'Important' Horndean win at Portland puts them back on track for high-placing finish after recent wobble

Michael Birmingham spoke of his relief as Horndean picked up an 'important' Wessex League Premier victory at Portland.

By Lewis Mason
Sunday, 27th March 2022, 5:42 pm

The Deans had to do it the hard way, coming from behind to edge a five-goal thriller 3-2, delivering a first win in four attempts in the process.

A run of three successive defeats had seen Horndean slip down the table, yet after collecting all three points in Dorset they are now back in fourth - six points off second-placed Bashley having played a game more with three matches left this season.

Birmingham, who was serving the final match of a three-game stadium ban, admitted all that mattered was the win - and he was pleased his side - under the guidance of assistant manager Jason Mann - managed achieve just that.

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Connor Duffin was at the double in Horndean's win at Portland Picture: Neil Marshall

‘Losing is a habit, the same as what winning is, we'd gone three back-to-back games without picking up a point which we've never experienced before so it was very important we got back to winning ways,’ said Birmingham.

‘If I'm honest, the most important thing was picking up the three points. Obviously I wasn't there, so when I spoke to Manna (Jason Mann; assistant manager) I said to him the most important thing was to get the three points to stop the rot.

‘The most important was picking up the three points, At the end of the day, this stage of the season, you're not looking for beautiful football - the pitches aren't going to allow it.

‘The boys are tired, they've hit a brick wall now, you're asking the boys to play what you're amassing for the past two seasons which were cancelled. There are a lot of players now running on empty.’

The Deans got off to the worst possible start with Matt Burrows firing the hosts ahead after an error by goalkeeper Cameron Scott inside the opening five minutes.

Horndean were soon back level as Rob Taw's delicious cross was tapped home by Zak Willett on 15 minutes. The turnaround was then complete on 28 minutes when Connor Duffin fired home after Chad Field had headed across goal.

Leading scorer Duffin, now on 37 goals for the season, made it 3-1 just five minutes later and at that point it appeared the visitors would win at a canter.

Yet Troy Woolbridge ensured a nervy ending would ensue as his volley found the net to make it 3-2. But Horndean saw the game out to pick up their first points in four Wessex Premier outings.