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Weymouth Sports come from behind to draw
Portland United Reserves 3 Weymouth Sports 3
WEYMOUTH Sports staged a stirring second-half fight back to earn a valuable point at Grove Corner in the Dorset Senior League.
The visitors halted a run of three defeats to secure a draw against fifth-placed Portland with Ben Thomas equalising five minutes from time.
The islanders will not have been happy to let slip a 3-1 lead with around a quarter of the game left after they had recovered from going behind early on.
And Sports co-manager Simon Austin believes it was a change in personnel and formation that turned the tide with Portland on top in the second period.
“They scored twice after we came out for the second half to go 3-1 up so we decided to make changes and went from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 and brought on three substitutes who made a difference,” he told Echosport.
“We were satisfied to come away with a point given that with 20 minutes to go we were 3-1 down.
“The lads showed great character to come from behind and that’s something we can take from the game going forward.
“It’s something to try and build on although our next game is a difficult one away at Gillingham Town.”
He added: “We named a bit of an older team at Portland because we have been on a bad run and wanted some more experience on the pitch.
“I think it helped having players with more experience though some of them aren’t quite as fit as they used to be or as fit as the younger lads.
“But the substitutions helped and the change in formation worked.
“We needed some fresh legs so we brought on Ben Thomas, who scored, Russell Green and Will Sonner.”
The match was a largely scrappy affair with the pitch not very conducive to attractive football.
Sports took an early lead through Sam Culpin’s header but Portland had the better of the first half and equalised courtesy of Ross Boatswain.
Playing with the wind, the hosts had some good chances to go in front but it stayed at 1-1 as the sides went in at the break.
And it was the islanders who shot out of the blocks after the restart with two goals from Scott Henley and a neat finish from Chris Reader.
That prompted the Sports management duo of Austin and Chris Hicks to make their changes and there was an immediate impact.
It became 3-2 when Jerry Delaplanque found the back of the net then in the 85th-minute replacement Thomas got the all-important leveller.
Play went from end to end in the closing stages but neither side created any decent opportunities to score a winner.