BOSS Ollie Cherrett is looking to see his Christchurch players use their FA Cup exit at home against AFC Portchester as a “massive learning curve”.

After a goalless first half at Hurn Bridge, the home side’s chances of progressing to the next stage of the competition fell flat against their Sydenhams Wessex Premier opponents.

Having conceded early in the second half to fall behind in the cup clash, Priory failed to stop the visitors running riot to put the game to bed in emphatic fashion.

Tom Scott helped himself to a hat-trick against Cherrett’s men, while there were also goals for Steven Ramsey and substitute Dale Mason, as the away side cruised into the preliminary round of the competition and picked up £1,500 in prize money in the process.

Reflecting on the contest, Cherrett said: “We spoke about keeping it tight for five or 10 minutes in the second half and build on things again – to concede a goal two-and-a-half minutes into the second half really took the wind out of our sails.

“We said it’s a massive learning curve. If you allow good players time and space they will hurt you, it’s as simple as that.

“Credit to Portchester. They are a very good side with the ball, we sort of played into their hands a little bit, went for it and got picked off a couple of times.

“I don’t think we will come across too many teams in our league who are as good with the ball as Portchester, that’s for sure.”

He added: “It’s an FA Cup game and everyone wants to win, of course you do, but in the first half I was very proud of my players and that gave us something to take into the league campaign.

“As lovely and exciting as the FA Cup is, you are never going to win it. It’s about getting through the game injury free and keeping match fit, so we will take the positives.”

Christchurch did manage to get themselves on the scoresheet through striker Luke Stone on 74 minutes, who had been struggling with a neck injury in the build-up to the clash.

Having been fit enough to be named among the substitutes, the former Hamworthy Rec, Merley and Wimborne Town hotshot came off the bench to open his account for the campaign.

“Luke has that quality and he is a goal scorer at the end of the day. That’s what he does,” Cherrett added.

“He hasn’t done any pre-season, only really a couple of half sessions but that’s it.

“He was desperate to be involved in the FA Cup, like any players would be at any level, so we put him on the bench and we know what threat he carries.

“That goal will be great for him and his confidence, hopefully we can see him score a few more goals and he can do really well.”

Priory: Frampton, Senior, Cole, Cormack, Douglas, Robinson (Goddard 75), Blake (O King 85), Wrixton, Wilcock, J King (Stone 70), Gage. Unused sub: Masson.