The Men’s 2nd team continued their turn of form with a dominant 4-2 win against a tough Fareham side who in the end turned out to be their own worst enemies when it came to discipline. The scoreline suggests the game was significantly close than it was but the island could easily have hit double figures if it were not for wasted chances, the post and some inspiring goalkeeping from Lewis Wells’ opposite number. The game started brightly enough for the Island with a couple of decent attacks which came close to putting the island ahead, but it was to be Fareham who opened the scoring as their first foray into the area ended with their center forward dispatching ruthlessly into the bottom corner from the edge of the D. Not to be peturbed by this the Island almost immediately retaliated with Thomas Young scoring into an empty goal after a ball into the D from skipper Mike Dodds rebounded off the post. From here the Island began to pile on the pressure, dominating the midfield with Wightlink Man of the Match Ethan Edmunds-Lamb controlling things alongside Mike Dodds, Charlie Randerson and Tomaz Turjanicová, leaving Fareham feeding off scraps and what came through was dealt with by Johnny Kirby, Steve Holbrook, Will Bevan and Toby Noyes with Lewis Wells called into action rarely but efficiently. At the other end the island were very unlucky not to get a second goal as a deflection up off a Fareham stick from a Johnny Kirby shot at a short corner was missed and the goal disallowed after the umpires conferred believing it to come directly from the attacking shot (it did all happen very quickly to be fair). Chances began to pile up with the forward line of Aaron Edmunds-Lamb and Thomas Young playing well but not quite getting the end product in front of goal with 1-1 the score as the half time whistle blew.
After a quick re-group the team kept the pressure on into the second half as Fareham started to get more and more agitated as the Island continued to dictate the play. From multiple short corners the Island kept knocking with the keeper making some excellent saves, along with numerous shots against the post or just wide from excellent positions frustrating the Island. Another week and it would have looked more like a cricket score, and this could only mean one thing, it was time to bring on John Pearson to add some extra resolve to the team. With the next goal to prove pivotal the Island upped the pressure and they were rewarded when they finally put a short corner away and this time Johnny Kirby was not to be denied as his powerful sweep was hard and low past the keeper. A third goal came swiftly afterwards with Thomas Young swivelling and getting his shot away past the goalie to put the Island side 3-1 up, but even though the Island kept dominating there was still the occasional threat from Fareham and and from one attack they won a short corner which was powered home to reduce the deficit and keep the game tightly poised. This did make for a few nervy moments in defence however going forwards the team continued to create numerous chances, Tomaz Turjanicová going wide after some great work and with the goal at his mercy and Thomas Young guilty of making it a bit too easy when 1 on 1 with the keeper a few times. The game started getting a little tetchy with Fareham starting to lose their heads under pressure with one green card, one player yellow carded twice (the Island unlucky not to be awarded a stroke from one of them) and given a technical red (later rescinded as the second yellow was not for the same offence as originally thought) and another player yellow carded for dissent which put them down to 8 players at one point. The game however was finally put to bed when Thomas Young was found on the edge of the D before turning and firing it home. Even at 4-2 up the Island continued to press but there was to be no more goals as the final whistle blew on a hard fought, but thoroughly deserved victory against a strong and competitive Fareham side. That the team dominated so well against tricky opposition shows how much the team has progressed since the start of the season when the result may have ended up very different but on the day the missed opportunities this time didn’t come back to haunt us.
Big thank you to Aly Townend for umpiring and congratulations to her for passing her level 1 assessment. Also thanks to Elaine Spear who travelled with the team to assess Aly.