Ellesmere Port 7 Moore 10

PORT slipped to a home defeat in South Lancs/Cheshire Three on Saturday – but it was a loss which illustrated just how far they have progressed as a team over recent months.

When Dave Layder’s side travelled to Moore earlier in the campaign, they were embarrassed 73-0. But Saturday’s encounter was a much closer affair and Port, who chalked up six wins in 10 games following their hammering at Moore, felt they should have won.

On a very boggy Whitby Sports and Social Club pitch, Port took the lead after executing an effective deep kicking game to try to counter the conditions and pen back Moore.

Chris Cabot ran in the try before converting it to put Port 7-0 ahead on 20 minutes.

Port created a number of other attempts but failed to make them count before the break, something they would live to regret.

In the second half, two moments of indiscipline cost Port dear as firstly a penalty for Moore was run at Port. Despite Port holding the visitors up for a lengthy period, Moore eventually managed to ground the ball for a try, which was converted.

The second misdemeanour, 10 minutes from time, resulted in another penalty which was kicked to hand the lead to Moore.

Port had plenty of time to regain the advantage but they could not find the edge they needed and came off full of disappointment.

Head coach Layder said: “We had the chances and felt we should have won. But, to be fair, it is a measure of how far we have come that we are looking at a game which a few weeks ago we lost so heavily, knowing that this time we were the better team.”

Layder again singled out a handful of the younger members of his squad for praise, notably Dan Burns, Cabot and full-back Anthony Jones.

“We moved Anthony from the wing to full-back,” said Layder. “He was outstanding and was our man-of-the- match, I think we may have found his natural position.”

This Saturday, Port go into a game as clear favourites as they travel to face struggling Mossley Hill.

“This is new for us and we have to guard against complacency,” said Layder.

“There will be no resting on our laurels, we are still building and maturing for next season. Then I think we will have a very strong team.”