PORTLAND Town returned from Chapel Gate having squandered a 3-1 lead against the 10 men of Dorset League Division One leaders Bournemouth Sports Reserves.

In a timid first half the home side took a 1-0 lead into the break although Town did have their chances as Colin Upfold misfired from a left-wing cross and Liam Parsons saw his free-kick drift agonisingly wide of the upright.

After the restart, Town came out all guns blazing and were soon on level terms as Luke Braund’s cross was headed home by Matt Dunlop on his birthday.

Town then went 2-1 up as another pinpoint free-kick from Parsons found the top corner leaving the home keeper stranded, but Town were not finished there as Greg Borthwick scored his second in as many games to give the away side a 3-1 lead with just over 20 minutes to go.

Then came the turning point in the game as Parsons was cynically fouled, the home player receiving a red card for the challenge.

Sports pulled a goal back against the run of play as a deflected shot from outside the box beat Chris Stones in the Portland goal to lift the home side.

From that point the away side looked nervous as Bournemouth Sports applied the pressure.

Sports then got themselves back on level terms and went in search of a winner with Town looking to play on the break.

Ten minutes from time, the hosts went 4-3 up as Town gave a cheap free-kick away on the edge of the box, allowing a delivery to be whipped in and headed beyond Stones by Town debutant Rob Townley.

Late in the game, Sports added gloss to the scoreline as a poor and hesitant clearance was poked into the net from close range.

Town boss Justin Faulkner said: “It was one of those games that come along every now and again and it makes absolutely no sense, it had everything.

“I thought we looked timid in the first half and at half-time we talked more about what we are doing. For the first 15 minutes of the second half we absolutely dominated them and scored three good goals.

“Then they had a man sent off and scored a fortunate deflected goal which gave them belief and we just crumbled from that moment on, something that needs to change. I think that is more to do with our own mentality.”

Faulkner added: “From my point of view it appears confidence is low, that has not helped by the weather which has meant we are not playing games and putting any sort of form together.

“To be honest, I’m disappointed we have let a 3-1 lead slip but these things happen in football and I hope we are learning our lessons from these types of games.

“We are still learning about each other. This was only our second game with myself as manager, we have seen what we can achieve last week and for 60 minutes.

“Game management needs to come in to their thinking and 90-minute performances.”

Town: Stones, Hearn, Pettitt, Dunlop, Paice, Townley, Upfold, Braund, Borthwick, Parsons, Jones. Subs: Richards, Paul.


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