PORTLAND UNITED 7 SWANAGE TOWN & HERSTON 3
JOE Toghill and Adam Linaker both bagged hat-tricks as Portland showed their class in a dominant second-half showing at Grove Corner.
The Blues were forced to dig deep to see off plucky Swanage who had belied their lowly Magna Dorset Premier League position with a spirited first-half performance.
Indeed it was only when Linaker neatly tucked home his second of the afternoon from the penalty spot to make it 5-3 15 minutes from time that the hosts looked to have gained full control after the sides had been locked at 3-3 going into the break.
The Blues had been far from comfortable at the back in an open first half and boss Chris Wilson believed his charges had been far too susceptable to the counter attack before the break.
A satisfied Wilson said: “We were too open and we were causing ourselves lots of problems by losing the ball in the final third throughout the first half.
“Although we were playing well as individuals, collectively we were not functioning and it was clear we were not set up right. But, having changed our shape after the break we looked a lot more solid and we were much more of a threat going forward too.”
The Swans got off to a flying start inside four minutes when Jamie Holl-and’s free-kick came back off the wall and his second attempt flew home in off the far post.
Seconds later, Ashley Weeks did well to thwart Jake Harrop before the Blues found an equaliser with their first real attack in the ninth minute.
Impressive Carl Mutch found Linaker who neatly beat keeper Judd Huse with a fine left-foot finish only to see the Swans add their second six minutes later when Aaron Scott wriggled past Scott Henley before firing low and hard beyond Weeks.
Midway through the half, Linaker played in Mutch whose shot was deflected by Paul Yerby for a corner from which Toghill netted his first of the afternoon with a stunning strike that found the far corner for 2-2.
The goals then dried up for 20 minutes until Alex Halloran volleyed home an Ashley Smith centre and then Linaker was bundled over by Yerby for what looked a clear penalty.
However, the referee was having none of it and instead of a 4-2 half-time lead the Blues were stunned seconds before the break as Scott picked out Lee Mullins who coolly slotted home for three apiece.
Scott forced Weeks into an early save at the start of the second period but the home side began to take charge and full-back Dan Newnham very nearly scored on his first start for the club when charging down a clearance from Huse.
From the resultant Toghill corner, Linaker headed against the back post but the former had the ball in the net two minutes later when he seized on a Smith cross-field pass to slip a shot beyond Huse for 4-3.
In the 74th minute, substitute Mitch Conning would surely have scored but was taken out by the keeper for a clear penalty.
Huse was lucky to get away with a yellow card but Linaker converted the spot- kick and the Blues could boast a 6-3 advantage when Toghill completed his hat-trick with a drive that found the top corner.
Linaker then rounded off the scoring and his own treble when he latched on to Toghill’s flick and carefully lobbed the keeper.
Blues: Weeks, Newnham, Carmichael, Doidge, Whyton, Henley, Smith (Conning 71), Halloran, Mutch (Reader 59), Linaker, Toghill (Dailey 90).