With key players still missing to the first team the Men’s development team headed up the A3, bouyed by the previous week’s excellent performance against league leaders Portsmouth but knowing that anything less would likely prove costly. Forced to start with a young forward line of Aaron Edmunds-Lamb and Will Bevan the team was a little slow out of the blocks. Despite this the midfield of captain Mike Dodds, Steve Holbrook, Ethan Edmunds-Lamb and Charlie Randerson starting to connect with the forward two and began creating chances. It wasnt too long before the Island were unlucky not to score when Mike Dodds powered into the D but his shot was miss-hit and came to nothing. A few minutes later a short corner was awarded to the Island with the resulting shot from the skipper being intentionally stopped on the line by a Petersfield defender’s foot. The defender was lucky to remain on the pitch but the resultant penalty stroke was put away calmly by Mike Dodds, getting some margin of justice for his shot being saved illegally. The team piled on the pressure even more and they counted themselves unfortunate that they did not double their lead almost straight away when Ethan Edmunds-Lamb got the ball through to Mike Dodds again and his strike from the top of the D was just off as it slammed against the left post and out of harms way by the defence. At this point the Island’s defence did not have an awful lot to do, Lewis Wells in goal hardly had a save to make with Steve McKnight, John Peatfield, Archie Clark and Toby Noyes mopping up the pressure to release the midfield to create more chances. The Island did finally get the reward for their hard work when Petersfield were caught out yet again by Mike Dodds who strode in on the right side of the D and smashed the ball across goal with Will Bevan finding himself in the right place at the right time to score his first senior goal by diverting the ball home with a smartly taken first time finish. 2-0 at half time but it could have been more and with this game being the very definition of two halves the team saw how costly the missed chances were.
With the second half starting it was clear from the off that Petersfield were raising their intensity, giving no time for Island players on the ball and forcing a number of errors from players. It was immediately clear that the team were going to have to knuckle down to protect their lead, so it was particularly gutting that Petersfield’s first goal was a little sloppy – the ball crashing through 3 or 4 Island players to find itself delicately placed between the defenders and Lewis Wells in goal. It seemed like an age the ball sat there but the first to react was a Petersfield player who found himself with just the keeper to beat and he made no mistake. The Island were starting to struggle for consistency with Petersfield now running rampant, even the introduction of John Pearson and Tony Edmunds-Lamb could do nothing to stop the pressure. It wasn’t too long before they then leveled the scores from a slick short corner routine before then taking the lead with a crashed ball into the D being deflected past the stunned Lewis Wells. The team did start to show some fightback and from a rare attack did manage to win a short corner which was neatly struck home by Mike Dodds for his second of the match to even the scores at 3-3 with around 5 minutes to play. As in the first match against Petersfield though the team had to try and survive some nervy last few minutes, but this time their luck was to run out as with the final play of the game Petersfield fired home from a short corner to win the game. Despite the loss though the team can be proud, especially with their first half performance and can take heart from getting back into the match when under such a lot of pressure during the second half. With the league leaders well clear anyway it will be all about building up their performances and so lessons learnt will be very important when it comes to next season. Wightlink Man of the Match was Toby Noyes for his excellent performance on the left side of the defence, he connected well with the midfield and made some important tackles.