Symes, Cox, Morris, Rowe, Hereka


PORTLAND United demolished 10-man Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division leaders Alresford Town 5-0 at the Weyline Stadium, despite a floodlight failure threatening to abandon the game.

As a result, the fifth-placed Blues now have a nine-point gap to the Magpies with a game in hand and are now joint-top scorers in the division with 47 from 17 games.

While the margin of victory is impressive, Brendon King’s men were aided in their quest for three points when Alresford captain Chris Mason was sent off for an elbow on Sean Stewart, cutting the midfielder’s lip.

Faced with having to play 79 minutes with 10 men, Alresford, who had hit the post prior to Mason’s moment of madness, did not last long before conceding.

Portland’s breakthrough came when Jamie Symes powered a header at keeper Jordi Valeri-Miret from a James Cox corner, before nodding the rebound home on 25 minutes.

Cox turned scorer four minutes later, striking a free-kick right through the grasp of Valeri-Miret, who pushed the ball into the net.

Alresford finished the first 45 minutes with two half-chances and started the second period strongly with home gloveman Steve Boore called upon to make an important save to keep it 2-0.

That chance stirred Portland into a spell of complete domination as Ben Morris tapped home in the 61st minute after Bailey Rowe robbed the woeful Valeri-Miret of possession and laid the ball off.

Morris returned the favour soon afterwards, rounding Valeri-Miret and squaring for Rowe.

However, the floodlights then failed before the 70-minute mark, meaning the game could have been abandoned.

Luckily for the Blues, the lights returned and the hosts were able to complete victory as substitute Mo Hereka ran onto Max Buckler’s through ball before showing good composure to slot home.

Speaking to Echosport, King admitted the red card had a huge impact on the result.

He said: “It was right in front of us, he’s elbowed Sean straight in the mouth, cut his lip.

“It’s changed the course of the game, I’m not going to deny it. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve had a couple of chances in those 80 minutes.

“Sometimes it goes against you when you play with 10 men.

“You’ve seen so many games where it galvanises the other team, but we were disciplined in our performance, the way we played, our shape and the way we passed the ball.

“So it was very, very encouraging for me.”

Blues: Boore, Bastick, Bessant, Symes, Clarke, Stewart (Godfrey 65), Williams (E Roche 75), M Buckler, Morris, Cox (Hereka 70), Rowe.

Attendance: 144

Match sponsors: Bob and Irene King

Match ball sponsor: PJ Hoare & Son Plumbing & Heating Services

Man of the match: Ben Morris


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