup, first round: Bembridge Reserves 4, Newchurch Reserves 2; Niton Community Reserves 2, Ryde Saints A 0; Seaview Reserves 2, Wootton Reserves 3; Yarmouth & Calbourne Reserves 3, Carisbrooke Utd Reserves 9.

Harwoods Renault Isle of Wight League Division 1: ECS 2, Cowes Sports Reserves 2; Northwood St John 0, Osborne Coburg 0; Pan Sports 2, Whitecroft & Barton Sports 2; Sandown 0, West Wight 0.

Division 2: Wootton 1, Wroxall 0; Adgestone 2, East Cowes Vics A 1; Niton Community 0, Newchurch 2.

Combination 1: Binstead & COB Reserves 2, Sandown Reserves 3; Osborne Coburg Reserves 1, Northwood St John Reserves 3; Ryde Saints Reserves 1, ECS Reserves 6; Ventnor Reserves 3, Oakfield Reserves 7.