WHAT was turning into a night of frustration for Cowes Sports, became one of huge celebration as they edged through to the first preliminary round of the FA Cup, thanks to a goal from striker, John McKie.

A poor, scrappy first half, watched by a 205-strong partizan crowd last night (Tuesday), improved after the break as the Yachtsmen pressed for a breakthrough against a resolute Totton and Eling side content on parking the bus and trying to hit Cowes on the break.

Isle of Wight County Press: Cowes winger Aarun Ince puts in a cross.Cowes winger Aarun Ince puts in a cross.

Cowes had to be patient as they struggled to find a way to unlock their stubborn backline and, as the prospect of a penalty shoot-out loomed, they took the lead in the 80th minute.

A free kick from the right of the Totton box was superbly whipped in by Fin Phillips, who found the head of McKie to glance it past the flat-footed Totton keeper, to wild celebrations.  

Isle of Wight County Press: Cowes striker Jared Wetherick misses a golden opportunity to score at the end of the tie. Cowes striker Jared Wetherick misses a golden opportunity to score at the end of the tie.

Cowes substitute Jared Wetherick should have made the game safe when he somehow missed a headed chance from a few yards out, following a pin-point Aarun Ince cross.

The visitors then had time to give Cowes a scare at the death — Ed Hatt bravely saving a point-blank effort, oblivious to the linesman flagging it for offside.

After the game, McKie said: "These games always have the potential to be a banana skin. They sat deep in the low block and were happy to ride out the 90 minutes.

"I think over the 90 minutes, we controlled 85 to 90 per cent of the game and we had to learn to be patient and keep applying the pressure until we got the breakthrough.

"People who know football know that all that matters is the result in these sorts of games.

"The goal was well timed — we'd been knocking on the offer for a while and it was a great ball from Fin.

"I knew I just had to glance it and use the pace of the ball. Fortunately, it worked out well."

Cowes face Hamble Club in the next round on Saturday, September 12, at Westwood Park.

Cowes Sports: Hatt, C.White, McFarlane, Cranwell, Chase, Burford, McKie (capt), L.Wright, Wykes, A.Wright, Phillips. Subs: Snow, Bryan, Wetherick, Conway, Ince, J.White, Law.

  • A full match report with pictures of the action will appear in Friday's edition of the County Press.