PORTLAND United’s pursuit of back-to-back Dorset Premier League titles received a blow on Saturday with a lacklustre performance resulting in defeat at Blandford Recreation Ground.

The hosts scored goals from corners either side of half-time before adding a third on the counter attack late on as the Blues desperately tried to salvage something from the game.

Boss Gary Bailey knows his side have to do a lot better if they are to remain in the hunt for the championship and will be looking for a reaction when the islanders go to Sherborne Town Reserves in their next outing.

Commenting on the weekend’s disappointing result, Bailey said: “It wasn’t a very good performance.

“The pitch was borderline playable towards the end with the rain it had but they coped with the conditions better than we did and we were well below par.

“It wasn’t until we were 2-0 down that we showed a bit of desire to try and get back into the game, but by that time, with the conditions deteriorating, we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

“It wasn’t a very good afternoon and we certainly need to be better than that if we are going to stay in the title race.

“We felt like we looked sorry for ourselves at times.

“Teams aren’t going to roll over. They are going to battle hard against us and unless we match that, especially in difficult conditions, then we are going to come away second best.

“We’ve got an experienced bunch of lads and they know that isn’t acceptable so we’ll look for a reaction from them.”

On the goals his team conceded, he added: “We played some pretty good football in the first half but we went a goal down against the run of play on 15 minutes.

“We didn’t defend a long ball and gave away a cheap corner. We dealt with that but didn’t clear our lines and their lad found the top corner from just outside the box.

“Blandford never really threatened us after that and we made chance after chance but couldn’t score.

“I wasn’t happy at half-time but I thought we had shown enough that with the conditions in our favour it would only be a matter of time before we got our noses in front.

“But we didn’t defend a corner very well and it fell to one of their lads who put it in after about 15 minutes.

“It was always going to be an uphill struggle and they defended with their lives and limited us to very few chances.

“The longer it went on the more desperate we became. We committed men forward but got caught and they scored a third on the break.”

Blues: Weeks, Carter (Mutch 60), Whyton, B Doidge, Holland, Smith, Halloran, R Doidge, McKechnie, Clarke, Linaker. Subs not used: Newnham, Bessant