PORTLAND United Reserves made it three games unbeaten in the Dorset Premier League with a 1-1 draw at home to Sturminster Newton United.

Justin Faulkner’s islanders were denied all three points by an industrious Cherries side, who are under the new management of Nick Squires.

Portland opened the scoring after 35 minutes as Tom Garbutt found Manny Roche in space who fired into the bottom corner with the Stur keeper rooted to the spot.

However, the Cherries’ equaliser came in the last 10 minutes Darren Spiller reacted quickest to a knock down to level the scores.

Reflecting on the draw, Faulkner said: “Unfortunately we haven’t played well, we didn’t really get our passing game going.

“The one time we did we score a goal, that was the only time we (saw) any real tempo. We warned the players at half-time that the only way Stur would score was from a corner or a set-piece they would load into the box, and so it proved.

“We created a few good chances and some very good situations but couldn’t really finish them off with that second goal – it’s always dangerous at 1-0.

“The equaliser was fortuitous. Furthermore had two decisions in two weeks not gone against us we would have another two wins and four more points.

“They say these things even themselves out over the season but at the moment it all seems to be going against us.”

Faulkner added: “It speaks volumes for the depth of squad we have as a reserve side that we made another seven changes from last week and we feel disappointed we haven’t won another Dorset Premier League game.

“We had a central midfielder playing centre-back and our other centre-back hasn’t played this season because of injury but soldiered through to help us out.

“It is what it is at the moment, we understand that the reserves are here to support the first team and everyone is buying in to that as one club.”

Portland are now placed in eighth, with the Cherries a point adrift and two places further back.

Faulkner’s men next tackle Tisbury United away in the Dorset Senior Trophy on Saturday (2.30pm).

Blues: Hadley, Hill, Riley, Howell, Butcher, Preston, Mitchell, Garbutt (Borthwick), S Roche (Tom Butcher), M Roche, Read (Ryan).

Attendance: 60


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