PORTLAND United hit back to earn a 1-1 draw with struggling Christchurch in their Wessex League Premier Division clash at the Camp & Satherley Stadium.

Going into the game, new boss Graham Kemp had his work cut out for a second spell with the visitors, the Priory occupying 20th of the 21 teams.

However, Christchurch had a lead to hold on to in the first half, despite a barrage of Portland chances.

Ben Morris saw two chances go amiss, while Joel Hewitt, Oli Lowes and Ryan McKechnie also squandered good opportunities to score.

Franklyn Clarke’s men were punished late in half when Luke Chalwell finished off a sharp team move.

Christchurch attacked down the wing and then infiltrated the home box, British Virgin Islands international Chalwell finishing his chance at the back post.

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Portland continued to create chances in the second half, Sam Poole and McKechnie going close for the hosts.

Getting their just rewards midway through the half, Portland equalised through Morris to set up a grandstand finale.

Christchurch enjoyed good spells of their own around the Portland pressure, but it was the Blues who thought they had scored the winner in stoppage time.

Greg Borthwick touched the ball home as Christchurch appealed for a foul on keeper Dul Sukhraj, with referee Nigel Whitfield unmoved.

That was until the linesman flagged for a foul, leaving both sides with a share of the points.

Clarke told Echosport: “We just didn’t take our chances. It wasn’t our best performance but we’ve still got a point from the game, which is the pleasing thing.

“We could’ve won, probably should’ve with the amount of chances we created, but we couldn’t get the second goal.

“Before they went 1-0 up we were dominant. They had minimal chances, scored one and managed to get a draw. They’ve sort of done a job on us.

“But it’s another point in the right direction for us. They played some good football at times, got the goal and it gave them confidence. They grew into the game.

“It gave them something to hold on to and they did. All the teams below us got beaten so it’s a point away from them, if you like.”

The islanders travel to Bashley in league action on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Blues: Edgar, Thomas, Hutchinson, Griffiths, Poole, Williams, Lowes (Walbridge 55), McKechnie, Hewitt, Weedon (Burrows 65), Morris (Borthwick 75). Subs not used: Smith, F Clarke.

Match, match ball, man of the match and programme sponsor: Excelsior Coaches

Man of the match: Sam Poole

Mascots: Josh Woods, Lucas Langdown and Joel Langdown

Attendance: 167