FOOTBALL: Portland fail to raise their game

Dorset Echo: WENT CLOSE: Portland’s Simon Crouch WENT CLOSE: Portland’s Simon Crouch

GILLINGHAM TOWN RES 1

PORTLAND UNITED RES 0

PORTLAND’S second-half display at Hardings Lane left Chris Hicks questioning his side’s desire.

The Blues produced some great football in the opening 45 minutes on a difficult pitch but, as the game wore on, their efforts dropped allowing Gillingham to snatch a 1-0 victory.

Player-boss Hicks told Echo-sport: “In the first half we played really well.

“We produced some of the best football we have played this season on a surface that continued to cut up as the game went on.

“The problem we had was that we just couldn’t score.

“We put numerous balls into the box but people could not get on the end of them and we lacked the anticipation to take advantage.

“Scoring goals has been a little bit of a frustration so far this season and, for some reason, in the second half our performance just got worse and worse.

“The lads just seemed to throw it in and their overall attitude was really poor.

“We stopped closing down and pressuring the second ball, which eventually led to their goal.

“After that, there was no reaction at all. No one stepped up to try and make a difference, and afterwards I was not very happy at all.

“A few words were said at the end of the game and probably a few more will be said later this week because the way we fell away just wasn’t accep- table.”

When asked why he thought his side failed to raise their game after the break, Hicks added: “It was probably a bit of frustration.

“You always need to score when you are on top in this game and we didn’t do that.

“However, frustration is still no excuse and something clearly needs to change.”

Winger James Hansford had the beating of his marker for much of the afternoon and provided plenty of ammunition for Portland but, on the day, they looked short up front.

Simon Crouch went closest for the Blues in the opening minutes but, apart from that, they failed to test the Gilling- ham keeper enough and paid the price when the hosts grab- bed the winner with a fine fin- ish in the second half.

Next up for Portland is a trip to Piddletrenthide United this coming Saturday (2pm).

The Blues currently sit sixth in the Dorset Senior League, six points off the top having played more games than all the teams above them.

Blues: Bickerstaff, Bessant (Hicks 80), Burton, D Skelton, Newnham, Hills (Gould 50), Camp, Mutch, Boatswain, Hansford, Crouch.

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