THREE goals in 20 first-half minutes propelled Portland United to a comfortable 3-0 win as the Blues completed the double over Andover New Street.

Greg Borthwick’s brace and a third goal of the season for centre-back Connor Callow moved the Blues up into sixth, just one point behind Brockenhurst in the final play-off spot.

With four games left, Portland have a genuine chance of reaching the top five but will likely face competition from Baffins, lurking two points behind them with two games in hand.

The Street actually conjured the first chance when Jake Carswell’s shot deflected away for a corner, only for Portland’s defence to hold firm.

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When the Blues settled, they quickly put the game to bed. Borthwick fired an early warning shot across Street’s bow, Ben Rodwell forced into a secure save.

Borthwick was proving a major handful for the Andover defence and, when he was brought down in the box, there was only one conclusion when the referee pointed to the spot.

Borthwick stepped up to beat Rodwell with aplomb and 15 minutes later it was 2-0 when Portland capped a fine team move.

Shaun Bessant and Joe Wickham combined on the right before supplying Josh Camp infield and his shot fizzed towards Borthwick who diverted the effort beyond Rodwell for 2-0.

Portland topped an emphatic half when Callow, stationed at the back post, volleyed home a corner in the 36th minute.

The goals did not tell the full story as Portland dominated, Shaun Bessant missing the target with a back-post header, Camp fired wide and Josh Williams was denied by Rodwell in a one-on-one.

Portland understandably did not reach the same heights in the second half and were met by fierce resistance from Andover, who forced Harrison Bruton into his first major save when Liam Hibberd’s long-distance free-kick had him backpeddling.

Jack Pipkin blasted over and Rhys Streeter forced Bruton into a save with his legs but the hosts could not find a consolation as Portland doubled up their 2-1 win back in November.

Speaking to Echosport, boss Kyle Critchell said: “We were electric, sublime. We recycled the ball really well, dominated possession and scored three really good goals. It was a fantastic start.

“We didn’t maintain that performance but we’d played Saturday so quite a lot of our lads were tired. We were mature, professional and in terms of our development it’s learning from those situations.

“That’s what we did and we kept a clean sheet. We’re absolutely delighted to come away from home with another three points.”

Portland tackle their sixth consecutive away day on Saturday, visiting Hamble Club (3pm).

Blues: Bruton, Bessant, Stuttle (Clarke 46), Buckler (Coombs 52), Callow, Symes, Wickham, Williams, Borthwick (Bent 60), Camp (Morris 78), Delves. Sub not used: Scott.

Attendance: 121.