PORTLAND United came from two goals down to win their top-of-the-table clash with Hamworthy Recreation at Grove Corner and preserve their 100 per cent start to the Dorset Premier League season.

Blues’ boss Gary Bailey was understandably proud of the character his side showed as they battled back to claim a fifth straight success in defence of their league crown.

Luke Stone put Hamworthy in command when he scored his second of the game just after the interval.

However, the islanders didn’t give up hope and they had levelled things up in space of four minutes with strikes from Ashley Smith and Ross Doidge.

And just when it seemed a draw was on the cards, up popped Blues’ captain Lewis Whyton to complete a superb turnaround late on.

“We made hard work of it,” said Bailey. “Hamworthy were good value for their lead.

“They were quicker to the ball than us and our passing was wayward so we never got into a rhythm.

“Ashley Smith over-hit a ball back to Chris Reader for their first goal and Nick Carroll’s clearance was charged down for the second.

“We had changed our shape at half-time and put two men up front to try and take the game to them.

“And credit to my lads, they didn’t give up, and a long ball from Lewis Whyton dropped to Ashley and he made it 2-1.

“We began to pass and move the ball well and Ross Doidge hit a first-time shot into the corner for 2-2.

“We fancied ourselves to go on and win it and in the 88th minute Alex Halloran crossed from the left and Lewis chested it down before smashing it in.”

He added: “The attitude, determination and desire of the lads was absolutely magnificent.

“We know we can play better and we will have to play better, but lesser teams wouldn’t have come back from two goals down.”

Portland are away to Swanage Town & Herston on Wednesday (7.30pm) as they try to make it six wins from six.

Dan Austin (broken toes), Charlie Holland (hip) and Clarke (work) are all likely to be missing but Charlie May will return to the squad.

“Our confidence is obviously high after the start we have had but we won’t be taking anything for granted and I will be looking for us to maintain the standard we have set so far,” added Bailey.

Blues: Carroll, Bessant, Whyton, Carmichael, Reader, Halloran, McKechnie, Bastick (Price 60), R Doidge, Smith, Clarke (Linaker 70). Subs not used: Mutch, B Doidge

Matchball sponsor: Neil Morris

Attendance: 148