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Wilson hails derby stars
Portland United 4 Bridport Reserves 2
CHRIS Wilson was full of admiration for both sets of players following this thrilling encounter at Grove Corner.
Following three weeks of postponements, this Magna Dorset Premier League clash could have easily descended into a scrappy affair between two rusty teams, but instead it proved a great spectacle with the Blues just holding the edge throughout.
Portland United boss Wilson told Echosport: “Following the over-night rain we had on Friday, I didn’t think it had any chance of being on but the pitch was perfect.
“It was a bit heavy underfoot but it was great to get the game on and I thought for both sets of players to turn in performances like they did after such a long lay-off was excellent.
“Bridport possibly kept the ball a lot better than us but despite having the lion’s share of the possession, they didn’t really turn us a lot and I always felt we looked more incisive.
“We certainly had to work for it though and considering we had 10 players missing it was a really pleasing result and a great squad effort, which is what trying to win titles is all about.”
A stunning set-piece from Alex Halloran opened the scoring in the early exchanges before Ross Doid-ge added a second from the spot on 12 minutes following a foul on Mitch Conning from Sam Day.
The table-toppers looked in command at that stage but Day soon made up for his earlier error by netting two free-kicks either side of half-time to set up an intriguing last 40 minutes.
However, it was the Blues that went on to win it with Lewis Whyton and Conning putting the result beyond doubt to stretch their side’s unbeaten league run to 10 games.
Bees’ boss Robin Townsend, whose side remain fifth, added: “Considering the conditions and the fact both sides hadn’t played for a while it was a good game but you cannot go to a quality side like Portland and give them a two-goal head start, which is exactly what we did.
“We were missing eight players through suspensions and other things but at the same time we were boosted by three first-teamers in Chris and Ben Clarke and Chris Luke.
“Had we been at our strongest we might have done a little better but take nothing away from Portland because they are a fantastic side.
“Ross Doidge and Alex Halloran are both quality players and Mitch Conning caused us problems with his pace.
“However, I still feel individual mistakes cost us and that was the most disappointing thing.”
Next up for Bridport is a home tie against Poundbury Rovers on Saturday (1.30pm) in the last eight of the Dorset Senior Trophy, while the Blues face a tough trip to Wincanton Town (2pm) in the league on the same afternoon.
Blues: Bickerstaff, Halloran, Whyton, Carmichael, Newnham, Doidge, Reader, Halloran, Conning, Smith (Turner 75), McKechnie. Sub not used: Spenceley.
Bees: Fry, Day, A Clarke, King (Herbst 20), C Clarke, Luke, Fleet (Falvey 80), McAllister, Symes, B Clarke, Gale.