PORTLAND United Reserves almost pulled off a stunning win over Dorset Premier League champions Hamworthy Recreation, eventually earning a 2-2 draw as both sides finished with 10 men.

Rec have gone one year and eight months since their last defeat on home soil, and the league favourites’ run was kept intact as they came from behind twice.

Portland took the initiative on five minutes as Lance Wilson found the top corner from Josh Camp’s lay-off to stun the home side.

Midway through the first half Ham Rec equalised when a seemingly harmless crossfield pass from John Webb took no fewer than three deflections, deceiving stand-in away keeper Dan Quinault.

But the Blues rallied against the odds and were awarded a penalty for handball, Billy Mitchell standing up to convert for the away side for a 2-1 lead.

Worse was to come for Rec as they saw top scorer George Webb sent off.

In the second half both teams were guilty of spurning good chances with the only goal of the half coming in controversial circumstances as the home side were awarded a spot kick.

Quinault saved the penalty but the referee ordered a retake, bemusing the Portland players, with George Deem making no mistake with his second effort.

Wilson was sent off for the visitors for allegedly kicking out following a tussle in the corner, but the Blues held on to take a shock point.

Portland United Reserves’ manager Justin Faulkner said: “It really was a good game of football, we were cagey at the start, but that is normal when coming to a side that rarely lose and rack up big wins.

“I asked these players to test themselves against the best team in the league.

“Once we got into our stride you could see their confidence grow and we felt that we could compete with them.

“Dave Adkins (sssistant) and myself need to make sure that confidence isn’t misplaced and we don’t become complacent with a good result like that.

“I would have taken that result at the start of the game, no doubt about that, but seeing as the game went there is a twinge of disappointment that we didn’t take all three.

“The penalty that they equalised from, it has to be said it was very, very soft.

“It is hard enough to get results at these places, even harder when you feel you are not getting the rub of the green.”

Portland’s result is made all the more impressive after their 9-1 loss at Blandford on the opening day.

Faulkner now believes the Blues are in “good shape” after their first-game “curse”.

He added: “As I said after the Shaftesbury game which we won 4-0, that is the side we have been seeing in pre-season and in training.

“Again they’ve brought it against the best team in the division, proving that our season opener was an off day and a blip on our season.

“I still firmly believe it is a curse this side has. We have amassed four points since then and sit seventh having played two of the toughest away games this season (which) puts us in good shape.

“I’ve got no expectations, it’s hard to place a team with a new manager and new players.

“It’s an old cliche but we will take each game as it comes and try to win them, let’s see where that takes us.”

Portland United Reserves: Quinault, Ad Diaz, Riley, James, Tennant, Frost, Read (Tom Butcher), Howell (George Preston), Mitchell, Wilson, Camp.


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