PORTLAND UNITED 0 BROCKENHURST 0

Saturday 31st March 2018

TEN-MAN Portland United played out a goalless draw with Brockenhurst in which both sides could feel unfortunate not to take all three points in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division.

Tom Bearwish was the highlight for Portland as he went close several times in an improved second-half display, after the away side had dominated the first 45 minutes and should have taken a lead at half-time.

Substitute Shaun Bessant was also sent off late on for what was deemed to be a dangerous late tackle.

The Blues made two changes from the side that thrashed Cowes Sports 4-0 in their last match as Ross Doidge and Lewis Clarke came in for Ryan McKechnie and Robinson Okumu.

Four minutes in Mitch Speechley-Price prompted a superb save from Sean Lillington, firing high towards the net from inside the box as Lillington palmed away.

Clarke was fouled by Matt Burt on 15 minutes giving a free-kick away 35-yards out which allowed Portland to send the ball into the box from which Lewis Whyton forced the impressive 16-year-old Brockenhurst goalkeeper Luke Deacon into his first save of the match, while a similar free-kick was sent over the heads of every Portland player.

Brockenhurst began to monopolise possession and a ball in from Will Tickle to Matt Sheedy saw the latter fail to control as Portland shepherded the ball away to safety.

Portland also faced a spell of three consecutive corners as Brockenhurst enjoyed in a dominant spell inside the Blues’ half.

However, the Blues got through on goal through a snaking Bearwish run after nice build up play from Doidge and Clarke, but Deacon did well to keep the scores level.

Good work from Mitchell down the right then allowed Halloran to take a shot from distance which went wide.

But the Badgers responded as Tickle sent in an accurate free-kick that nearly ended with Brockenhurst taking the lead as Ben Kelly hit the bar with a header.

Lillington did well to rush out and take the ball from Speechley-Price as a clever move saw the away side two on one.

Tickle found himself in a good position again soon after but shot wastefully wide, and just before half-time Burt headed wide from a corner to end the first half.

Portland began the second half vastly better than the first and nearly had their reward, only to see Clarke’s shot cleared off the line.

The Blues’ improved show continued and Bearwish fired wide from just outside the box after good work from Sharpe.

But a mistake from Portland should have cost them as Speechley-Price had the ball just outside the box with just a retreating Lillington to beat but he chipped tamely at the goalkeeper for an easy catch.

A break from Portland 72 minutes in should have seen them score through Bearwish but the striker fired too close to Deacon before again going close moments later.

Bearwish was having a superb game and again probed for an opener 76 minutes in as he broke into the box but slammed his shot against a defender.

The Blues’ marksman then brought another flying stop from Deacon after rifling in a shot from 30-yards that needed pushing to safety.

But with time ticking down, Bessant was sent off for a late tackle on Tickle as the game ended in a heated fashion but with the two frustrated sides deadlocked

Speaking to Echosport after the game, Blues’ boss Gary Bailey said: “It could’ve ended five each or 0-0. I thought their keeper was superb, a young lad, 16-years-old, he’s a real prospect.

“I thought they defended with their lives, they got blocks in, bodies across and the same with us. We were worthy of a clean sheet and they were a threat on the break, they’re a good side.

“I think for the neutral it was probably an entertaining game. Being 0-0 both teams tried to win it and the defences came out on top at the end of the day.”

He added: “Second half we reacted really well, I thought Lee Sharpe had a great impact at left-back and young Jacob Read, first game, came on and did OK, and Tom is looking good as well.”

Team Lineup & Stats for Saturday 31st March 2018

No Player Yellow Cards Red Cards Goals

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