THE Yachtsmen are staring at the relegation trap-door after conceding a late goal in their re-arranged Sydenhams Wessex Premier fixture last night (Tuesday).

Cowes dominated the first 20 minutes — missing some half-chances — but fell behind when a shot was unluckily parried by keeper Ed Hatt into the path of a Badgers striker to tap in.

The Islanders continued to force the pace, but failed to test the home keeper and were lucky not to go further behind just before the break when Brockenhurst hit the post.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cowes Sports keeper Ed Hatt (pictured) stopped two goalbound efforts, but was unlucky to see both finished off by Brockenhurst players close in.  Photo: Graham Brown

But caretaker boss John McKie’s half-time team talk worked wonders as Cowes levelled on 51 minutes through skipper Gareth Bricknell, who bent a free kick from 20 yards around the wall and into the corner.

Cowes continued to press for a winner, but in the final minute the home side scored rom close range after Hatt saved a deflected free kick.

In injury time, the Yachtsmen fashioned a chance, which saw a shot blocked and the rebound fired over the bar.

After the game, player-manager McKie was bitterly disappointed with the result and the way they lost, but was defiant ahead of the return match against Brockenhurst on Saturday.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Player-manager John McKie (on the ball) was disappointed with result, but pleased with performance. FILE

"We're all gutted," said McKie.

"We dominated the game and they had two half-chances — and somehow scored.

"Our system is really showing good signs and Brockenhurst couldn't handle us.

"But in football you have to take your chances when you're on top and not make silly errors — and that's what we did.

"I'm so proud of how the boys performed. They left everything on the pitch in horrendous conditions and I couldn't have asked for more.

"They all know, come Saturday when we have Brockenhurst at home, they're going to be in for a game and we are determined to make sure the outcome won't be the same as last night."

Kick off against Brockenhurst, at Westwood Park on Saturday, is 3pm.

Cowes Sports: Hatt, Cranwell, Sexton, Chase, Brett, Broomfield, Appell, Phillips, McEnery, Bricknell (capt), McKie. Subs: Conway, Vyse, Allen, Watkins, Gearing.