East Cowes Vics took on what their manager described as the "biggest game" of his team's season to date, welcoming fellow playoff hopefuls, Alresford Town, on Saturday, February 24.

Full time score: East Cowes Vics 1-1 Alresford Town

At the start of the day, Wessex League Division One side Vics sat in fifth, six points behind their fourth-placed opponents, and one point inside the playoff positions, ahead of rivals Cove. 

Before the 3pm kick off at Beatrice Avenue, Vics boss Alex Smith said: "At the start of the season, I had my sights set on a top-half finish. Now we find ourselves in a position where we're in a very real fight for the playoffs."

Isle of Wight County Press: Jacob Reynolds wins the ball from a corner.Jacob Reynolds wins the ball from a corner. (Image: Graham Brown)

Isle of Wight County Press: Josh Neale in a challenge with an Alresford defender.Josh Neale in a challenge with an Alresford defender. (Image: Graham Brown)

It was Vics who started strongest.

A free-kick on the right, crossed in by Ji Nash in the 7th, flashed across the Alresford goal, narrowly missing Liam Newbold, for a simple tap at the back post. 

In the 20th, a perfect looping ball into the box, by Brad Young, was touched down and played across the face of the goal, into the path of Charlie Marsek, who placed it past the keeper from close range - a beautifully worked goal. 

A long throw, just before half time, by Josh Neale, reached the six yard box and a backheel flick from skipper, Callum Chase, went just wide of the post.

However, in stoppage time, the visitors found an equaliser - a great strike by Scott Hills, which left no chance for Vics keeper, Jamie Linnington.

In the 55th, Vics supporters were in uproar, after a sliding challenge by an Alrseford defender in the box took all man and no ball, but the referee waved it away.

Alresford had the bulk of the chances in the second half, but good defending by Vics and a couple of interventions from Linnington kept the score level.


Isle of Wight County Press: Ji Nash evades two Alresford defendersJi Nash evades two Alresford defenders (Image: Graham Brown)

Vics had a second penalty shout in the 74th, following some intricate play down the right.

Jacob Reynolds pinged the ball out left, which was carried forward by Josh Neale, and played it back inside, to Reynolds, who hit the ground following a challenge. Nothing was was given.

Some Alresford pressure at the end was held off by the Islanders, who had to settle for sharing the points.

Next up for Vics is another huge battle, away at Cove on Saturday, March 2.

Meanwhile, Cove fell 4-1 away at third place Hamworthy Recreation, keeping Vics in fifth - two points clear of sixth.