Portland struck by first league defeat

Sunday 27th August 2017

PORTLAND United boss Simon Browne rued “three individual errors” as his side lost 4-2 at AFC Portchester in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division.

The Blues had opened up a 2-1 lead on the hour mark, after Shaun Bessant and Ryan McKechnie strikes, but conceded three second-half goals as Portchester became the first team to beat Portland in the league this season.

And Browne told Echosport that his players were simply not “quite good enough in both boxes” during the contest.

He said: “It’s that old adage of being good in the boxes which is where you prove yourself and where you win games. We weren’t quite good enough in both boxes.

“If you don’t defend properly you’re always going to give yourself problems and those three individual errors mean that we conceded when we shouldn’t have.”

Despite a disappointing showing, Browne is positive and feels his side need to “work at it” to reach their potential this season.

“Portchester aren’t the worst side in the league and there are better teams in the league that will put us under pressure.

“There’s nothing there that leads me to believe that we’re not going to be a top side in the league. We have lost players from the summer and that upset the apple cart a little bit, but we’re not a million miles away.

“It’s just a case of me trying to work out the best way. I want to be winning games straight away, not waiting until Christmas. But it’s football, sometimes you have to work at it and that’s what I’m still doing,” he said.

Portland took the lead before half-time when Bessant notched his second goal in two games, but the Blues conceded straight from the restart to make it 1-1.

Substitute Ryan McKechnie then scored immediately after coming on to make it 2-1, before Portchester were let in by defensive errors and pulled clear for a flattering 4-2 scoreline.

Commenting on Bessant’s performance, Browne joked that the defender was on “minus one for the day” after his goal and two defensive mistakes.

“Shaun scored at a corner and the ball broke in the six-yard box. He was cock-a-hoop as that’s two on the bounce.

“But the equaliser for their first goal was down to Shaun. I jokingly said to him he was minus one for the day and I was disappointed he went to ground for their second equaliser.”

Blues: Lillington, Smith (Ayunga 75), Payne (Morris 75), Bessant, Whyton, S Buckler, M Buckler, Halloran, Doidge, Clarke (McKechnie 60), Godfrey. Subs not used: Holland, Diaz


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