WEYMOUTH SPORTS 2
Portland UNITED RESERVES 2
PORTLAND United Reserves lifted the Dorset Senior League trophy after a 2-2 draw with rivals Weymouth Sports.
The Blues only needed to avoid a 14-goal reverse in order to seal the title and although the encounter was not a classic the post-match celebrations showed exactly what the achievement meant to the players.
United skipper Ben Doidge told Echosport: “It’s just a fantastic way to end a great season.
“We’ve got a cracking bunch of players here at the club, who are honest and hard working, so to win the Senior League and follow on from the success that Stuart Heath has had with the first team just shows what good shape Portland United is in for the future.”
The champions started off brightly with the front two of Tom Bell and Simon Crouch causing the Sports’ defence a few problems early on.
Eventually, top-scorer Crouch steamed on to a headed through ball from James Turrell to put the away side ahead and at that stage it looked like the Blues were in control.
However, Sports were clearly keen to spoil the party and after Russ Green had levelled with a well-worked goal, they took the lead when Sam Culpin’s lob nestled into the net just before half-time.
The Blues looked stunned but in the second period they came out and pinned Sports in their own half for long periods with the pressure finally telling when Crouch teed up Bell for a simple tap-in from six yards.
All the game needed now was a winner and both sides had chances with Culpin firing just wide and Bell being denied by a top-class save from Tony Wyatt following a fine through ball from Steve Churchill.
Sports’ joint-manager Chris Hicks said: “It was a good result and a really good performance.
“The last thing we wanted was for the previous week’s disappointing defeat against Chickerell United Reserves to be our residing memory of the season so to hold the champions was very pleasing, particularly as we were a bit strapped for players again.
“When they went ahead I must admit I feared the worst but the lads dug in and really set about them after that.
“In the second half they got at us a bit more and a couple of saves from Tony kept us in the game but I think a draw was fair in the end.
“The most pleasing thing was the attitude we should and I was particularly delighted with the performances from Callum Davidson and Jonny Rapson, who were our standout performers.
“It was also fantastic to see Stu Dixon back. He has been very poorly recently but the fact he has managed to come through that and play 90 minutes shows incredible character.”