PORTLAND United saw their play-off dreams extinguished by a Brockenhurst team whose 2-1 victory ensured both sides missed out on the coveted top five.

Their win cruelly played into the hands of Baffins Milton Rovers, who snuck into the final play-off position on goal difference, courtesy of a 3-1 win at Christchurch.

In front of a bumper 440-strong crowd, Portland will be left to reflect on a bittersweet day, which commenced with fate firmly in their own hands before having to settle for the accomplishment of seventh, four places higher than last season.

Their young side, already tired following the 2-1 defeat by Shaftesbury 48 hours earlier, were embarking on a fourth game in eight days and began this crucial contest nervily.

READ MORE: Portland United 1-2 Shaftesbury - report

Keeper Harrison Bruton pushed clear an Elliott Pearce-Eavis shot in the 14th minute, while Portland could only probe away from two corners and a free-kick, all easily dealt with by the Badgers.

Portland registered the first shot on target, albeit a weak daisy-cutter from Brin Doyle, before Joe Wickham bobbled a shot wide from 25 yards.

Harry Bunce produced an identical effort at the other end but Brockenhurst would strike in the 40th minute when Ben Atiako-Hall slipped Bunce to the byline and his cutback was lashed home by Sami Makhloufi.

Dorset Echo: Sami Makhloufi, second right, put Brockenhurst aheadSami Makhloufi, second right, put Brockenhurst ahead (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Portland improved after the break as Josh Williams had a shot blocked following good work from Ben Morris, but Brockenhurst looked the more incisive team and kept the Blues' top-scorer Greg Borthwick quiet.

Borthwick was later replaced by Connor Bent, not before Brockenhurst’s Toby Bailey nearly scored a calamitous diving own goal.

However, Portland faced a massive uphill task when Bunce scored a cracker from the edge of the box in the 69th minute, crunching a sweet rising drive beyond the despairing dive of Bruton.

Brockenhurst then expertly took the momentum out of the game, sustaining two yellows, while Portland resorted to shots from long range as Morris slashed an effort from distance high and wide.

Brock should have made it 3-0 when the highly impressive Makhloufi picked out Pearce-Eavis only to sidefoot at Bruton.

Portland did give themselves a lifeline in the 92nd minute as sub Jacob Coombs scrambled an effort over the line after Brock keeper Amad Skrzyniarz’s poor punch but it was too little, too late for the Blues as they were left to reflect on a giant play-off chance gone begging.

Dorset Echo: Jacob Coombs, right, watches on as his shot finds the net for 2-1Jacob Coombs, right, watches on as his shot finds the net for 2-1 (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Reflecting on the defeat, boss Kyle Critchell told Echosport: “First half I thought they were far superior. We left everything out on the field on Thursday being 10 minutes away from completing the job.

“That was the reason we started so slow and sluggish, we were also very nervous and they took advantage of that.

“I can’t fault anyone’s desire to compete. I think it was one game too many. The second half they really did themselves justice.

“If we’d have started like that, the game would’ve been more competitive, but I take my hat off to Brockenhurst.

“They had a little bit more of a rest and recovery period but we were ultimately beaten by the better side.

“It was a fantastic season. The players can leave with their heads held high and we can start to think about next season.”

Blues: Bruton, Bessant, Stuttle, Buckler (Delves 46), Gadsby, Callow, Morris, Williams (Coombs 77), Borthwick (Bent 65), Wickham, Doyle.

Attendance: 440.

Match sponsor: Weymouth Precision Engineers.

Man of the match sponsors: Portland Old Boys.

Match ball sponsor: Michael Doggrell.

Programme sponsor: Regency Dental Practice.

Mascots: Portland United Youth Under-7s.