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Last-gasp Portland through to final
WEYMOUTH RESERVES 4 PORTLAND UNITED 5
JAKE Richmond was immensely proud of his Terras despite suffering the heartache of losing a 4-1 lead in the most controversial of circumstances.
Portland United showed incredible character to hit back in this Dorset Premier League Cup semi-final, but Lady Luck also offered them a huge helping hand in one of the most extraordinary games ever witnessed at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
The gulf in experience between the two sides could not have been much bigger.
The visiting squad boasted six players that have turned out for Weymouth’s first team in the past while the Terras fielded a total of eight under-20s all aspiring to follow in their footsteps.
In fact, most onlookers expected the islanders to cruise through this one but the home side’s young guns had very different ideas.
Richmond told Echosport: “It was mental and to lose after being 4-1 up was gutting, but at the same time I was immensely proud of every single one of my players.
“We really wanted to win this one but in the cold light of day I have been left angered by a couple of decisions.
“That said take nothing away from Portland because they are the best side in the league and the character they showed to come back was fantastic.
“They have a lot of experience in their side and I really hope they go on and win it now.
“As for us, we had eight under-20s take to the field so to push Portland all the way like we did was an incredible effort.
“They gave me everything and were on it from the start and it’s just a shame we couldn’t see it out, but sometimes in football you don’t always get what you deserve.”
There were several debatable decisions throughout this fiery contest but it was the build-up to Portland’s fourth goal and the amount of injury time that proved the biggest talking points.
Richmond added: “I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes but their fourth goal should not have stood.
“A high ball came in and our keeper Chris Povall clearly had it under control in both hands when he got whacked in the middle and steamrollered into the back of the net.
“If that was a goal then I don’t understand the rules of football.
“In fact, they must have got the referee from Twickenham because it was more like a rugby lineout.
“Also, where all the injury-time came from I do not know. When I stopped my watch for the end of the second half it was on 58 minutes which was quite frankly embarrassing.”
When asked for his thoughts on what transpired, Portland manager Chris Wilson said: “From a coaching point of view it was a mess of a game really but take nothing away from Weymouth because they were on it from minute one to the end.
“All of their goals could have been avoided and I thought there might have been a foul on Ryan McKechnie in the build up to their third, but even at 4-1 down I would be lying if I said I thought we were out of it at that stage.
“However, I have to say I thought our fourth goal was a foul and had the roles been reversed I would have felt very aggrieved indeed.
“It was given though and in the end we managed to capitalise on it by going on to grab the winner.
“It was the most bizarre game I have ever been involved in but now is not the time for me to be dragging my players through the dirt.
“They know we cannot afford to concede goals like that but the way they came back and refused to be beaten was fantastic and all I can do is praise them for that.”
Going on to comment on the amount of added time, Wilson said: “According to my watch the referee added on an extra 11 minutes and where that came from I do not know.
“But my heart really goes out to Chris Povall because it was a foul on him and in the end it cost them the game.”
It was a blood-and-thunder contest from the outset with a defensive mistake between Ryan McKechnie and keeper Ashley Weeks allowing Simon Crouch to put the Terras ahead in only the second minute.
Adam Linaker then equalised midway through the first half before Sanchez Baker scored at the second attempt to put the hosts back in front just after the break.
The Terras were now full of confidence and, when Matt Morley made it 3-1 following a lightning quick counter-attack from a Portland corner, it looked like a shock was on the cards.
Luke Winsper then struck from a free-kick to put the hosts in dreamland, only for things to quickly unravel into a nightmare.
Ashley Smith made it 4-2 before Scott Henley headed in a corner to cut the deficit to just one with four minutes to go.
The Blues were rampant and the pressure eventually hit boiling point in the third minute of injury-time when Povall appeared to be shoved into the net by Linaker.
Extra-time was now on the cards but five minutes later Maxted went on to scramble in the winner from another corner to leave Weymouth completely devastated.
Richmond concluded: “I love my players and there were some great performances out there and every single one of them should be proud of their efforts
“I could have easily put a few older heads in the side for the game but we promised to bring through the youngsters and this performance shows just what potential they have.
“The fact around 100 people also came down to watch was fantastic and I would like to thank our fans in particular for their tremendous support.
“I know they were as disappointed as we were afterwards but hopefully they can see what we are trying to do.”
Portland will meet Holt United in the final after the Bulls defeated Hamworthy Recreation 2-0 in the other last-four tie.
Terras: Povall, Harvey (Anstey 90+6), Holland, Doidge, Sharpe, Beals, Winsper, Morley, Zima, Crouch (Frame 65), Baker. Subs not used: Brown, Taylor.
Blues: Weeks, McKechnie, Whyton, Henley, Carmichael (Maxted 60), Skelton (Conning 55), Doidge, Halloran, Smith, Toghill (Newnham 75), Linaker.