A STALEMATE with Sherborne Town Reserves saw Gary Bailey’s Portland United leave the door slightly ajar for Hamworthy Recreation, as the Dorset Premier League title race hots up.

After surviving some early scares from the home side, Bailey’s men began to settle with chances falling to Anthony Carlile, Ross Doidge, Lewis Whyton and Carl Mutch, but Portland failed to find the net in what was a frustrating evening in front of goal.

And, as the second period progressed, it looked like Carlile had broken the deadlock when his shot beat the Sherborne goalkeeper, only for the effort to cannon off a post.

Substitute Simon Crouch then saw his well-struck volley saved with minutes left, but despite the scoreline, Bailey remained upbeat with his troops’ efforts.

He said: “It’s not the result we were looking for, especially after dropping points in our previous games but I'm not sure I could ask for any more from my players.

“That was their third game in five days and it was our best all- round performance of all three.

“We created more than enough chances to win the game and that’s my only criticism of them, when you have periods in games when you are on top, you have to score and, at Sherborne, we were not clinical enough.

“Some of our finishing was wasteful but we also hit the post twice and their keeper has made some great stops.

“Credit to Sherborne, they played well and also had chances themselves in what was a good game of football.”

Commenting on the destiny of the league crown, the Blues’ Boss added: “Things are still in our own hands in the league and we now have a break to rest up and start preparing for the cup final next week.”

Blues: Weeks, Smith (Crouch), Whyton, Carmichael, Newnham, Bessant, Halloran, McKechnie, R Doidge, Mutch (Jansz-Baker), Carlile (B Doidge)