Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Portland United v AFC POrtchester 22/12/18

Portland United 5 AFC Portchester 3

PORTCHESTER lost their hold on the Sydenhams League Cup in a game that was entertaining and end to end throughout and they may feel that, given the possession they enjoyed they should have won. Against that is that at one stage they were two goals ahead and a number of goals at either end, though well taken, owed a lot to defensive failings.

After presentation of the November Club of the Month Award to the home side by Chairman Ian Hoare the game started in pale sunshine – the locals described the weather as “balmy” – but it was not long before the Dorset equivalent of the Urals, wherever that may be, conjured up a wind that whilst not of Arctic proportions did not rank as warm either. Portchester had the said wind behind them in the opening half and were the first to threaten with a good run by George Tuson-Firth stopped by a foul on the edge of the D with the same player’s free kick then rebounding to safety off the goalkeeper’s legs. Jamie Symes “scored” for the home side only to be pulled back somewhat harshly for a foul and Jamie Beasley at one end and Steve Ramsey at the other were both too high from distance.

Visiting keeper Charlie Searle held a Ryan McKechnie header under the bar -claims it had crossed the line were perhaps optimistic – before the visitors opened the scoring as the half reached its midway point. The ball was worked down the left flank, some neat inter passing made the opening and Jack BREED curled his shot past keeper Shaun Lillington and in off the crossbar. Sixty seconds later and a repeat performance and goal from virtually the same spot with Mike TURVEY the scorer after Lillington had blocked an effort from Tuson-Firth with his legs.

The visitors enjoyed the bulk of the possession for the opening half hour only for Portland to then work their way back and turn the game on its head in the last ten minutes of the half (and that included three minutes stoppage time). Firstly a SYMES header at the far post was rather fumbled over the line by Searle and a minute later a similar cross from skipper Ross Doidge was mis-controlled by a defender and SYMES slotted home the loose ball. Undoubtedly Portland would have been more than happy to be level at the break but when the Portchester defence failed to clear a long free kick Ryan McKECHNIE slammed the ball past a possibly unsighted Searle to make the half time tea in the home dressing room all the sweeter. HT 3-2

The first action of the second half saw a corner ( which those closest will argue was a goal kick) for Portchester from which Lillington denied Olly Searle with a fine save which he then bettered in turning away a Mike Turvey header. A low Beasley cross at the other end found no takers in the box and on fifteen minutes the scores were level again. Brandon Miller did the spade work with a run and cross from the left, again the clearance was at the best partial, and Jack BREED beat Lillington from close range. To their credit both sides kept going forward with Portchester still enjoying the bulk of the possession and providing a number of crosses which caused danger in the area but never the final touch. Beasley was stopped by a somewhat cynical trip on the side of the area but the free kick was straight in to Searle’s midriff before both number tens came close to altering the score line. Searle clawed away a Darren Watts effort from under his crossbar and at the other end Turvey was denied by Lillington’s legs.

With five minutes of normal time remaining the home side went back in front when some slight confusion between goalkeeper and defenders as to who should deal with a long through ball allowed McKECHNIE coolly lob the stranded Searle. Portland could have made the game safe as it moved in to stoppage time but Substitute Billy Mitchell screwed his shot wide before, with the clock fast approaching five o’clock, Beasley’s low cross from the left allowed SYMES to complete his hat trick and it was game over in the result sense but not with regard to time. Incredibly the referee played nearly eleven minutes of stoppage time before his whistle confirmed Portland’s victory. One is tempted to say ridiculous but will settle for unwarranted and I certainly cannot ever remember a later goal. So Portland move in to the last four and a youthful, skilful and spirited Portchester side had nothing to show for their efforts other than playing a large part in a very enjoyable ninety ( or one hundred) minutes football. FT 5-3 (John Gorman)