After a stormy trip across the water and downpours on the motorway to Southampton the Men’s 2nd XI arrived just as the weather improved for their match against a young and skillful Southampton Otters side. The match itself got off to a fantastic start for the island though as the home side were left reeling as first Steve Holbrook opened the scoring before Lukas Venga got in on the act shortly afterwards. The island were soaking up the pressure from the a number of attacks from the home side well with Pete McKnight, Steve McKnight, Archie Clark and young Will Bevan in defence and Lewis Wells in goal. The island was struggling to build play up due to the high press the opposition were playing and so counter attacks were the order of the day with skipper Mike Dodds launching a number of aerials over the top of the press to good effect. From one of these attacks the island were unfortunate not to score a few more goals and could easily have gone 3 or 4 up. However, as has summed up a few matches from before, the side has gone on to rue such missed opportunities when just before half time Southampton Otters pulled a goal back.
The second half saw the opposition start to pile on more and more pressue, clearly bouyed by the goal on the stroke of half time for them. The youthful team were proving a real handful through the middle of the park and it seemed inevitable that an equaliser would come so when it did there was little surprise. Chances were starting to dry up for the island as the opposition looked to push for a lead. With legs tiring the island looked to the bench and could see JP ready, could he provide the heroics again and score an unlikely winner? (hint.. he couldn’t). The younger players of Toby Noyes, Will Bevan, Bailey Woodford and Charlie Randerson acquitted themselves well, though it was definitely very tough going out there and as the team struggled the opposition took the lead with a finish from an acute angle.
This really fired up the island, who would have been very disappointed not come away with something for their efforts and so started to really go at their hosts but with time running out it certainly looked as though the team would go empty handed. However with moments left on the clock a through ball found veteran striker Thomas Young through on goal and although his initial shot was saved there was a short corner blown for an infringement from the rebound. As the team were setting up for the short corner the final whistle was blown so it was now or never. The injection was spot on, the trap and push also, and Thomas Young’s bullet strike found the back of the net via a defenders stick. It was nothing less than the team deserved, though they would look at the first half chances missed that would have taken the game fully away from their admittedly superior hosts.
Wightlink Man of the Match went to Thomas Young for staying composed for that late, late strike and big thanks to Harry Kirby for umpiring.