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Ireland adds to Portland's woes
PORTLAND UNITED RESERVES 1
WESTLAND SPORTS 2
WESTLAND Sports avenged their defeat to the islanders back in September thanks to a late Pete Ireland strike at Grove Corner.
The centre-orward got the winner five minutes from the end after Dan Skelton had cancelled out Sam Carney’s opener.
Defeat for Portland sees their run without a win in the Dorset Senior League stretch to 10 games with a home encounter against Witchampton United up next.
But as far as stand-in manager Nick Preston – covering for Steve Coward – was concerned the hosts put in a performance they can be proud of.
“Considering Westland Sports are one of the best sides in the league and they had a lot more experience in their side I thought we put on a good show,” he said.
“We looked a lot more solid and defended very well so I was happy that we had kept it at 0-0 at half-time,” he said.
“We conceded a sloppy goal around the hour mark. They had a penalty which hit the bar and we didn’t react quickly enough to the rebound and their player headed it in.
“Our response was good and Dan Skelton headed in a free-kick at the back post for an equaliser we thoroughly deserved.
“But we didn’t deal with a long ball down the middle in the last five minutes and we were caught cold, which was very disappointing.
“But it was definitely an improvement from a young set of lads and there were some positives to take from it.
“We have been shipping quite a few goals but we did look more resolute at the back and reverted to a 4-4-2 with Che Curran and Tom Arliss both standing out for me.”
Chris Theakstone was picking the ball out of his net inside the first 10 minutes but to his relief Sam Farthing’s header was ruled out for a foul on the keeper.
The stopper then saved from Ireland and repeated the feat just before the interval.
But it was the Westland striker who had his heels clipped for the penalty on 55 minutes which Farthing struck the woodwork with before Carney raced in to make it 1-0.
Within four minutes Portland were level when Skelton sent a looping header over the keeper and into the net.
The visitors dominated possession for the next 10 minutes but after Ireland had been guilty of squandering several gilt-edged chances he redeemed himself.
Another perfect through ball put him in behind the Portland defence and this time his shot found the far corner.
Blues: Theakstone, Kelly, Turner, Curran, Preston, D Skelton, B Skelton, Townley (Tug-well 65), Hansford (Guilbert 70), Boatswain, Arliss