DOWNTON moved level on points with leaders US Portsmouth after they beat visiting Verwood 2-0, writes BEN SMITH.

The Robins being only kept off of top spot only by goal difference.

Downton made a bright start against Verwood, with early chance from Robbie Owen and TJ Moseley

The home side soon had full control of the game in the early stages with Verwood merely chasing shadows.

The lively Diego Romero and Ben Starr caused mayhem on both wings.

Romero being chopped down on one of his runs after skipping by several players.

The resulting free-kick was delightfully whipped in by Louis Rendall and the oncoming Ben Smith rose the highest and met the ball with pace to thump a trademark header into the top corner giving the Verwood stopper no chance.

Downton continued to have chances and with five minutes, great link up play from Harry Crisp, Starr and Owen sliced open the defence for a well worked pass into Moseley whose effort crashed onto the crossbar in what would have been goal of the season.

The returning Downton stopper Ernest Osie was simply a spectator for the whole first half as Downton went in 1-0 up, but a little disappointed they had not added to the tally.

The second half continued like the first with plenty of chances coming but the Verwood stopper made a series of clinical saves to keep his side in the game.

Downton’s left back Howe was in fine form and had a number of mazy runs, but could not convert in the heavily crowded box.

The introduction of the returning James Clarke had instant impact when his piercing run up the wing and a perfect cross into the feet of Robbie Owen was finished sublimely to seal the game for the Downton.

The Robins stood strong for the final stages with Ben Smith and Dan Savage keeping there leading marksman Lee Vint at bay with ease.

Downton saw out the game with a fine display in what was to be a crucial 3 points in the promotion chase.

Manager Ben Smith said: "Today was a good solid performance from everyone and keeping a clean sheet was pleasing. Our main aim was to keep Vint quiet and we did that well. The lads pressed across the park and did that for 90 minutes which was excellent to see. Although I felt we could have had more goals the three points was the only real target in keeping our promotion push alive.

Myself and Rich have been very pleased with the lads efforts recently and with a big squad everyone is doing there bit which is key in what we are trying to achieve."

This Tuesday Downton are are away at Hamworthy United in the Bournemouth Senior Cup semi-finals and then on Saturday, Downton are away at Follands Sports in the league and three days later have a Salisbury Hospital Cup quarter-final tie against visiting Shrewton.