Blues lose in Rovers nighmare

Saturday 12th September 2020

PORTLAND United were crushed 8-1 at Baffins Milton Rovers as the islanders’ wait for a first Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division victory this season went on.

While Blues’ fans could point to the 14-1 thrashing by Poole in pre-season as a sign this kind of defeat could be likely to happen again in future, there were mitigating circumstances.

Portland lost experienced forward duo Jamie Beasley and Alex Godfrey in midweek, linking up with Hamworthy and Dorchester Sports respectively.

Sam Clarke (groin), Alex Halloran (eye), Sean Stewart (unavailable) plus new dual signings Adam Grange (ill) and Sam Jackson (unavailable) were also missing.

Portland only fielded a squad of 14, comprising numerous youngsters, and Baffins wasted little time in capitalising as Tommy Scutt rattled in a first-half treble.

The Blues did gain territory on several occasions but lacked a final ball as they went in 3-0 down at the break.

James Cowan made it 4-0 in the 56th minute before Portland won a penalty on the hour.

Ryan McKechnie blasted his effort down the middle, producing a reflex stop from Charlie Searle, who was unlucky to see Eder Batista tap home having pushed the spot-kick against the bar.

Remarkably, the Blues then disintegrated as sub Rudi Blankson plundered a stunning nine-minute hat-trick before grabbing Baffins’ eighth goal late on to add further misery to a wounded Portland.

Blues’ boss Callum Brooks admitted he would not dwell on the hammering.

“My initial thoughts were to draw a line under it immediately and move on,” he told Echosport.

“The group was put in a very difficult position with injuries and lack of availability.

“I had two subs (Aaron Ryan and Reece Frost) and you can only ask people to put in a good shift for you – and they did that.

“There were things we actually did quite well, but we lacked cutting edge in one box, legs and experience in the other.

“Rather than shy away from it, they kept going. We’ve got Whitchurch on Wednesday in the cup and hopefully we can get some players back from injury.

“That will hopefully give us confidence going into the Vase at the weekend.

“If you look at Sean, Sam, Adam, Sam and Alex they’re five starters, experienced players and then your bench is stronger. Add to that the turnover of squad we’re having.

“I knew there were going to be some difficult times but there will be some good times – we played well on Tuesday.

“I’m disappointed with aspects of the game, of course, but if we were finished articles as players and managers we wouldn’t be at this level.”

Blues: Lucas, Howell, Whyton, Bessant, Hutchinson, McKechnie, Panesar-Dower, Williams, Batista, Morris (Frost 70), Coombs (Ryan 65).

Attendance: 125

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