PORTLAND United Reserves fought back to draw 1-1 with Dorchester Sports in torrid conditions at the Camp & Satherley Stadium.

Sports fielded seven ex-Blues in their starting XI with just a single point separating the sides before kick-off in this tight Dorset Premier League derby.

Amid driving wind and rain, Sports made the first chance in the eighth as ex-Blue Jamie Symes teed up Jamie West who was unfortunate to see his shot expertly kept out on the line by home keeper Josh Hadley.

Another former islander, Alex Godfrey, had a goal ruled out for offside on 20 minutes before the striker went off with a calf strain.

West then went through one-on-one but found Hadley in excellent form again with a crucial block, Sports’ appeals for a penalty from the rebound waved away.

Sports took the lead on 40 minutes, with sub Jamie Samways’ stunning free-kick finding the top-left corner of the net.

Josh Camp did have the ball in the visitors’ net almost immediately only for the referee to bring play back for a free-kick which Camp put over the crossbar.

Portland came out from half-time brighter but Jamie Rawlings was denied at close range by Hadley after dancing past two defenders.

Blues grabbed an equaliser on the hour as Manny Roche chipped a neat ball in the box for Greg Borthwick to finish past former Dorchester keeper Nick Hutchings.

West and Symes were guilty of missing further opportunities yet, while Portland finished the stronger, neither side could find a winner.

Post-match, Blues’ boss Justin Faulkner said: “This was a typical local derby, neither side wanted to give an inch, I thought we were unlucky to go in to the break behind.

“Josh has put the ball in the bottom corner but the ref brought it back for a free-kick to us, had he played the advantage and seen where it went we would have been level.

“Take nothing away from Jamie Samways’ free-kick though, it was a very good finish, nothing Josh Hadley could have done with that one.”

Faulkner added: “Having the wind in our faces made it harder second half but that made us keep the ball better and play it on the floor which is more the way we want to play and have been playing.

“We rode our luck at times but we also made some good opportunities which we didn’t make the most of, the weather probably ruined what could have been an even more entertaining game.

“Obviously Sports having so many of our old Wessex League players we knew quite a lot of what they will be about, they do have a lot of quality in their ranks and we managed to nullify that for big periods.

“They did get a couple of good chances but were wasteful with them whereas Greg made no mistake with his only good chance of the game to get his first goal for the club.

“At the start of pre-season I said to the group that I wanted to go and cause some upsets this season and really have a go at some of the best teams in this division, I think we have done that apart from the shocker we had against Blandford on the opening day of the season.

“We were unlucky not to win at Ham Rec and took a point from Dorch Sports, two clubs who have players of Wessex League quality which is what my lads aspire to. That is our role, to produce players capable of stepping up to that level.”

Sports’ manager Ashley James said: “We’re disappointed not to win – we did enough. It’s the story of the season, we didn’t take our chances again.

“We didn’t lose the game and I suppose that’s the only consolation.

“We were fantastic first half, we were against the wind, defended really well and had some really good chances going against what can only be described as gale-force winds.

“We went 1-0 up at half-time and got blown into the changing rooms – it was that strong.

“We came out second half and it was like a normal day, like someone had flicked a switch. To say it was bizarre was an understatement, so basically we had no advantage second half. It was very, very odd.

“We thought we’d done enough first half against the wind but it just wasn’t there second half. It was an even game, they got their goal and in the end they were most likely to get the winner.”

Commenting on the penalty shout, James added: “Jamie West went through one-on-one and hit it straight at the goalkeeper.

“Then he got bundled down in the box, which I think should’ve been a penalty.

“The ball ricocheted out, he followed it and the defender jumped over his back and he went down but it didn’t get given.

“We had a couple of chances second half but we didn’t really create after their goal. It kind of knocked the stuffing out of us and towards the end they were on top and we were holding on a bit.”

Sports now lie in ninth after their first draw of the league season, while Portland slip one place to 13th.

Blues’ Reserves: Hadley, Diaz, Riley, Tennant, Ty Butcher, Read, To Butcher (Ryan), Garbutt, Borthwick, M Roche, Camp (Hill). Sub not used: Barrell.

Sports: Hutchings, Smith, A Gould (Gosney), Anstey, Bessant, G Will, Watts (J Steele), Rawlings, West, Godfrey (Samways), Symes.


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