A LATE penalty was enough to put Cowes Sports through to the second preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup against Hamble Club this afternoon (Saturday).

Yachtsmen skipper John McKie was unavailable to play after he picked up a hamstring injury mid-week, which gave ex-Newport striker Jared Wetherick the opportunity up front.

A much leaner looking Wetherick was a threat up front, but he should have given Cowes the lead after 12 minutes when he was put through on goal by the excellent Fin Phillips.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ed Hatt made an important save for Cowes in the first half. FILEEd Hatt made an important save for Cowes in the first half. FILE

Wetherick, with the whole goal to aim at, tried to place his tamely-struck shot into the corner, but Hamble's man mountain of a goalkeeper, Ellis Grant, got down well to save it. 

The Cowes forward was unlucky just before the interval when his flicked header from a Phillips free kick was tipped wide.

From the resulting corner, Wetherick powered a header towards the top corner — only for a defender to superbly clear off the line.

Cowes were fortunate to see a volley drift just wide and a flicked shot brilliantly saved by the foot of Ed Hatt.

Isle of Wight County Press: Fin Phillips had an excellent game for Cowes against Hamble Club. FILEFin Phillips had an excellent game for Cowes against Hamble Club. FILE

In a game with scrappy periods of play, interspersed with some occasional attacking flair by Cowes, the home side were lucky to still have 11 men on the field after captain, Callum Chase, was yellow carded for a lunging, two-footed follow through on a Hamble player on the hour.

Cowes substitute, Jez Conway, made a great difference and the home side started to look more dangerous up front.

He was found in acres of space on the right and, with little support, smashed a shot just over the Hamble bar, with the keeper sprawling.

Within two minutes of Wetherick being substituted, Jimmy Wykes looked like he found a dead end in the Hamble box, but was upended to earn an unlikely penalty on 75 minutes.

Up stepped Ewan Cranwell, who gleefully sent the Hamble keeper the wrong way, to the delight of the 188-strong crowd at Westwood Park. 

Isle of Wight County Press: Ewan Cranwell, in blue, scored from the spot in Cowes Sports's 1-0 win over Hamble Club today (Saturday). FILEEwan Cranwell, in blue, scored from the spot in Cowes Sports's 1-0 win over Hamble Club today (Saturday). FILE

In Division 1 of the Sydenhams Wessex League, Newport led twice away at Verwood Town, but were twice pegged back.

Scott Barron gave Port the lead in the first half, but the hosts equalised just before the break.

Last season's top scorer, Connor Kelly, put Newport back in front, only for the game to end 2-2.

There was joy for East Cowes Vics at Beatrice Avenue as they came from behind to beat Downton 2-1.

Vics went behind after 23 minutes, but they responded superbly with a Liam Newbold strike on 30 minutes.

Harri Catania gave Vics the lead ten minutes later and that's how it stayed.

Today was also the opening day of the Isle of Wight League.

Whitecroft and Barton Sports got off to a perfect start with a 3-1 win away at Binstead & COB, while Shanklin beat ECS 2-1 away.

Brading Town, regarded as one of the sides to watch again this season, were held 2-2 at home to Sandown in the 'Bay Derby' at Vicarage Lane.


Emirates FA Cup, first preliminary round: Cowes Sports 1, Hamble Club 0. 

Sydenhams Wessex League, Division 1: Verwood Town 2, Newport 2; East Cowes Vics 2, Downton 1.

Harwoods Renault Island League, Division 1: Bembridge 3, Ventnor 0; Binstead & COB 1, Whitecroft & Barton Sports 3; Brading Town 2, Sandown 2; Carisbrooke United 2, Ryde Saints 3; ECS 1, Shanklin 2; Northwood St John 4, Vectis 2; West Wight 3, Cowes Sports Reserves 2.

Division 2: Adgestone 2, Wootton 2; Newport A 0, Oakfield 6; Niton Community 3, Osborne Coburg 1; Pan Sports 4, Seaview 3; Wroxall 1, Yarmouth & Calbourne 3.

Combination 1: Oakfield Reserves 1, Northwood St John Reserves 3; Ryde Saints Reserves 0, Binstead & COB Reserves 4; Sandown Reserves 1, West Wight Reserves 5; Seaview Reserves 3, Brading Town Reserves 1; Shanklin Reserves 6, Carisbrooke United Reserves 2; Whitecroft & Barton Sports Reserves 3, ECS Reserves 2.

Combination 2: Wootton Reserves 1, Bembridge Reserves 11; Newchurch Reserves 3, Niton Community Reserves 4; Osborne Coburg Reserves 1, Ryde Saints A 1; Sandown A 2, Vectis Reserves 1.