PORTLAND United returned to winning ways at home, beating Fareham Town 1-0 in the Velocity Wessex League Premier Division at the Camp & Satherley Stadium.

Kyle Critchell’s side are now up to seventh in the table, armed with up to three games in hand on some teams around them.

While the islanders are cooling talk of a play-off push, their position in the table is looking increasingly healthy.

Portland had lost their last two home games after going 16 matches unbeaten on their own turf, and saw an early chance come and go for Brin Doyle, who shot wide, while Greg Borthwick’s header was kept out by goalkeeper Jordi Valero.

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Portland had a lucky escape soon after when Fareham sent a free header over Harrison Bruton’s bar.

And the visitors were duly punished on 25 minutes when Borthwick grabbed his 16th goal of a remarkable season, pouncing on Valero’s parry after Ben Morris’ shot proved too hot to handle.

Borthwick then fired another chance wide and then could not force the ball home in a goalmouth scramble as Valero pushed away an attempt by Morris before half-time.

While Portland had dominated the first half, Fareham enjoyed far the better of the second as the Creeksiders had the elements with them.

Fareham were unlucky to see a free-kick deflect away off their own player with 21 minutes of the second half to go.

Portland then dug in as they tried to protect their slender lead, facing mounting pressure from the visitors.

But their experienced defence, including Shaun Bessant, Crit Clarke and Jamie Symes, showed all their nous as Portland collected their sixth win from 12 league games.

Speaking to Echosport, Critchell said: “I thought we were excellent in the first half, we really did dominate.

“Frustratingly at half-time, we didn’t come in with the goals we should’ve had. We created multiple opportunities, we just couldn’t get another goal.

“Very much like Wells, I was disappointed, and second half we really did have to dig deep and weather the storm because the weather at Portland can make it difficult and that’s what it did.

“We clung on, defended well in the second half.”

On Borthwick, who ended a mini drought of five games, Critchell added: “It was nice to see him back on the scoresheet.

“He works tirelessly and he’s in constant communication with me about how he can improve his game. Lads like that are valuable for us.

“It’s been a weird few weeks with the amount of cup games and changes we’ve made.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve tried to integrate some reserves. We’ve pressed the reset button now and will look to be a consistent squad and get on a good run of games and wins.”

Portland next face Andover New Street at home on Saturday (3pm).

Blues: Bruton, Harvey, Clarke (Callow 62), Williams, Bessant, Symes, Wickham, McKechnie (Gadsby 83), Borthwick, Doyle (Scott 73), Morris (Delves 88). Sub not used: J Lucas.

Attendance: 238.

Match and man-of-the-match sponsor: Tony Pidgley

Match ball sponsor: Andy Straw

Programme sponsor: Graham Luke.

Mascots: Advoco.