McKechnie 21, Beasley 37


PORTLAND United ensured they will take their title challenge to the final day of the season, after an impressive victory over nine-man Team Solent at Grove Corner.

No matter what the outcome of leaders Moneyfields’ situation regarding a points deduction for fielding a suspended player back in January, Portland will be in contention to claim the crown if they beat Bemerton Heath Harlequins on Saturday.

The Blues had two good chances within 30 seconds of each other in the opening period against the Students to gain an early lead.

First, a sweeping ball found Jamie Beasley, who fired a shot straight at James Taylor in the Students’ goal. From the resulting corner, the ball was floated on to the head of island skipper Lewis Whyton, whose header was scrambled away to safety.

But on 12 minutes, Solent should have been ahead. Tyrell Mitford delivered a free-kick into the path of striker Curtis Thorn, who should have done better but failed to sort his feet out.

Jamel Wiseman then fired into the side netting as the Blues continued to live dangerously.

But on 21 minutes, the home side took a vital lead. A cross from the right was brought down by Ryan McKechnie, whose deflected effort fell into the bottom corner.

And a moment of quality from Beasley on 37 minutes made it 2-0 to the Blues. He shrugged off a couple of defenders and hit a screamer into the top corner to send the home fans wild.

Just short of the hour mark, the Blues then had a huge shout for a penalty waved away but, on 62 minutes, Solent were down to 10 men. Beasley nipped in ahead of Ellis White and the defender tripped him up to earn himself an early bath, after referee Chris Simpson showed no hesitation in awarding a red card.

With the man advantage, the Blues went in search of a third. Godfrey’s snap shot from 20 yards was just gathered by keeper Taylor.

And the Solent keeper and player-manager was then given his marching orders in a bizarre incident four minutes from time.

He picked the ball up and appeared to barge into referee Simpson, who saw fit to brandish another red card at the death.

Blues: Lillington, Smith (Bessant 90+1) C Clarke, Carmichael, Whyton, Buckler, Bastick (L Clarke 74), Halloran, McKechnie, Godfrey, Beasley. Subs not used: Doidge, Mutch

Referee: Chris Simpson (Blandford)

Attendance: 231