THE Blues are now just two points off top spot in the Dorset Premier League after they leapfrogged Merley Cobham Sports on Saturday.

A 3-0 win away at Shaftesbury and a draw for Merley against Bridport Reserves means Portland are now in second place with three games in hand on leaders Weymouth Reserves.

Their performance at Cockrams wouldn’t have won any awards but boss Gary Bailey was more than pleased with another gritty victory.

“It was a good result but we didn’t play particularly well,” he said. “We know we can play better than that but it was all about the three points, and that’s three clean sheets in a row, which is very pleasing.”

Portland were without striker Lewis Clarke, the match winner in their previous two outings, but Adam Linaker, Alex Halloran and substitute Ben Doidge stepped up to the plate to secure the triumph.

Bailey added: “We took the lead after five minutes when Adam Linaker scored from close range.

“It was a good build up with Ashley Smith finding Ross Doidge who went one-on-one with the keeper, beat him and then squared the ball to Adam.

“Then we got dragged down a bit as they put a lot of men behind the ball. We had a lot of possession but didn’t really go anywhere.

“We got a bit lethargic and were lacking in intensity without looking in any danger.

“On 35 minutes, a good ball from Antony Carlile found Ross in the area, the ball sat up and he hit a half-volley but the keeper made a great save.

“Right on half-time, Adam was put clean through and beat the keeper but missed the target.

He went on to add: “We played okay in the second half without being great.

“Alex Halloran scored from 12 yards on 60 minutes to make it 2-0 and we were never in any danger of losing the game after that.

“Three minutes from the end, Ben Doidge scored a third with the best move of the game. He played a give and go with Ashley and found the bottom corner.”

The Blues would have been facing Weymouth next on Saturday but that has been put back because of the DPL representative XI’s cup semi-final the same day.

Blues: Weeks, Smith, Whyton, Carmichael, Newnham (Gould 70), Mutch (Jansz-Baker 65), Halloran, R Doidge, McKechnie, Carlile (B Doidge 60), Linaker