IT was a bit like Groundhog Day for all concerned at St Mary’s Field on Saturday as Lewis Clarke turned out to be Portland United’s match winner for the second time in eight days against the Bees.

Clarke, who had scored twice in Portland’s cup win in West Dorset the previous Saturday, struck again to give Gary Bailey’s troops a vital victory in their push for the Dorset Premier League crown.

This time, it was a penalty early in the first half that did the damage, the three points good enough to move the islanders up to third in the table following Hamworthy Recreation’s narrow loss to Mer-ley Cobham Sports.

It may have been a scrappy affair but Bailey was delighted to see the Blues get over the line.

He said: “We huffed and puffed and probably just edged the possession and chances in the first half.

“After Lewis had scored, Antony Carlile had a shot from outside the box that hit the post and rolled across the line.

“If we had got the second goal we would have been a bit more comfortable.

“Lewis Whyton had a good header saved and Ashley Weeks made a fine stop to keep us in front.

“Bridport shaded the second half without being outstanding themselves and the game became a bit stop-start.”

He added: “We did what we had to do and I was really pleased we kept a clean sheet as well as getting the three points.

“When you play a side a week after beating them you have to guard against complacency because they will have a point to prove.”

Bailey’s opposite number Robin Townsend was much happier with the Bees’ performance this time around and felt the hosts were unlucky not to claim a point in the end.

He said: “It was a miles better performance from us this time and I thought the game was pretty even.

“They probably shaded the first half but we were much the better side in the second half.

“Midway through we had a goal disallowed but I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

“Ben Clarke took the ball on his chest, swivelled and beat the keeper, but the referee gave handball.

“With two minutes to go, we had a shot and their lad has jumped up with his arm in the air and it looked like it hit him on the arm.

“Everyone appealed but the referee waved them away.”

Bees: B Fleet, A Clarke, Lock, McClements, Herbst, Stewart, Day (Fry 65), Hailu (Cummings 70), Gale (Annetts 75), Jones, B Clarke

Blues: Weeks, Smith, Whyton, Carmichael, Newnham, Mutch (Bastic 46), R Doidge, Carlile, McKechnie, Linaker (B Doidge 75), L Clarke

* Before the match, both teams observed a minute’s silence in memory of former Portland United manager Barry Lawley, who sadly passed away last week.