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Blues see league fixtures suspended

Tuesday 22nd December 2020

PORTLAND United have seen their fixtures paused until January after Wessex League officials suspended competitive action.

Franklyn Clarke's Blues will not play until Tuesday, January 18 at the earliest, pending a review taking into account government and FA guidelines.

League Cup games are also frozen with some teams in the division located in Tier 4 areas.

Wessex League officials admitted the decision was "difficult" to administer.

"With three clubs, a number of club officials, players and match officials based in tier four, there are concerns with the health and welfare of everyone involved in our league." they said in a statement.

"Additionally, travel in and out of different tiers could be problematic.

"All clubs were asked if they were in favour of postponing, or continuing with fixtures during these difficult times.

"The majority of clubs answered that they were in favour of postponing - six clubs wished to continue with fixtures.

"The subject was discussed during last night's board meeting.

"The board made the difficult decision to postpone league and League Cup fixtures.

"This decision will be reviewed on January 18, however that may change subject to further announcements from the government, DCMS and the FA.

"The break from playing fixtures provides clubs with the opportunity to review and update their risk assessments if appropriate, revisit the Covid-19 regulations and remind management teams and squads of their responsibilities, individually and collectively."

The decision raises questions over whether the season will finish as planned.

Other leagues, such as the Southern League, are currently suspended while the Western League has only just ended a break in matches.

Portland will miss five games through the festive and New Year period: Christchurch, Blackfield & Langley, Bournemouth Poppies, Bashley and Fareham.

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Sherborne win over Reserves

Tuesday 22 Dec 2020

PORTLAND UNITED RES 0 SHERBORNE TOWN RES 3 PORTLAND United Reserves have found life difficult in the Dorset Premier League since lockdown and it was the same story for the Blues as a strengthened Sherborne Town Reserves won 3-0 at the Camp & Satherley Stadium. Incredibly, the drop-off in form since the shutdown has been stark, Justin Faulkner’s men losing all three of their games and this clash representing only the second game of the campaign where they were unable to find the back of the opposition’s net. As it was, the Zebras rattled in three goals as winger Dec Cornish, who has turned out for Bridport this season, Steve Burton and Nick Jacobs all got on the scoresheet. Reflecting on the game, Faulkner said: “It was a really bad day at the office, we didn’t get out of the changing rooms for 70-odd minutes of the game and it appeared we were just going through the motions, to be honest. “We didn’t play well at all or to any acceptable level that is required to be in this league or even at a club like Portland.” Faulkner added: “Being a reserve side they are always likely to strengthen as we are entitled to do. “With what is going on at the moment and leagues effectively closing down it is causing all these odd results with Southern (League) players dropping into the Wessex or Western League and (vice versa); it is a knock-on effect. “I don’t see that stopping any time soon either and I can’t see the leagues even finishing if we are subject to another lockdown. “Going from credible results like what we seen for the four games since the opening day of the season to racking up three straight defeats is very disappointing and really makes it tough for us to climb the league as we are getting cut adrift from the top 10. “We will continue to develop this group of players and once we adjust to the way the club want to play I’m sure the results will come. “Confidence is low at the moment and that is my job to pick them up after each defeat. We didn’t give up and will fight on.” Blues’ Reserves: Hadley, Hill, Riley, Tennant (Tyler Butcher), G Carter, Evans, Barrell (Garbutt), Wilson, Ryan, Read, Tom Butcher (Diaz). Sub not used: James.

Blues see league fixtures suspended

Tuesday 22 Dec 2020

PORTLAND United have seen their fixtures paused until January after Wessex League officials suspended competitive action. Franklyn Clarke's Blues will not play until Tuesday, January 18 at the earliest, pending a review taking into account government and FA guidelines. League Cup games are also frozen with some teams in the division located in Tier 4 areas. Wessex League officials admitted the decision was "difficult" to administer. "With three clubs, a number of club officials, players and match officials based in tier four, there are concerns with the health and welfare of everyone involved in our league." they said in a statement. "Additionally, travel in and out of different tiers could be problematic. "All clubs were asked if they were in favour of postponing, or continuing with fixtures during these difficult times. "The majority of clubs answered that they were in favour of postponing - six clubs wished to continue with fixtures. "The subject was discussed during last night's board meeting. "The board made the difficult decision to postpone league and League Cup fixtures. "This decision will be reviewed on January 18, however that may change subject to further announcements from the government, DCMS and the FA. "The break from playing fixtures provides clubs with the opportunity to review and update their risk assessments if appropriate, revisit the Covid-19 regulations and remind management teams and squads of their responsibilities, individually and collectively." The decision raises questions over whether the season will finish as planned. Other leagues, such as the Southern League, are currently suspended while the Western League has only just ended a break in matches. Portland will miss five games through the festive and New Year period: Christchurch, Blackfield & Langley, Bournemouth Poppies, Bashley and Fareham.

Clarke rues lapse in focus

Monday 21 Dec 2020

PORTLAND United boss Franklyn Clarke rued a costly spell in the second half as Lymington punished the Blues for losing focus in a 2-0 Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division loss. Title-chasing Lymington have now kept 10 clean sheets in 12 games, winning 11, while the islanders sit 18th. Goals from Owen Fee and debutant Toby Bailey gave the Linnets victory, while former Weymouth centre-back Jordan Rose made his debut for the Hampshire team. Clarke felt his players had “switched off” but backed the islanders to improve and earn results. He told Echosport: “It was much better, but there was a spell of five minutes in the game where they had two moments and they punished us. “Apart from that, for 85 minutes it was a really good performance. “We’re trying to learn as a group to manage those moments better when it goes against us or when we go behind – not to let it have a huge effect on us and stay in games longer. “The last 20 minutes we were on the front foot and looked like we were going to score. “The first half we had a couple of decent chances where if we take them it’s a different game. “It’s much better and I’m happy with the response (to the 5-1 loss at Shaftesbury).” But Clarke was realistic about the Blues’ 11th defeat of the campaign. “I’m not getting carried away, it was another defeat and we conceded two, but the improvements are there to see. “There’s improvements in them taking information on board, the performance, the attitude is still spot on like it always has been. “We’re getting there. It was never going to be a quick fix, it’s going to take time, but we’re moving in the right direction. “It’s just concentration and maintaining it for 90 minutes. As soon as we start doing that, we’ll start winning games. “I can’t complain too much, it was just a five-minute spell that’s cost us that game – we just switched off.”

Lymington ease past United

Sunday 20 Dec 2020

LYMINGTON TOWN 2 Fee, Bailey PORTLAND UNITED 0 IMPROVED Portland United battled to a 2-0 loss at Lymington Town as the Linnets recorded their 11th win from 12 Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division games. Able to bring in former Weymouth centre-back Jordan Rose prior to the clash, the Linnets claimed a remarkable 10th clean sheet in the league this season. Lymington underlined their credentials for the title but were made to work hard for victory by the Blues, who created several chances in a goalless first half. Portland came close to beating home keeper Ross Casey when Ryan McKechnie led a three-on-two chance. The Blues’ skipper could have found a teammate but chose to drive at goal himself and was denied by a fine save from Casey. Portland, without defender Sam Buckler after a groin strain in the warm-up, rigidly kept to their shape and asked questions of Lymington, who could not break the islanders down at set-pieces. Ex-Dorchester keeper Mike Edgar, in for the injured Josh Lucas, dealt with the danger Lymington posed and instead it was the visitors who might have led. Ben Morris tested Casey from long-range and just inside the area but crucially the hosts held firm into the break. A blip in concentration cost Portland as Lymington’s Owen Fee was afforded a yard of space in the box to shift the ball out of his feet and finish past Edgar. An almost carbon copy goal arrived for debutant Toby Bailey as Portland swiftly went 2-0 down. Blues’ boss Franklyn Clarke has instilled a superb work ethic into the young Blues and, with 15 minutes to go, Lymington were firmly on the backfoot. Portland threatened from corners and Clarke himself let fly with a deflected effort that failed to test Casey, before Lymington survived a headed chance in a crowded box to see out the win. Portland next play after Christmas when Christchurch are the visitors to the Camp & Satherley Stadium on Tuesday, December 29 (7.30pm). Blues: Edgar, Lowes, Hankin, Hutchinson, Poole, F Clarke, Morris (Hanratty 80), Williams, McKechnie, Hewitt (L Clarke 55), Smith (Borthwick 50). Sub not used: Fowles Attendance: 89

Blues to fly ‘head on’ at Lymington

Friday 18 Dec 2020

PORTLAND United boss Franklyn Clarke vowed to tackle high-flying Lymington Town “head on” during their Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division scrap. Prior to Tuesday night, Lymington had won all 10 of their league games this season until Bashley upset the formbook with a 3-0 away victory. Portland are looking to pick up their first away points since an impressive 4-2 win at Hamble and Clarke knows his young side will work hard whatever the outcome. He told Echosport: “It’s a tough game, they lost (Tuesday) for the first time. “They’re a good side and it’s always been a tough place to go. It’s a difficult one but we’re going to go there and face it head on. “What we’ve got is a good honest group. “I know they’ll always work hard for me and I know what I’m going to get from them. We’ll give it our best. “What we did against Hamble just shows what we can do when we perform and the quality we have. “We scored four goals away from home, that doesn’t happen by accident – it’s because we’ve got good players.” Portland are expected to bring in a replacement goalkeeper after Josh Lucas broke a hand in the 5-1 loss at Shaftesbury in midweek. Lucas requires surgery, scheduled for today, and is the islanders’ only injury doubt. Portland currently sit in 18th of the 20 teams and could move up to 14th with three points and provided other results go their way. Lymington, meanwhile, sit third on 30 points from 11 games.

Clarke dons gloves after injury

Thursday 17 Dec 2020

PORTLAND United boss Franklyn Clarke donned the gloves during the Blues’ 5-1 loss at Shaftesbury and insisted he would not “shy away” from the challenge. Clarke’s leadership came to the fore after regular keeper Josh Lucas picked up a nasty broken hand – with surgery scheduled for tomorrow. Clarke went between the sticks at 4-1 down with 75 minutes remaining and was beaten late on as Luke Holmes added his second goal of the game. Speaking to Echosport, Clarke admitted he had never kept goal before. He said: “When the game goes like that, I think it was 4-1 at the time, you just do it and get on with it. “I’ve never done that before, it’s a first. It is what it is, I’m not going to shy away from anything. “(Lucas) got injured and I don’t mind (goalkeeping).” Portland travel to high-fliers Lymington on Saturday (3pm) looking for their second win in four games.

Injury mars United defeat

Thursday 17 Dec 2020

SHAFTESBURY 5 PORTLAND UNITED 1 SHAFTESBURY’S dual-registered players shone as Portland United were beaten 5-1 by the Rockies in their Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division clash at Cockrams. Boss Danny Holmes has brought in Southern League winger Luke Burbidge, Luke Holmes and highly-rated Street defender Kameron Andrews. Luke Holmes netted in the first minute after pouncing on a blind pass from Blues’ manager Franklyn Clarke. Portland responded superbly as Joel Hewitt notched his third goal in three games, converting Greg Borthwick’s intercepted cross. Borthwick nearly handed Portland the lead, lashing a shot against the post before the break. Shaftesbury accelerated in the second half, Burbidge scoring a minute after the restart before Andrews headed home for 3-1. The Rockies went 4-1 up when Burbidge exchanged passes with Luke Holmes before firing past Portland keeper Josh Lucas. With 15 minutes to play, Lucas was involved in a nasty collision in which he suffered a clean break to his hand – an injury which requires surgery to pin and plate. Without a keeper on the bench, Clarke donned the gloves for the first time in his career but could not prevent Holmes grabbing his second and the hosts' fifth. Blues: Lucas (Smith 75), Fowles, Hankin (Hutchinson 60), S Buckler, Poole, Clarke, Morris, McKechnie, Borthwick, Hewitt, Williams (Ryan 70). Sub not used: G Carter Attendance: 66

Reserves denied by Bournemouth Sports

Wednesday 16 Dec 2020

BOURNEMOUTH SPORTS 3 PORTLAND UNITED RESERVES 2 PORTLAND United Reserves returned from Chapel Gate empty handed, losing their Dorset Premier League clash with Bournemouth Sports 3-2. In a torrid opening 30 minutes, the Blues were not at their best and shipped three goals without reply. Portland did improve as Aaron Ryan dispossessed a Sports centre-back but his shot was well saved by the home stopper before Lance Wilson dragged a shot wide of the goal when in a good position. The islanders came out resurgent after the break and could have scored early on as Caleb Tennant’s header drifted agonisingly wide before Ryan scored, latching on to Dylan Riley’s neat through ball. Sensing the game was there to be taken, the Blues upped the ante and were rewarded when Riley’s cross from a free-kick was converted by Tyler Butcher for his first goal of the season. In the last 15 minutes Tom Butcher saw a shot from the edge of the box go narrowly wide with the Blues also hitting the crossbar as the draw narrowly evaded the visitors. Blues’ manager Justin Faulkner said: “It was frustrating afternoon for us. We’ve given them three very poor goals in the first 30 minutes through lack of concentration and not putting enough pressure on the ball, that has cost us. “We just left too much for ourselves to do in the second half. Having said that it was a very good effort in the second half, we have scored two, hit the crossbar and had four or five good efforts which have gone just wide so could have easily won it as we were fully in the ascendancy.” Faulkner added: “The league table doesn`t make great reading for us at the moment, there are four of our eight games this season I felt we have deserved more and (Sports) would fall in to that category. “We have given every side a game this season apart from the opening weekend and we will continue to do that as best we can, continue to work hard and I’m sure the results will come. “Obviously the current situation with COVID doesn’t help with the suspension due to lockdown and as we have seen up and down the leagues it is creating quite a few odd results as we try our best to get through it. “We are definitely due a bit of luck, I hope that comes soon.” Blues’ Reserves: Hadley, Hill, Riley, Tennant, Tyler Butcher, Evans, Read, Wilson (Preston), Ryan, Garbutt (Barrell), Tom Butcher (Diaz). Sub not used: James.

United set for Dorset derby

Tuesday 15 Dec 2020

PORTLAND United are on a mission for more points ahead of a Dorset derby at Shaftesbury tonight (7.45pm). After lockdown, the Blues beat Hamble 4-2 and on Saturday lost 2-1 to Fleet with an agonising late concession. Portland boss Franklyn Clarke says there is no hiding from the contest, with the 17th-placed Blues visiting the Rockies in 19th. He told Echosport: “There’s no shying away from it, it’s a massive game. “We’ll approach it just like we did against Hamble. We know what we do well and the way we want to play. “It’s just how well we put that into action. We’ll be looking to replicate what we did at Hamble and pick up some points. “Hopefully we look more of a threat going forward and keep the ball better.” Portland midfielder Oli Lowes misses out against his former club with a one-game suspension after picking up five bookings this season. Clarke will bring in a reserve player to compensate.

Blues ‘tired’ & lack 'conviction'

Monday 14 Dec 2020

“TIRED” Portland United lacked “conviction” in their 2-1 Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division loss to Fleet Town, boss Franklyn Clarke admitted. Clarke’s Blues had fought back superbly after going 1-0 down to Leo Decarbo’s opener, as Ryan McKechnie headed home an equaliser with 19 minutes to play. Portland probed for a winner as time ticked on, but Fleet stole the points as Decarbo’s shot flashed past Josh Lucas in the 92nd minute. The defeat followed Tuesday’s highly impressive 4-2 win over Hamble, a hangover from which Clarke felt had impacted the islanders’ display. He told Echosport: “We looked tired. That performance on Tuesday took a lot out of us. We put a lot into that to get a good result. “We looked a bit leggy (on Saturday), tired and didn’t have enough conviction. “On Tuesday we looked dangerous every time we went forward, but (Saturday) we didn’t look like threatening that much.” Clarke revealed his gameplan had been foiled by conceding first in the second half. “It wasn’t ideal to concede that,” he said. “We spoke at half-time and set out a gameplan to go into the second half with. “We just didn’t stick to it and we’ve paid the consequences in conceding the goal. “It was a good reaction to get the goal back and when we got the goal it was a case of ‘we’re going to push on now and get another one’, which we looked like we were going to do. “We didn’t play well but we have to find a way of winning when we don’t play well – that’s what good teams do. “We can’t concede that goal in the last minute the way we did. We’ve got to go again at Shaftesbury and look more lively.” Portland visit Shaftesbury in league action on Tuesday night, 7.45pm KO.

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