The Men’s 2nd team were up against a high flying Portsmouth 4th team knowing that a loss would make it very difficult to get the promotion they were looking for in their first season in Division 8. The team though started with great intent and were unlucky not to be in front straight from the start as captain Mike Dodds found Thomas Young up front who opted not to shoot but slip the ball to his fellow striker Aaron Edmunds-Lamb. Aaron’s first time sweep lofted over the goal keeper but unfortunately also it just went over the crossbar too. This gave the team a lot of confidence and put Portsmouth on an early back foot and the team dictated the early passages of play. However the Island were unable to find the opening goal and this allowed Portsmouth to grow back into the match and begin to find their feet. It began to be evident why Portsmouth are doing so well as they started putting the Island under immense pressure. However the defence of Johnny Kirby, Stephen McKnight, Will Bevan and the returning Carl Joyce held firm with Lewis Wells in goal saving whatever shots came his way and so the first half ended goalless.
The start of the second half saw the Island side struggling to get any foothold in the game as Portsmouth came out much the stronger.The team held resolute, the midfield of Wightlink Man of the Match Ethan Edmunds-Lamb, Steve Holbrook, Mike Dodds and Charlie Randerson with subs Toby Noyes and John Pearson when called upon working hard to try and plug the gaps that were being exploited. However the pressure eventually took it’s toll when Portsmouth finally took the lead after about 15 minutes, though the goal was taken under very dubious circumstances. Portsmouth’s right winger picked up the ball but was tackled well by Ethan Edmunds-Lamb who nudged the ball onto the player’s foot whereby it was clearly kicked and should have been a free hit to the Island side. Despite some early honesty in the match from the home team the opposition player played on as the umpires had both missed the foul and he ended up getting into the area and scoring. It was a total hammer blow to the side who had done so well up to that point to avoid conceding and whilst the team could have no qualms with currently being second best in the game the manner of the goal being scored was a bitter pill to swallow. The team tinkered with the line-up in an attempt to get back into the match and whilst this was successful in stopping the onslaught of pressure the goal already scored proved pivotal to the match as the Island had to start stretching forwards to find an equaliser but leaving holes behind. The team were unlucky not to score with chances starting to be made again – Thomas Young and Aaron Edmunds-Lamb both coming close, but it was to be Portsmouth who scored again, though this time there was no contention around it. Facing what would be a disastrous defeat the side stuck at it and tried to find a way back into the game, Johnny Kirby closest from a short corner but his first time swept ball was just the wrong side of the upright. With just over 5 minutes remaining the Island finally got the reward for their efforts when Thomas Young found himself one on one with the keeper, though after calmly going round the keeper he only managed to hit the post with his initial effort but he smashed home the rebound from an acute angle into the goal. This setup a nervous finish for Portsmouth as the home team put the pressure back on them, Thomas Young almost ending up in a similar situation but his miss-trap meant the ball harmlessly went off the back line and despite their efforts the match finished soon after for a 1-2 loss. Despite the defeat the team can be very proud of the way they managed to contain a very strong outfit for most of the match and competed, only losing courtesy of a goal that should never have stood, is testament to how well the team has developed over just half a season together and things will only get better from there.
At the Christmas break the team sit 4th in the table, 7 points behind second placed US Portsmouth and 9 points behind leaders Portsmouth.