FOOTBALLCowes Sports 1, Tadley Calleva 0
TEENAGE goalkeeper Joe Winchcombe made his first-team debut for Cowes Sports on Saturday — and made some fine saves to preserve the Yachtsmen’s slender lead.
Winchcombe, 18, who has excelled for the reserves, was solid between the posts while Darren WILLIAMS’S ninth-minute strike proved to be the difference.
The goal came when Tom Dye threaded a superb ball into the box for Williams to slide his 16th goal of the season past the advancing keeper.
Gareth Bricknell had two chances to double the lead but he fired Max Draper’s cross wide at the far post and then saw his shot saved by the keeper’s legs as he ran on to Dom Burbidge’s through-ball.
The home forwards were a constant threat, but the Tadley defence somehow kept them out, man of the match Ash Brett, Burbidge and Dye twice going close.
The visitors had their moments though and when the ball was played across the face of the goal, Aidan Bryan made a miraculous goal-line clearance before an attacker could get the final touch.
Tadley had ridden their luck in the first half but Winchcombe was forced to acrobatically tip a goal-bound effort over the bar as they threatened an equaliser but Cowes hit back and when Bricknell fed him on the edge of the box, Brett smacked his drive against the crossbar.
The Cowes skipper then had two more good chances, but saw the first blocked by the keeper while the second came back off of the upright after good work by Burbidge down the right wing.
Cowes Sports: Winchcombe, Draper, Davies, Bryan, Wilson, Brett, Ince, Dye, Burbidge, Williams, Bricknell. Subs: Insley, Wykes, Allen, Thurman.