The Mens 2nd team had to make the trip over the water for their penultimate home match and welcomed Fareham to a blustery Portsmouth. After the first, tight and rather tetchy match against this side earlier in the season, the Island side knew they would have a tough game on their hands, and so it proved. Straight from the start the team struggled to get themselves going, which enabled Fareham to build up some pressure. The defence of Archie Clark, Pete McKnight, Carl Joyce and Wightlink Man of the Match Toby Noyes were dealing well with the pressure, but were not getting the support from further forwards that was needed. Eventually however, the pressure did tell as one of Fareham’s younger midfielders did well to open up an opportunity and buried the ball past Lewis Wells in the Island goal. Realising they needed to up their game the home side immediately counted and won a short corner which John Kirby made no error in smashing past the Fareham keeper to level up the scoreline at 1-1, the perfect response to going behind. The rest of the half saw little opportunities for either side and the teams went into the break all square.
There was definite improvement in the second half, though the Island were still not quite getting their full game going. The midfield of captain Mike Dodds, Steve Holbrook, Will Bevan and Ethan Edmunds-Lamb, ably supported by substitutes Charlie Randerson and John Pearson were starting to build a head of steam, working the ball up to the forwards Aaron Edmunds-Lamb and John Kirby and starting to create some chances, however the Island continued to be frustrated by Fareham as they were unable to capitalise on any of them. Veteran defender John Pearson was shown a green card part way through the half after knocking the ball away from a free hit, but Fareham were unable to make the extra man work for them as chances for them were few and far between – though a few penalty corners for them were dealt with well by Lewis Wells and the defence. The Island had to wait a while before they finally took the lead, John Kirby with a shot which beat the keeper at the near post but was stopped by a defenders foot behind him for a penalty stroke to be awarded. After a nervous wait while the oppposition umpire queried the decision the penalty stroke decision remained and Mike Dodds stepped up and calmly slotted it home for a 2-1 lead. At this point the team started to dominate the match a little more and won a string of penalty corners, and one of these was well worked with Steve Holbrook slipping the ball for Mike Dodds to flick home his second of the match and the Island’s third for a 3-1 victory. Not the prettiest of games but seeing the team ground out the win against a tough opponent when not at their best was pleasing and bodes well for the future. With two matches to play the team sit 4th in the table and only need a point from their final two games to finish the league in that position.