PORTLAND United felt a release of pressure following their 2-0 win over Laverstock & Ford, manager Kyle Critchell says.

The Blues had not won in six games, since a 6-0 thrashing of Lymington Town in mid-January, and slipped down to ninth in the Velocity Wessex League Premier Division from a high of fifth place.

Two goals of high quality, out of keeping with the game in general, from Jack Delves and Connor Bent, settled the fixture in Portland’s favour.

And Critchell spoke of a weight lifted off his shoulders after the final whistle.

He told Echosport: “I think it was an even game, a competitive game and two moments of quality have allowed us to win.

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“I’d have to say it’s actually a relief. It’s the first time I did feel a little bit of pressure.

“I did say that to the lads, it’s the first time we’ve been in that situation where we haven’t won in six games, albeit four of those have been against good teams.

“It was a good night for us, a good three points. Hopefully we’ll go on now and break that barrier and beat the numbers that we did last season.”

Critchell was audibly frustrated at what he felt was an obvious lack of composure from his players in a first half in which Portland failed to have a shot on target.

He said: “The first 15 minutes, there was a bit of anxiety, and it was like a hot potato. There was no composure, we weren’t looking to make any passes and making wrong decisions.

“I said that at half-time and then after that the reaction was superb. We started to play some football, created some chances.

“Of course, there are areas we need to work on but when you haven’t won in that long, getting the three points is the main thing.

“Two absolutely brilliant goals. Jack’s free-kick is a sweet one and we congratulate him because he’s been out of the side for a long period.

“Connor does what Connor does, a bit of magic and scores that goal. So, I’m chuffed, but we’ll have to roll our sleeves up and prepare for Saturday.”

Critchell was also adamant Portland had done enough in the game to shade Lavvy in the final reckoning.

“With regards to possession they probably had a little bit more,” Critchell conceded.

“But chances-wise, it was fairly even. Aidan Shepherd had two one-on-ones, we’ve hit the bar, they’ve hit the bar, so it was a really open game.

“I knew it would be, because we wanted to win. I didn’t want to sit back. We knew we were probably going to have to defend our box really well.

"Shoutout to Jamie Symes, because he’s been out for so long. When he does play, there is that bit of composure and that’s hopefully how the young players will develop and learn, is having people like him around.”

Portland travel to struggling US Portsmouth for their rearranged league game on Saturday (3pm).