Two of our Isle of Wight Wessex League clubs were in action this afternoon (Saturday, February 10), as Cowes faced in-form title challengers, and Port welcomed the side one spot above them in Division One.

AFC Portchester 2 – 2 Cowes Sports

The Yachtsmen went into the match aiming to end their opponents, AFC Portchester’s, fantastic run of form in the Wessex League Premier Division so far in 2024 with a win at The OneSite Group Stadium.

Portchester started better of the two sides, with the home bench celebrating a shot which hit the side netting – thinking it had gone in – within one minute.

Despite this early scare, it was the Islanders who would draw first blood just after ten minutes.

George Colson collected the ball in the middle and played a long ball, which was headed down by a Portchester defender into the feet of Caleb Neale.

Neale carried the ball forward and played through Connor KELLY on the edge of the box, who saw his deflected shot loop over the keeper and into the top right corner.

Just before the half-hour mark, a corner found Porchester’s Izzy KABA, who tucked home to equalise -despite two dubious challenges not going Cowes’ way in the build-up.

Portchester would take the lead moments before half-time, after a ball whipped in from the right found Liam ROBINSON in the middle, whose thumping header left Yachtsmen keeper Ed Hatt no chance.

Isle of Wight County Press: Liam Robinson's thumping header against Cowes SportsLiam Robinson's thumping header against Cowes Sports (Image: AFC Portchester)

Following the ref’s whistle at the start of the second half, it was Portchester again on the front foot, another corner won by a Portchester head – this time cleared off the line by Hatt.

However, on the hour-mark, the fall fell to John McKie, wide on the right, who crossed into an unmarked Scott MCFARLANE, who smashed it into the back of the net from six yards.

The Yachtsmen defended brilliantly for the remainder of the game, despite a series of strong Portchester chances, and held out to secure a well-earned point on the road.

Cowes sit in eighth, just one point behind fifth and games in hand on the two teams between them.

The Islanders look ahead to face bottom-side Lymington Town on Tuesday (February 13) at Westwood Park.

Newport 2 – 1 Verwood Town

Newport welcomed the side directly above them in the league, Verwood Town, to Beatrice Avenue this afternoon.

A mix-up at the back for Verwood allowed Harry CATANIA to pounce and open the scoring for Newport on the half-hour mark.

Isle of Wight County Press: Harry Catania in the build up to Newport's first goalHarry Catania in the build up to Newport's first goal (Image: Graham Brown)

Port did well to hold onto half-time, keeper Leon Pitman called into action to keep the score at one-nil.

Just a couple of minutes after the break, the visitors had brought themselves level after Harrison WHITELAW put it in the back of the Newport net.

The Islanders almost put themselves back in front in the 54th after Jordan Browne’s free-kick forced a good save from the Verwood number one, Reece Mitchell.

On 63 minutes, Port’s Sonny MYRAM put the home side in front, just two minutes after replacing Dexter Malin. A super sub from manager Steve Brougham.

The final ten minutes of the game saw Verwood ramp up the pressure, but Port held strong and sent the visitors packing empty-handed.

Newport sit in 16th, with up to nine games to play before catching up with the clubs around them, and travel to the league’s bottom club – with just two points in 22 matches – New Milton Town on Tuesday night.

Folland Sports P – P East Cowes Vics

Meanwhile, play-off chasing East Cowes Vics saw their match away at Folland Sports called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Vics are not back in action again until next Saturday (February 17) when they travel to strugglers AFC Aldermaston – one of the league’s furthest away journeys this season.