PORTLAND United Reserves crashed out of the Dorset Senior Trophy at the quarter-final stage after being well beaten by higher league Merley Cobham Sports.

Portland's hopes of reaching the semi-final for the second successive season were denied in frustrating circumstances as a player pulled out early due to illness for the reserves while three players were called up to the first team in the space of 24 hours.

The day didn't get any better for the patched up Portland side, as early as the fourth minute the home side were awarded a penalty when Leon Attree slid in and was adjudged to have deliberately handled the shot as Merley converted the resulting spot kick.

Portland did have a spell of good possession for 15 minutes midway through the half and created several good chances as Liam Gould's free-kick was parried with Aiden Jackson unable to convert the follow up.

Merley ended the resurgence by scoring after a goalmouth scramble and then again right on the stroke of half-time to make it 3-0 to the home side.

After the break Merley dominated possession with Portland legs tiring and added four more goals but Portland did pull one back when Jackson fired home after being put clean through by Tom Arliss.

The goal proved to be just a consolation as Portland went out with a heavy 7-1 defeat.

Faulkner said: "The lads we did have gave it a good go, midway through the first half we had a spell where we were on top and created some good chances which leaves us thinking what if.

"The second half we just did not get going, the third goal just before half time seemed to deflate us and the lads lost all confidence that we could get anything from the game, which was disappointing."

Faulkner could see the positives in having some players go out for the first team as he said: "That experience will have been superb for the players and us in the long run.

"We have only played eight senior league games this season. We have four or five games in hand on most teams, so we need to focus on that now and put some points on the board. I'm aiming to hit the ground running when we get back in to league action."

Portland United Res: Jones, Curran, Kelly (Arliss), Anstey, Attree, Hawke, Owens, Skelton, Jackson, Gould, Hankin.