SHOLING took advantage of Portland United's enforced inactivity to move third in the Sydenhams Premier Division with a 3-0 win over Horndean.

Portland had been due to host Amesbury Town but, much to the Islanders' frustration, the Wiltshire outfit were unable to raise a side.

That left the door ajar for Dave Diaper’s Boatmen to edge up a place as a comical own goal and strikes by Dan Mason – his 36th of the season – and Micky Hubbard swept Sholing to victory.

Last season at the Universal Stadium Horndean gifted Sholing a spectacular own goal from the half-way line – and their generosity continued on Saturday.

This one was more a comedy moment as Benny Read, mindful of Mason lurking behind him, sliced the ball past his own 'keeper trying to cut out Lee Wort’s cross.

The Deans should have equalised five minutes into the second half when Connor Duffin shot wide with the whole goal to aim at. And Duffin's luck was out again when his appeals for a penalty were turned down following a tackle by Luke Dempsey.

With the visitors getting more and more irate with every decision that went against them, Mason darkened their mood with a brilliant finish from Zac Mouland’s cross.

Mason then had a goalbound header from a corner cleared off the line before Hubbard polished off victory. His 35-yard free kick curled over everyone and crept under the bar.

Sholing boss Dave Diaper admitted: “We had to dig in today against a very good Horndean side.

“They pushed us all the way and, when we were 1-0 up, they missed a great chance to equalise.

“They also had, in my opinion, a stonewall penalty turned down and that, I think, was the turning point of the match.

“The lads worked hard for each other and, in the end, better finishing was the difference between the sides.”

Sholing are tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.45pm) due to host troubled Amesbury, whose no-show at Grove Corner left Portland boss Gary Bailey sighing: “It’s a wasted weekend.

“The club has gone to all the expense of putting the game on, with programmes all printed and lads taking time off work.

“If it’s weather, you can accept it because it’s out of anyone’s control, but for it to be called off for those reasons is desperately disappointing.

“With everything you have to go through to make the grade at this level you just don’t expect that this is the sort of thing that can call games off.

“With the amount of players teams have signed on, I find it hard to believe they can’t find 11 fit players to play a game.

“But that’s not for me to comment, that’s down to them. They are the ones who have to justify it and we are the ones that have to pick up the pieces."

Portland tomorrow (Tuesday) host bottom club Verwood Town.