KARL Hicks bagged a brace as Dorchester Sports moved back to the top of Dorset League Division Two with a hard-fought victory over Portland Town.

The visitors, who currently sit second-bottom, matched the county town outfit throughout and played some great football but they were unable to snatch a point despite pulling one back in the closing stages.

Portland were marginally the better side in the early exchanges but on 14 minutes a long ball over the top caught them napping allowing Hicks to race through and make no mistake from 12 yards.

That gave Sports a huge lift and if it had not been for two great stops from Anthony Luque the deficit at the break could have been much bigger.

Keen to get back into it, Portland came out in the second half and mounted plenty of pressure with Alieu Faye and Elliott Gould both having efforts saved by Sports’ man-of-the-match keeper.

Hicks then grabbed his second with a close-range header on a rare breakaway before Rob Lawrence made it 2-1 just five minutes later with a fine free-kick from 18 yards.

More chances then fell to Town in the closing stages but goal-line clearances and some fine defending thwarted them from snatching a point.

Portland boss Colin Rice said: “I was delighted with the performance – the guys were incredible.

“We are starting to get a settled side now and that is going to bode well for the coming weeks.

“I’ve no doubt at all that we will start to climb the table soon.”