PORTLAND United earned an impressive 0-0 draw at big-spending Shaftesbury in their Velocity Wessex League Premier Division meeting at Cockrams.

Shaftesbury have brought in the likes of ex-Bournemouth striker Brett Pitman, former Weymouth captain Ash Wells and ex-Dorchester goalkeeper Shane Murphy this summer.

The Rockies have set their stall out to gain promotion but they were unable to find a way past a resilient Portland side, who booked a third successive league draw.

The Blues did live a charmed life in the first half as former Weymouth and Dorchester midfielder Dom Panesar-Dower hit the bar and saw an effort blocked on the line by his own teammate.

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Pitman also headed over while Portland’s only two chances were saved by Murphy, who kept out Greg Borthwick’s sweet strike and a 20-yarder from Brin Doyle.

Pitman nodded wide again early in the second half before a ferocious Doyle effort forced Murphy into an alert tip-over save at the other end.

Ben Morris volleyed over and Ryan McKechnie later had a header cleared off the line as Portland pushed for the opening goal.

Portland weathered a late surge from Shaftesbury, who spurned a good 90th-minute chance, and rode out seven minutes of added time to claim a share of the points.

Speaking to Echosport, Blues’ boss Kyle Critchell said: “We’re extremely happy with the result and the performance we put in.

“The resilience, organisation and our fitness are our key principles. When teams face us now, they know they’re in for a really difficult game.

“There’s no easy touch at Portland now and we’ve shown that at Shaftesbury. It’s an intense game and they’ve got some fantastic players.

“They’re hoping to either win the league or get promoted. We’ve got different objectives this season, so to go there and keep a clean sheet and put in the performance we did was huge credit to our lads.”

Portland host current leaders Baffins Milton Rovers on Saturday (3pm).