PORTLAND United boss Simon Browne felt the Blues “appeared to give up the ghost” during their 5-2 Wessex League Cup loss to Amesbury Town at Grove Corner.

Browne stated that the League Cup “was not too important” a competition but was disappointed with the “manner” of his side’s exit in what he labelled “farcical conditions”.

He told Echosport: “The competition was not too important but the manner in which we have exited has not left me with a particularly good feeling.

“We played in farcical conditions in wind and rain. It did make the game a bit of a lottery but Amesbury have come away with a win and we haven’t.

“We appeared to give up the ghost in the second half. Again, a couple of performances were less than satisfactory.”

Browne fielded a weakened side for the match, but the Blues’ line-up still contained a majority of starting XI regulars and, despite conceding five goals, singled out debutant goalkeeper Taylor Hibbs for praise.

He said: “I did rest a few players and give opportunities to some of the guys that haven’t had a lot of game time. Probably the one that did have a good game was the goalkeeper that conceded five goals.

“Taylor acquitted himself well. He was down in the dumps but I thought he did very well. I certainly wouldn’t be too harsh on him for what happened.

Amesbury took the lead before Sam Buckler levelled with a header, but the next four were bagged by the visitors as Cameron George struck a hat-trick before Sanchez Baker grabbed a consolatory first goal for the club.

“Sam got on the end of a corner with a near-post run and flicked it in, that got us back to 1-1. Unfortunately they struck before half-time which put a dampener on the half-time team-talk.

“The game had gone from us but Sanchez got through and popped one into the bottom corner.

“I’ve learned a little bit about the individuals and me and Carl will sit down and decide what the best side for Saturday will be,” Browne said.

Portland next face Alresford Town away on Saturday in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division (3pm) and will look to end a run of seven league games without a win.

Blues: Hibbs, S Buckler (Bessant 46), Whyton, Holland, Payne, Diaz (Camp 70), Mitchell, McKechnie, Baker, Godfrey, M Buckler. Subs not used: Doidge, Smith, Morris

Attendance: 67

* Match ball sponsors for the game were Kath & Dave Sanderson, while match programme sponsors were Palmer Snell estate agents in Weymouth.