FOOTBALL: Super seven sees Portland to summit

Dorset Echo: HAT-TRICK HERO: Lewis Clarke HAT-TRICK HERO: Lewis Clarke

PORTLAND UNITED 7

SHAFTESBURY TOWN 0

PORTLAND United made sure of top spot in the Dorset Premier League at Christmas after hat-tricks from Adam Linaker and Lewis Clarke saw them to victory against Shaftesbury Town.

With the matches involving rivals Merley Cobham Sports and Hamworthy Recreation being washed out, Portland ran riot at Grove Corner to move two points clear at the summit with a game in hand.

The Blues led 4-0 at the break and continued their dominance in the second half as both Linaker and Clarke completed trebles.

“It’s nice to get a win going into the Christmas break,” said boss Gary Bailey. “The lads can now enjoy their time off and then regroup for the game against Wareham on Saturday.”

Assessing his side’s per-formance, he added: “When both your strikers are scoring it means your team is playing well.

“And there were times during the match when our passing game was the best it has been this season.

“The conditions were really difficult but, it was nice to go with the same side two weekends in a row for the first time this season.

“We played really well in the first half and took a bit of time to get going in the second before winning it comfortably in the end.”

Linaker gave the hosts the lead on 10 minutes, turning in Clarke’s cross, and the latter made it 2-0 midway through the half, reacting quickest to Ed Bastic’s parried shot.

A flowing passing move brought the third goal, this time Smith firing home from the edge of the area, before Linaker converted Ryan McKechnie’s centre.

The visitors showed some fight at the start of the second half but they lacked the penetra- tion needed to breach the Portland defence.

Clarke found the top corner from 25 yards to make it 4-0 on 65 minutes and it didn’t take the striker much longer to grab his third, pouncing on a rebound to get Portland’s sixth.

And Linaker turned in Dan Newnham’s cross from close range to complete the rout and secure his hat-trick in the 89th-minute.

The Blues can consolidate first place in the league table with another three points at home against Wareham Rangers on Saturday (2pm).

Blues: Weeks, Carter (Newnham 60), Whyton, B Doidge, Holland (Gould 55), Smith, R Doidge, McKechnie, Bastic (Jansz-Baker 70), Clarke, Linaker. Sub not used: Mutch Match ball sponsor: Glenys Stewkesbury

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