Petersfield Town manager Connor Hoare was left to rue the ten minutes Charlie Bell spent in the sin bin after the Rams slipped to a 3-1 defeat at promotion contenders AFC Portchester in the Wessex League Premier Division on Saturday.

A Rams side missing several players through injury put in a commendable performance. The game started fairly quietly, and for most of the first half it remained that way with little to choose between the sides with chances few and far between. Portchester looked more threatening, but the Rams were well organised and solid in defence and went into the break level at 0-0.

Initially the second half started in much the same vein as the first, but things changed when the Rams were temporarily reduced to ten men when Bell was sin-binned. Portchester took full advantage with goals in the 59th minute from Brett Williams and just three minutes later from ex-Ram Archie Willcox.

In the 70th minute Portchester further extended their lead when Rams keeper Harry Greenfield failed to gather a ball into the box and Harvey Hughes was on hand to punish the error. To their credit the Rams kept going and in the final minutes had their best attacking spell of the match. Their perseverance was rewarded with a consolation goal from Matt Dougan two minutes into added time.

Hoare admitted the ten minutes Bell spent in the sin bin ultimately proved costly.

“It’s the pivotal moment in the game,” said Hoare. “If you take those ten minutes when we had ten men out of the game, we drew 1-1 when it was 11 against 11. We set up really well with 11 and were able to stop Portchester doing what they are good at. When we were down to ten men they took full advantage.”