PORTLAND United rescued a 2-2 draw at home to Hamble Club after being 2-0 down inside 30 minutes in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division.

The result keeps Portland at ninth in the table on 27 points, five points behind Hamworthy United in eighth.

Goals from Ryan McKechnie and Tom Bearwish rescued a point after Hamble Club had raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Doug Rowe and River Smith.

The match had started well for the Blues, with McKechnie hitting the post and a penalty appeal was turned down shortly after.

The match began to turn when light marking from the Blues allowed Rowe to get in and put the ball past Sean Lillington from a tight angle.

Things got worse for Portland when suspect marking left Smith with a free header which he buried into the net past Lillington in the 30th minute.

Portland went in at the break needing to mount a come back to prevent a second league defeat in a row.

Blues boss Simon Browne explained that at half time he said: “You’ve given yourself a bit of a mountain to climb but no one else is going to get you out of the situation other than yourself so do what you can to turn it around.”

The comeback started in the 60th minute when McKechnie got the first goal for the Blues, as he put the ball into the bottom corner after a good cross from Ashley Smith following a good bit of play down the right hand side.

Ten minutes Beasley got sent off for a second yellow card to leave the Blues to chase the game with ten men.

Still, the Blues kept pressing for the equaliser and got their reward in the 92nd minute.

Two substitutes Bearwish and Alex Godfrey combined with the latter fed the former with a cross who happily fired home to rescue a point for the home side.

Browne was pleased with the character, saying: “Credit to the guys, we ground out a result in terms of kept pressing and kept pressing, kept knocking on the door.”

“Half of me is thinking it’s two points and the other half a point gained because we didn’t equalise until injury time of the second half.

“That side of things is pleasing in terms of effort and commitment but I can’t but help feeling but if we’d started a bit better we’d be talking about another three points.“

The Blues are next in action next Saturday, when they face Team Solent away at Test Park.

Blues: Lillington, Smith, Zima, Butcher, Buckler, Bessant, Bastick (Halloran 65), McKechnie, Clarke (Bearwish 60), Baker (Godfrey 75), Beasley, Doidge. Subs not used: Mitchell.


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