PORTLAND United departed the FA Cup at the extra preliminary round stage following a 3-0 defeat at Horndean.

Kyle Critchell’s side were given one of the most difficult ties possible in the form of the current Wessex League champions, one of a few Step 4 sides in the competition at this stage.

As expected, Horndean began brightly and teed up Jack Breed for the opening chance, scuffing wide, before Tommy Scutt registered the first shot on target.

Portland’s first moment of promise came in the 22nd minute when Jack Delves’ free-kick was punched clear by Horndean goalkeeper Cameron Scott.

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Horndean soon went up the other end and worked keeper Harrison Bruton into a strong save, pushing clear from Tommy Tierney after the forward had cut inside.

With Horndean continuing to enjoy the better of play, a patient move afforded Rob Taw the final chance of the half only to see his deflected effort spin wide.

Horndean had a goal scrubbed out for offside but Portland came out with renewed attacking vigour in the second half.

They were prevented from taking the lead when Scott pulled off a stunning save to push away Delves’ stinging half-volley.

The Deans went closer still when Chad Field’s header was tipped away by Bruton and Jack Delves got back to nod the follow-up off the line.

Portland had their own close shave on 56 minutes when Brin Doyle forced Scott into a low save and Ethan Robb scrambled the ball clear.

However, the Blues felt aggrieved six minutes later when Shaun Bessant was adjudged to have deliberately handled, despite Portland’s protests.

Scutt did not hold back, lashing the penalty past Bruton for 1-0.

Portland’s gameplan had up until then worked and Critchell replaced striker Bailey Rowe with Liam Sayers.

Bruton was shown a yellow card for handling the ball outside the area on the slide, and Horndean shortly afterwards went 2-0 up when debutant Cade Dyer rocketed the second in off the bar.

As Portland chase the game, Horndean took advantage and they netted a third when sub Rudi Blankson found the bottom-right corner.

But for Bruton, the scoreline could have soured further as he denied Blankson and Scutt, while Connor Duffin glanced a header over.

Speaking to Echosport, Critchell said: “It was always going to be a tough ask to go there and win.

“The first thing I’ll do is to praise the lads to get themselves into the position we did. We worked extremely hard on a gameplan and how we were going to negate some of their strengths.

“We did really well. I will raise it, because it’s cost us, (the penalty) is a decision that shouldn’t have happened. It’s changed the game.

“We then have to change our strategy, but the overall feeling is pride in terms of the lads keeping going.”

Blues: Bruton, Harvey, Callow, Williams, Bessant, Gadsby, Doyle, Delves, Rowe (Sayers 65), Sheehy, Morris (McKechnie 55). Subs not used: Steele, Stuttle, Scott, Cleaver, Moggeridge.