Hewlett 45


McKechnie 87

A LATE Ryan McKechnie free-kick handed interim manager Gary Bailey a 1-1 draw in his first game back in charge of Portland United at Shaftesbury in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division.

Nick Hewlett’s miscued shot from a free-kick had given the Rockies the lead deep into the first-half, but McKechnie came up with the goods in the 87th minute to ensure the Blues came away from Cockrams with a point.

Portland may have felt aggrieved at the result, having had the better of play throughout, with Lewis Clarke skewing two chances, while the returning Lewis Whyton had a header cleared off the line.

Speaking to Echosport after the game, Bailey felt the Blues’ point was fully merited.

He said: “It’s no more than we deserved. The las were superb. It was a difficult game as expected. The pitch was tough to play on for both teams, but credit to Shaftesbury, they did well to get the game on.

“Both sets of players did their best to make it an entertaining game. We would have felt hard done by if we came away empty-handed.

“It was difficult for the lads to concede on the stroke of half-time. A free-kick came in and their lad kind of mis-kicked it and it flew into the top corner.

“After having the lion’s share of play to go down 1-0 it was a little bit disheartening, but we always felt we had a foothold in the game.”

Bailey was consequently pleased that Portland continued to press until they earned their reward three minutes from time.

“The longer it went on we started to commit men forward and they were always a threat on the break. The players stuck at it and we got what we deserved.

“The free-kick from Ryan he had to bend it round the wall and it went in. They were determined to go right to the end. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourselves, but we didn’t see any of that, they wanted to get themselves back in the game. If we won it, we would have come away delighted, but a draw was a reasonable outcome on a difficult night for both teams,” he said.

Portland have dropped a position to 13th ahead of a trip to Lymington on Saturday (3pm), while Shaftesbury rise to 10th.

Blues: Lillington, S Buckler, Butcher, Evans, Sharpe (Baker 60), McKechnie, Smith, Halloran, Clarke, Godfrey (Whyton 75), Bearwish. Subs not used: Payne, Bessant, Mitchell


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