PORTLAND United were held to a goalless draw by struggling Hythe & Dibden in their Velocity Wessex League Premier Division clash at the Camp & Satherley Stadium.

Kyle Critchell’s men began the day in seventh, with Hythe in 19th, but conditions proved a real leveller as the infamous blustery wind on Portland showed its hand.

Neither side could manage to conjure a clear chance in the opening quarter as Portland’s Hayden Scott was blocked and Marcel Laptas nudged over for Hythe.

Joe Wickham then spurned what proved to be Portland’s best chance of the half, blasting over when clean through.

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Hythe returned the favour when Rhys Crookes somehow swept over from inside the six-yard box.

After half-time, Hythe goalkeeper Luke Deacon was called into two big saves from Josh Williams and Ben Morris in quick succession.

Brin Doyle was next to test Deacon’s defences on 71 minutes, the keeper gathering his long-range shot at the second attempt.

However, Portland would finish with ten men as George Stuttle picked up two bookings in six minutes, the Blues feeling on both occasions Hythe had too forcefully urged the officials to show cautions.

In the end, neither side could make the breakthrough and Portland were again held at home to one of the bottom two this season, following a 2-2 draw with Lymington in August, a result that remains the Linnets’ only point.

Speaking to Echosport, Critchell said: “The conditions definitely impacted the game greatly and Hythe set themselves up to keep a clean sheet.

“They did a really good job, it’s just a shame we didn’t show the urgency to get the three points. We’re disappointed.

“If you look at the two home games we’ve struggled in most, they sit in a low block and it becomes difficult to break them down. It takes creativity and composure. We weren’t able to show that.

“But, on the positive, we kept another clean sheet and put another point on the board.”

On Stuttle’s red card, he added: “The first one is definitely a yellow and unfortunately (the referee) has given the second one as a yellow.

“I feel as if it was more because of the reaction from their players that he’s given it.

“It’s a very difficult job at this level but too many times now we’re on the wrong end of decisions because of opposing players screaming and shouting.

“We’re being told dissent is being cracked down on but from our point of view it just isn’t. We’ll try and maintain a higher stance on that.

“George just has to deal with it. I thought he was excellent, it’s just a shame he capped it off with a red card.”

Portland face the lengthy trip to Cowes Sports next Saturday (3pm).

Blues: Bruton, Harvey, Clarke, Williams, Gadsby, Stuttle, Wickham, Doyle, Scott (Butcher 59), McKechnie (Bessant 82), Morris (Woolford 59). Subs not used: Moggeridge, Critchell.

Attendance: 182.

Match and man-of-the-match sponsors: The Bus Pass Buddies.

Match ball sponsor: Regency Dental.

Programme sponsor: Shaun Hearn & Sons.

Mascots: Beau & Oscar.