TEN-MAN Portland United hit back to earn a point at Christchurch as two controversial decisions defined their 1-1 draw in the Velocity Wessex League Premier Division.

Ali Zintany’s scorcher put Christchurch ahead before George Stuttle saw red in what appeared to be a harsh call.

However, Portland fought back to earn a point, benefitting from their own slice of luck when Joe Wickham won a penalty after tripping on the ball.

Brin Doyle stepped up to score the leveller from the spot as Portland clinched a deserved point.

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Portland had made all the early running as Connor Bent volleyed wide after Christchurch failed to deal with Stuttle’s long throw.

The Blues also forced Priory keeper Will Butler into a sharp save to his left, diving adeptly to push clear Aidan Shepherd’s stinging drive.

Shepherd then shot tamely at Butler from 30 yards, ignoring two supporting teammates to his right, before Christchurch settled.

Sam Gadsby’s weak backpass teed up Ewang Derick, whose attempted lob was palmed clear at full stretch by Harrison Bruton.

Portland continued to dominate as Josh Williams zipped a difficult half-volley wide before Bent’s exciting run took him past two defenders, only for the forward to square after refusing to shoot.

For all their missed chances, Portland seemed relatively comfortable defensively until a bolt from the blue.

The islanders switched off from a simple inside pass on the left and Zintany faded a stunning 25-yard strike beyond Bruton to give Christchurch the lead against the run of play.

Portland’s evening worsened on 39 minutes when Stuttle was sent off for a tangle of legs with Derick, despite appearing to make contact with the ball.

Jack Delves made way for Crit Clarke as Portland addressed the hole at left-back, but the Blues should have scored when Shepherd blazed over a one-on-one chance.

Christchurch were also guilty of wasting a clean through opening as Nasim Meddah slotted well wide of Bruton’s left-hand post before the break.

In the second half, Portland used the aerial route to engineer headed chances for Ryan McKechnie and Gadsby, who both hit the target without troubling Butler.

And Portland went down to nine men for 10 minutes when Shaun Bessant was sin-binned for an obscenity directed at the referee.

Manager Kyle Critchell opted for midfield reinforcements during that time as Williams and Shepherd were replaced by Jacob Coombs and Doyle respectively.

Portland successfully saw out the time with nine men and, three minutes after Bessant’s reintroduction, they were awarded a debatable penalty.

Wickham was the player to win the controversial spot-kick, although he appeared to slip over the ball.

It handed Doyle the chance to equalise and he did so with aplomb, finding the bottom-left corner via the merest of touches from Butler.

Portland were on top for the next 15 minutes but failed to test Butler as Christchurch’s defence was given a stern examination.

At the other end, Meddah went close with an overhead kick in the 90th minute, beginning a mammoth period of 13 minutes of added time.

But, try as they might, both teams had to settle for a point as no further chances were created.

Portland next visit Baffins Milton Rovers on Saturday (3pm).

Blues: Bruton, Harvey, Stuttle, Gadsby, Callow (Bessant 46), Williams (Coombs 68), Wickham, McKechnie, Delves (Clarke 42), Shepherd (Doyle 67), Bent (Morris 90+7).