LEADERS Chickerell United suffered a title setback as they went down to a 2-0 loss in the Dorset Senior League at Grove Corner.

The Blues had been boosted by first-team regular Ryan McKechnie while also including Shane Evans, Sean Zima and Lee Sharpe who all have Wessex League experience after the first team had their game at Fareham postponed.

The Blues went ahead when McKechnie was found by Evans from deep and he lobbed former Portland keeper Ian Bickerstaff.

Portland could have taken a bigger lead into the break as McKechnie’s fierce drive was blocked on its way towards goal.

Adam Anstey’s header from a corner was blocked by Aiden Jackson and the ball fell kindly for Bickerstaff.

Louis Hankin forced a save from Bickerstaff as his run from left back finished with a powerful strike that the keeper managed to tip over the bar.

After the break, Chickerell came out fired up and within minutes Nick Etherington had rattled the home side’s crossbar which seemed to kick start Portland back in to action.

The second goal arrived when Jordan Moore, on as a substitute for the injured Leon Attree, squared the ball for Jackson to stab home at the second attempt.

Chickerell were not finished as Steve Welch went one on one a couple of times but Blues’ keeper Ash Weeks pulled off some great saves to preserve his clean sheet.

The Chickens then had a powerful shot from Liam Miles which hit Chickerell substitute Will Sonner.

Portland manager Justin Faulkner said: “We played well, we dominated for large periods, we only scored the two goals but they came at the right time.

“We are putting together a nice little run of form but we need to guard against complacency.”

Chickerell boss Shaun Murphy said: “We’ve not played against a team that good all season, if Portland had that team every week they would probably win the league.

Murphy is looking at the positives from the experience, as he said: “We have got a few 17, 18 year olds in our side and they will have definitely learned something.”

Portland are next in action when they travel to last season’s Dorset Senior League champions Witchampton United on Saturday while Chickerell are at home to Beaminster.

Portland: Weeks, Sharpe, Anstey, Attree (Moore), Hankin (Gould), Evans, Hawke (Wilson), McKechnie, Camp, Zima, Jackson

Chickerell: Bickerstaff, Miller (Bill 70), Miles, Rodgers, Sandeman (Terry 75), Heath, Etherington, Dewey, Stewart (Sonner 65), Stickland, Welch

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