THIS defeat put a huge dent in Chickerell United’s chances of claiming second place in the Dorset Senior League, as they now trail the side that beat them on Saturday by five points having played a game more.

With successive wins behind them going into the fixture, Steve Coward’s team had given themselves renewed hope of clinching the runners-up spot behind champions-elect Westland Sports.

But missing some half-a-dozen regulars from the matchday squad seemed to take its toll on the Chickens, who also had keeper Steve Boore come off injured 10 minutes from time.

Joe Wood gave the hosts the lead during the first half, but Joel Protheroe levelled when the home keeper made a hash of dealing with the Chickerell midfielder’s cross.

Sturminster then went on to score three more times in the second period, though Coward felt things could have been different had the referee given his side a penalty when Steve Welch was impeded.

“If we had won that we would have gone second,” said Coward. “It was a massive disappointment, but 4-1 flattered them a little bit.

“We let in a silly goal from a corner five minutes into the second half and we were on the back foot from then on. We still kept going and we created chances, we just couldn’t finish them off.”

He added: “We went there with 12 players and two of them were injured, and you can’t do that when you’re playing against top teams.

“Key players like Liam Miles, Warren White and Josh Why were missing and that makes a massive difference.”

Defender Matt Guilbert had to play in goal during the closing stages after Boore sustained a hamstring injury.

Chickerell’s next game is away to Okeford United on Saturday.

Chickens: Boore (Guilbert 80), D Welch, Willett, Coles, Ferguson, Campbell-Bell, Stone, Rawlings, Protheroe, S Welch, Etherington