PORTLAND United bagged a late brace of goals to sink Sherborne Town 3-1 away in their Velocity Wessex League Premier Division derby.

Three points help keep the Blues in the play-off race but the result will be just as useful in boosting a young side’s confidence reserves.

Portland were lively from the first whistle as Ben Morris was denied by Zebras’ keeper Liam Norris with his well-hit shot heading toward the bottom-left corner.

Sherborne were unlucky not to take the lead in retaliation as Harrison Bruton was forced into two crucial stops, the first a magnificent reaction save.

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Neither side created another major chance of note until Portland took the lead on the stroke of half-time.

George Stuttle’s long throw was flicked on by Sam Gadsby and Josh Camp was lurking at the back post to nod past Norris for 1-0.

Sherborne were not behind for long, however, as the Zebras equalised 11 minutes into the second half.

Sherborne created an overlap on the right flank for full-back Conor Doherty to find space and lash a superb effort beyond Bruton into the bottom-left corner.

But Portland were unperturbed and Stuttle, a constant threat with his long throws, this time caused problems from a corner as he headed against the bar before volleying at Norris from the recycled cross.

Sherborne managed to assume control of possession for the majority of the second half but could not find a way past the Blues’ defence or Bruton.

After battling to ride out the pressure, a well-worked move by Portland helped swing the game in the islanders’ favour.

Stuttle played a pass into Camp who in turn unleashed the pace of Connor Bent on the left.

The Weymouth Under-23s man checked back to find Josh Williams and the Portland skipper fired into the bottom corner for 2-1 in the 85th minute.

And deep into stoppage-time, Stuttle again caused mayhem with a long throw and sub Greg Borthwick was hauled down in the box for a penalty, which he stepped up to score for his first goal since Saturday, November 18.

Speaking after a joyous late double, boss Kyle Critchell told Echosport: “We had to show a lot of resilience.

“We weren’t particularly at our best but to get three points in a derby was huge. Not only that, it was a really good experience for those lads that are developing, so we’re definitely delighted.”

Asked for his highlight, Critchell added: “It’s just at times when we’re under pressure, it was our resilience to put our bodies on the line and the togetherness was fantastic.

“We didn’t keep possession well. You’ve got to give credit to Sherborne, who put us under pressure. Their conviction in the way they play was difficult to manage, but we come away with three points.”

Portland host third-placed Shaftesbury on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Blues: Bruton, Wickham, Stuttle, Delves (Coombs 68), Callow (Bessant 5), Gadsby, Bent, Williams, Camp (Clarke 83), Doyle, Morris (Borthwick 52). Sub not used: Buckler.

Attendance: 218.