After promotion last year the Men’s 2nd team headed into the unknown and off to Bournemouth for their first outing in this league. With a set of new faces into the team this year it was always going to be a little hard going to begin with whilst the team gets to know each other, with full season debuts for Toby Noyes, Will Bevan and Charlie Randerson, however the side was in good spirits as they headed across the Solent. Arriving a little tight for the start time the opposition were happy enough to allow a delayed start thanks to no teams playing afterwards (many thanks to Bournemouth for allowing this!).
Bournemouth started the strongest and immediately began putting pressure on the Island defence and it wasn’t too long before the team found themselves a goal down. The team were a little rocked by this and were unable to even steady themselves before the opposition lead was doubled. At this point the team rallied and began to impose themselves on the match. In one move veteran attacker John Kirby found captain Mike Dodds who strode into the D and fired a shot into the top left corner of the net to reduce the deficit. A few minutes later the same two players combined and an almost identical goal was score, but unfortunately this time the shot went past the post by the narrowest of margins when it looked certain to go in. Unfortunately Bournemouth scored with their next attack to go 3-1 up and with the wind knocked out of the sails the Island conceded again. The island did have a number of very strong chances but were unable to convert meaning they went into the half time break 4-1 down but with lots of positives.
The second half started well for the Island, they continued to forge chances but either were saved, were wide or the final pass was found wanting when in a good position and it was to be the story of the match for the team. The defence of Archie Clark, Pete McKnight, Steve McKnight and Toby were holding strong with Wightlink Man of the Match Sam Bridges marking his senior debut in goal with a string of outstanding saves until a mix up got Bournemouth’s 5th after an unlucky ricochet from an Island foot ended up in the back of the net for an own goal. The island did then manage to get a second goal after the prolific Tom Young found the ball falling to him a few yards out and he reverse flicked the ball into the net. The team pushed hard for the goals their effort deserved but it was Bournemouth who had the final say with a couple of goals before the final whistle. Despite the disappointing 2-7 scoreline the team knows they can play better, and had they took some of the numerous chances things could have been a lot different and so they will head back home for next weeks match against United Services of Portsmouth with their heads held up.
Mike Dodds (Capt), Archie Clark, Aaron Edmunds-Lamb, Charlie Randerson, John Kirby, John Pearson, Pete McKnight, Sam Bridges (GK), Steve McKnight, Toby Noyes, Tom Young, Will Bevan