WHITCHURCH UNITED 3PORTLAND UNITED 1PORTLAND United crashed out of the Sydenhams Wessex League Cup first round with a 3-1 loss at Whitchurch United.Going into the game, boss Callum Brooks stated his belief the tie was one the Blues “should win” but, after leading, Portland fell victim to a stirring comeback from the Jam Boys.Portland took the lead against their Wessex Division One opponents in the first half as Ryan McKechnie converted a corner.A nasty suspected broken leg for Whitchurch forward Matt Hawkes marred the contest, but the underdogs responded in brilliant fashion as Ryan Long equalised before half-time.Portland enjoyed good possession and territory in the second half but once more lacked a cutting edge – and the Jam Boys capitalised.Aaron Randall cut inside to fire home from 20 yards past keeper Josh Lucas before George Bishop finished a rapid counter-attack as the Blues piled forward late on.“We should’ve had a decent result,” Brooks told Echosport. “We had long periods of real control in the first half and cutting them open at will.“We just lack that ruthless streak at the moment. Most games if you go 2-0 you’re home and dry and have an easier night.“They’re never easy going to teams in the cup a league lower because they desperately try and turn you over.“When you’re on top you need to capitalise and we didn’t do that, then it leaves you vulnerable.”Brooks added: “I feel for (Hawkes) more than I feel for us losing a game of football.“The stoppage certainly didn’t help us but the last 17 minutes of the half we were fantastic. We had one shot on our goal and it went in.“We had to do more second half. For all our spells, I don’t think their keeper’s made a save.“They went 2-1 up and we chased the game. The last goal can happen – by that time we’ve got nine up front.”Blues: Lucas, McKechnie, Hutchinson, Halloran, Bessant, Clarke, Morris, Williams, Batista, Panesar-Dower, Whyton.Subs: Howell, Camp, Ryan.

PORTLAND United boss Callum Brooks has backed his squad to recover from Saturday’s 8-1 thumping at Baffins by defeating Whitchurch United tonight (7.45pm).Portland begin their Sydenhams Wessex League Cup campaign in the first round, looking to take their first victory in all competitions this season.Whitchurch were themselves on the wrong end of a goal-fest scoreline this term, losing 8-2 to Bashley in the FA Cup extra-preliminary round.With Whitchurch second-bottom of Wessex Division One and Brooks eager to thrust returning players into the mix, the Blues remain confident despite Saturday’s result.“I don’t think we’ll be too bad,” Brooks told Echosport.“I don’t think confidence will be too bad. I’m putting a demand on us to get a victory, knowing it will set us up.“It’s a game, if we get some players back, we should win.“We’ve got an opportunity to win a game which gets us up and running.”Sam Clarke, Alex Halloran (eye) and Adam Grange (ill) are doubts.

PORTLAND United interim chairman Gary Bailey has ruled himself out of the running to succeed previous chief Robin Satherley.Long-serving Satherley vacated the role in August at the islanders’ AGM but has continued to work on the club’s committee.Ex-manager Bailey is absorbed in finding a permanent successor to Satherley but said he could not yet take ownership of the role.He told Echosport: “It’s not something I’m in a position to take up at the moment. I’m quite happy to step in and fill the void.”He added: “The position is still vacant and we’re looking to fill it. I’m acting as interim at the moment, for league reasons.“As vice-chairman I’ve agreed to act on a temporary basis. The club’s very comfortable with the situation, it’s business as usual.“We’re in good hands. Alan Rodgers, our treasurer, looks after the financial side of things and Randle Gates, the secretary, continues to do his role.“All the hard-working committee members and volunteers behind the scenes are carrying on and doing the jobs they’ve always done.“We’re quite comfortable to wait, be patient and when the right person comes along we’ll act on that.“It’s not like we’re devoid of experience – the club’s in good hands. Other than naming the figurehead as chairman, we’ll just carry on.”Portland invited applications from early August and pursued two leads, yet remain without a permanent chairman six weeks later.“We explored a couple of options internally, which didn’t work out for varying reasons,” Bailey conceded.“Other than that, it’s not for me to say who and how many came. The situation is that we’re still on the lookout.”Discussing a timeframe to lure a new chairman, Bailey stressed the Blues would not rush the recruitment process.He said: “We haven’t set a timescale. We’ll make the appointment when the time’s right and as and when the right person should come along.“I’m acting as interim and everything’s running as usual. We’re under no pressure, we’ve not set ourselves any timescale to move the situation forward.“If things change and we feel that’s necessary, we’ll have to have a rethink and a push to find someone. It’s a situation we’re quite relaxed about.”On his ideal candidate, Bailey added: “It would be nice to find someone with some experience with being involved with a football club at non-league level.“It’s having the time, the inclination to do it.“We’re a committee-run club so we’re not looking for someone to come in, completely overhaul the club and be a stand-alone chairman.“It’s someone who’s willing to come in and work alongside the infrastructure of what’s already in place.”Applications for the role can be submitted to secretary.portlandutdfc@aol.co.uk

Without all the hard-working volunteers’/committee members’ commitment, a return to football would not have been possible. With the extra precautions relating to Covid19 the task has been mammoth. Please recognise this and be patient. The new legislation, as of Monday 14th September, requires no more than 6 people to be together, either indoors or outdoors. Whilst this does not apply to sports gatherings (players coaches etc), it does apply to spectators at a football match. Therefore, only 6 people may stand or sit together and there must be a clear distance (2m) between them and the next group of 6 or less. Collective spacing of people leaning on the barriers around the ground, is a breach of the legislation and may result in action taken against the individuals and the club. These are to ensure that we can continue to play football at our level, and that spectators may still be permitted to attend (under strict guidelines). Failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in this arrangement reverting to Phase 1 of Return to Football (spectators limited to 150) or the arrangement being terminated.For us ALL to be able to enjoy football again, in a viable manner, it is vitally important that we ALL comply with The FA / Government guidelines. We ALL have to be aware – it will only need a few to deny the rest of us the opportunity to watch at our level – which could result in clubs folding. It is serious, so please, help clubs by following guidelines. Sydenhams Wessex League Monitors have been instructed to attend matches and are required to submit a Covid compliance report (to the league’s Covid Coordinator) upon which decisions are made and appropriate sanctions may be applied. The League / The FA, CAN and WILL, where it is evidenced that significant breaches have been or are occurring, suspend the fixtures for a club (or clubs) or reduce the number of spectators permitted, back to phase 1 of the agreement (150 spectators) until the League / The FA are satisfied that the appropriate guidelines are being adhered to. Track and tracing will still take place – it has been greatly appreciated that the majority of supporters are bringing a slip of paper with their name and contact number clearly printed. Please continue to do so. Saanitise/wash your hands regularly – don’t touch your face – keep your distance and enjoy the game.

PORTLAND United boss Callum Brooks insisted he is “not disheartened” by the Blues’ 8-1 hammering at Baffins Milton Rovers.Rudi Blankson hit four goals and Tommy Scutt bagged a first-half hat-trick, adding to a James Cowan strike, while Portland’s Eder Batista prodded home after Ryan McKechnie’s penalty was saved.Portland were without seven experienced players through club exits, injuries and unavailability but Brooks remained typically positive.“I’m not disheartened at all,” he told Echosport.“Once a team goes three or four it could always go a little bit like that.“I’m just thankful the reserves have been very well run and are in good order numbers-wise, because it saved us from embarrassment of not being able to field a team.“We should’ve had two or three (goals) in the first half but we’re lacking a killer instinct in and around the box.“There’s times where we’re in a great position in the final third and that final ball’s a little short and we’re open on the transition.“There was lots of nice combination play but a lack of end product.“If it was a Premier League team, the crowd would be screaming ‘shoot!’”

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