Portchester returned pointless from their longest league away trip of the season at Portland on Saturday.
On the balance of play overall, the Royals deserved a share of the points from this Wessex Premier Division encounter but the home side had the rub of the green with some of the key incidents in the game to secure victory.
Neither goalkeeper was tested that much during the game but there was plenty of drama throughout the afternoon, with both sides eventually finishing the match with ten men.
The first chance fell to the home side on six minutes from a free kick on the left. The ball was floated into the box and Stephen Walker flicked his header across the face of the goal but it dropped wide of the far post.
Portland went closer seven minutes later when a quick throw in from the left found Ross Doidge on the edge of the six yard box. He rolled a pass to Christopher Clarke whose first shot was blocked by a defender and keeper Tom Price had to push his follow up effort away from the goal.
The home side had a glorious chance to take the lead on 33 minutes when a low free kick from the left was fired across the face of the goal and both Doidge and Sam Clarke missed simple tap-ins as the ball went past them.
Portchester went close to breaking the deadlock six minutes later when Simon Woods picked up the ball close to the halfway line and drove forward. He went past two defenders before shooting from just inside the penalty area and keeper Jordan Tewkesbury had to dive to his right to push the ball around the post.
The visitors were quickest out of the blocks at the start of the second half when they caught the home side sleeping. The ball was swiftly played up to Mike Turvey on the edge of the penalty area and his curling shot beat the keeper but hit the top of the crossbar.
A minute later Portchester went close again when a cross to the far post saw Woods have an effort blocked and when the ball was turned back across goal, Joel Jackson’s snap shot flew narrowly the wrong side of the post.
The home side had a chance of their own on 63 minutes when good play down the left saw the ball played back into the path of Doidge but Jamie Ford was in the right place at the right time to deny him a shooting opportunity.
However, Portland grabbed what proved to be the winner in somewhat controversial circumstances two minutes later. They won a free kick for a foul close to the touchline but the free kick taker managed to move the ball some ten yards infield – much to the anger of the visiting bench.
The match officials did nothing to rectify the position from which the free kick was taken and it was turned back across goal from the far post and Alex Halloran was left unmarked to slot the ball home from close range.
Portchester went close to equalising on 69 minutes when a free kick from the halfway line found Harry Birmingham in space inside the penalty area but he planted his header straight at the keeper.
Tempers were starting to flare all over the pitch and Portland substitute Aston Butcher was given his marching orders when he pulled down Woods as he tried to burst clean through into the penalty area.
With Portchester pushing forward in search of a goal, this left gaps in their defence and the home side should have made sure of the points with eight minutes remaining.
Portland burst forward quickly when a visiting attack broke down and although the initial danger was half cleared, the ball was played back into the box and the shot on goal beat Price but a visiting defender got back on his own goal line to clear the ball.
Portchester’s miserable end to the afternoon was completed in the closing minutes when Birmingham was shown a straight red card for a tackle – a strange decision by the referee when similar tackles earlier in the half appeared to have gone unpunished.