AS we reach the business end of the football season, there are vital matches at stake for many Isle of Wight teams.

In the Sydenhams Wessex Premier division, Cowes Sports, who lie second bottom, have a huge six-pointer at home to the side hovering just above them, Bemerton Heath Harlequins.   

Both sides have played 33 games and have 30 points, but Bemerton Heath are 15 goals beter off than the Yachtsmen.

Lurking below them, five points adrift, are improving bottom side Andover New Street, who entertain struggling Brockenhurst.

Cowes player-manager John McKie remains confident his side wil beat the drop, but is under no illusions about the importance of today's match.

He told the Isle of Wight County Press: "At this level and with the position we're in, games don't come any bigger than this.

"This will be our biggest game, in terms of significance for the club, in the past few years.

"Afterwards, both us and Bemerton mirror each other's fixtures, so for me, whoever stays up out of the two teams, fully deserves it.

"The players have stepped up to every big game like this one this season when asked and I expect nothing less against Bemerton Heath.

"It's massive for both teams, but we go into the game full of confidence at our change in performances and will be looking for nothing less than three points."

In Division 1 of the Wessex League, Newport, unlucky against high-flying Stoneham in mid-week, losing 4-3, following three wins on the bounce, are away at mid-table Verwood Town, while East Cowes Vics, fresh from beating Ringwood Town last week, are at Whitchurch United, also in mid-table.

Both sides , who have had good seasons in Division 1, will be aiming to finish in the top half, with neither side able to get any higher than sixth.

In Division 1 of the Harwoods Renault Island League, Whitecroft and Barton Sports could be crowned champions without kicking a ball if Brading Town lose their tricky match at in-form ECS.

Even a draw would be a bridge too far for Brading as W & B are currently 29 goals better off. 

In Division 2, the big game will be between the top two, leaders Bembridge away at Ryde Saints.             

                          TODAY’S FIXTURES (SATURDAY)

Sydenhams Wessex Premier: Cowes Sports v Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Sydenhams Wessex Division 1: Verwood Town v Newport; Whitchurch Utd v East Cowes Vics.

Isle of Wight Unison Junior B Cup, semi-finals: Carisbrooke Utd Reserves v Wootton Reserves; Niton Community Reserves v Bembridge Reserves.

Harwoods Renault Island League, Division 1: ECS v Brading Town; Pan Sports v Northwood St John; Shanklin v Osborne Coburg; Ventnor v Cowes Sports Reserves.

Division 2: Brighstone v Adgestone; Oakfield v Yarmouth & Calbourne; Ryde Saints v Bembridge; Seaview v Niton Community; Wroxall v East Cowes Vics A.

Combination 1: Northwood St John Reserves v Oakfield Reserves; Osborne Coburg Reserves v Shanklin Reserves; Sandown Reserves v ECS Reserves; West Wight Reserves v Brading Town Reserves; Whitecroft & Barton Sports Reserves v Ryde Saints Reserves.

Combination 2: Yarmouth & Calbourne Reserves v Seaview Reserves.


Harwoods Dacia Isle of Wight Senior (Gold) Cup, semi-final: Newport v East Cowes Vics (at Westwood Park, Cowes, KO 7.30pm).