Tuesday, 23 October 2018

FA cup 4th qualifying round Haringey Borough v Poole Town
20 October 2018

Seeking to reach the 1st round for the first time for 35 years, Poole arrived depleted by suspensions; notably Whisken and Brooks leaving holes in defence and attack. With Spetch and Roberts returning from injury the dolphins had a lightweight feel from the start and so it proved.

The ground in White Hart Lane was dominated by a tall yellow stand on the road side of the ground and surrounded by allotments and housing. Artificial pitches are becoming the norm nowadays and this was no exception.

The first 20 minutes was largely scrappy but what little creative work there was came from Poole. However, there wasn’t enough quality for real chances to come. Roberts soon left the pitch to be replaced by Gillespie and Poole’s attacking options were exhausted. Gillespie produced the moment that differentiated the teams at half time when he nipped in front of a defender to reach a cross and received a boot in the face. The penalty was coolly despatched by Devlin. Both teams continued to work hard to get an advantage but stalemate was achieved and so the score at half time was 0 -1.

The second half was a completely different animal. Borough came out of the traps like a greyhound with much more purpose and immediately pinned Poole back into their own area. They should have scored from two very good chances and were producing quality football, especially from the wings, and Leslie – Smith in particular did well to stop as much incursion as he did. However, the game did have the feel of when not if Haringey would score. Poole battled hard but were largely unable to get out of their own half until Gillespie ran on to a long ball, took it in his stride with a sublime first touch, beat the keeper but unfortunately saw the ball hit the post with the keeper beaten.

The game returned to its previous pattern and Haringey produced so much pressure that they were bound to score. They duly did, overrunning the Poole defence and slotting in from close range. The momentum was with borough and the second goal came soon afterwards when Cairney made a save above his head rushing out to the edge of his area only to see the ball loop up and come down on the line for a Haringey player to be on hand to guide the ball over the line. The last few minutes saw Borough sit back and Poole throw everything forward. Pettifer caused the Haringey keeper to tip over from a blocked tackle but the game ended in delight for Haringey who made it to the first round for the first time in their history.

Haringey thoroughly deserved the win against an under strength Poole team and celebrated wildly at the end.

From a Poole point of view this defeat was desperately disappointing and undoubtedly the absence of key players was a factor. However, the lack of strength up front has been a problem for many months and always seems to result in missed chances and / or difficulty playing in the opponents half. Poole missed out on a chance of the limelight and playing AFC Wimbledon at home in the first round and hopefully management will reflect on the reasons and rectify them so that the team can push for the play offs.

Star Player: Josh Leslie - Smith

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Poole Town v Chelmsford City

National League South

5 November 2016

The fireworks came from Poole as they achieved a stunning victory to halt Chelmsford's promotion push with a four goal demolition as good as anything Poole have done this season, bringing to an end Clarets unbeaten run of 11 games stretching back to August.

Chelmsford looked confident and assured at the start but were matched by a dolphins team at their best levels of concentration and pressing. Gradually Poole began to dominate the ball and Roberts on the left and Burbidge on the right were often found with accurate passes. It was a vintage piece of Burbidge that brought the first goal as he twisted and turned and produced a perfect cross for Surridge to head past the keeper's left hand from near the penalty spot. Chelmsford visibly lost confidence from that point as Poole gained theirs and dolphins controlled the rest of the half going 2 – 0 up with what must be a candidate for goal of the season. Swift inter passing from within their own half and superb movement saw Surridge emerge with the ball free of defenders on the edge of the area. He slotted the ball home competently under the keeper and half time came with the dolphins in total control.

As away teams in deficit often do, Chelmsford started the second half with more determination and pace and their fans made a good effort of trying to lift them. They did create a few opportunities around the Poole box but couldn't make anything of them. When Poole got the ball they were direct and confident and Brooks having a great game for the second week in a row produced a stunning finish moving the ball to his right and curling the ball around the keeper's outstretched left hand.

At that point the game was over and a hush fell on the clarets team, bench and fans. It looked as though they couldn't quite believe what they were seeing. From there it was a cakewalk with Poole bursting through at will. Surridge was awarded what looked like a 'soft' penalty from behind the goal and he duly completed his hat-trick from the spot (it does look like he should be our penalty taker). Whether it should have been a penalty or not it made little difference to the outcome but it is good to see the goal difference now at a respectable +4.

The second half saw the introduction of Corby Moore making his dolphins debut for the second time and it remains to be seen how well he will do. In summary, this was a match that Chelmsford were never really in because Poole's pressing and hard work were so good. The addition of Surridge up front gives a solidity and goalscoring power to the team that had been lacking. Now there is always an out ball and defenders are always going to know they have been in a game. Poole are tied in second place on 32 points with Ebbsfleet, Chelmsford and Hampton – illustrious company indeed.

Star Player: It is difficult not to give the award to someone who has scored a hat-trick but I felt that Marvin Brooks was key to this performance. He was strong in the air and on the floor, dominating the ball in midfield and distributing the ball well to either side of the pitch. Also scored a very good goal proving he is back to his best. If he can stay fit there is plenty more to come.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Poole Town 1 Oxford City 3

Vanarama National League South

15 October 2016

With 4 on loan players from Oxford United prominent, City belied their lowly National League position to deservedly take all 3 points at Tatnam. Fondup opened the scoring after 23 minutes hitting home a cutback. Burbidge looked lively and fizzed a cross shot wide before a penalty decision went the way of Oxford and it was all uphill from 2 - 0 down.

In spite of losing Pettifer at an early stage Poole should have had high hopes in the second half of getting something out of the game. They pulled a goal back through substitute Surridge but couldn't find anything else and much travelled Jefferson Louis supplied the sucker punch in injury time.

Poole were below their best and Michael Walker who has dug them out of a hole a few times didn't get on to the pitch due to the early injury to Pettifer. Surridge again impressed, scoring a third in 3 games and surely must start the next match. However those who saw the 2 - 0 win away to Hapton the previous week wouldn't have recognised the Poole team that played today. It was very much 'After the Lord Mayor's Show'.

Star Player: Sam Surridge who came on and scored with another good finish to give Poole some hope

Monday, 26 September 2016

Poole Town 2 Welling United 1

Vanarama National League South

24 September 2016

Off the back of a poor FA Cup performance, Poole were determined to put things right and did by collecting 3 more national league points to put them in 5th place and maintain their good start to the season. In the first 30 minutes Poole should have been a couple of goals up with great chances from set pieces but through a combination of good keeping and less than clinical finishing the scores stayed level. Welling when they broke forward were dealt with well by Poole's midfield and defence but were awarded a penalty which was scored.

In the second half it was determination that got dolphins back into the game with Whisken staying strong and holding off defenders to head in the rebound from his own shot. Welling then had a period where they looked like they would take the game away from Poole, probing time after time at the edge of the Poole area but without creating clear cut chances. However, from a break Surridge ran through and finished like a striker should slotting the ball underneath the keeper.

Poole scored the winner in added on time - a common theme this season and it is this willingness to keep chasing to the end that is a big factor in this season's success story. As a game this wasn't one of the best and apart from Burbidge, creative play was scarce with most of Poole's attacking moves being balls stood up for defenders to head goalwards which is something Poole haven't relied on too much this season. Baggie came on near the end and immediately changed the attack into a faster paced more dangerous phase and Surridge was the piece in the jigsaw needed to finish it off.

Star Player: Jamie Whisken. Still playing out of his best position as the manager tries to fit 3 centre backs into the team, he used the ball well and took up some intelligent positions. The goal was well taken as there was plenty of work to do when the rebound came back with defenders desperate to clear.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

St Albans City 4 Poole Town 0

Vanarama National League South

 6 September 2016

Poole went down to thier second loss of the season, both being 4 - 0 scorelines. Poole looked as though the 7 game unbeaten run had caught up with them and although there wasn't too much between the teams, were left chasing shadows as the saints lively attackers tore them to shreds time after time. St Albans could and should have scored more goals. Hutchings in goal had a good game to keep the score down and good chances were wasted.

Dolphins were playing catch up from the 3rd minute when a corner was poorly defended but established themselves in the game, putting together some good passing moves and getting the ball into the danger zone. In spite of a period of even play, St Albans did look capable of scoring every time the went forward and it wasn't a surprise when they went 2 up on 35 minutes. Although Poole's powers of recovery are legendary you did feel that 2 goals was going to be a steep mountain to climb.

And so it proved. Poole tried substitutions but couldn't find a way through no matter how much effort they put in (and they couldn't be faulted for the amount of effort). St Albans continued to go close until they put the match beyond doubt in the 78th minute, and rounded things off in the 90th minute with the fourth.

The score didn't flatter St Albans although you could see that on another day Poole would have done better. Again players were played out of position (presumably out of necessity) and it didn't really work. Petts is a big miss with Devlin having to do too much work to close down the opposition midfield. Still a fantastic season so far and at the start of the season we would all have thought 17 points from 9 games and 5th position and was far fetched. Average attendance of 539 and 8th in the attendance stats. is a healthy position as well.

Star Player: For the second match in a row it has to be Devs (although Hutch made some great saves) who is currenty doing the job of two players and keeps up the energy levels to the bitter end.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Wealdstone 2 Poole Town 2

Vanarama National League South

3 September 2016

Over 1,000 turned out on Non League Day to see Wealdstone and Poole in a hard fought high quality encounter that took many twists and turns and ultimately ended with a share of the spoils. Early on Poole couldn't match the high intensity pressing without the ball or the quick accurate passing of a stones team determined to climb the league. Poole couldn't get the ball and when they had it couldn't keep it for long as Wealdstone built a relentless pressure that caused defenders to be pulled out of position and led to a well worked but simple headed goal after 23 minutes. At that point Poole fans were fearful that there was more to come as the next few minutes were a fight for survival.

However, keep calm and carry on seem to be the watchwords of Poole nowadays and they gradually worked their way back into the game, keeping possession a bit better and upping the tempo to match their Wealdstone counterparts. Although there weren't many chances being created, the spark of life encouraged the Poole fans and gave the stones defenders something to think about. After a scramble on the edge of the area a stones defender seemed to handle the ball. Behind the goal we were convinced it was a penalty, then seconds later Roberts chased a lost cause and with the defender trying to shepherd the ball behind he clipped Roberts who went down convincingly enough for the referee to point to the spot. Devlin made no mistake with the kick, sending the keeper to his left and slotting just inside the right hand post. Poole finished the half much the stronger probably hoping the half wouldn't end. It did (1 – 1).

The second half was more even with both teams creating opportunities but Wealdstone's forwards look to be a handful for any team in the league and continued to cause the Poole defence problems. A lapse by the Poole defence left an unmarked player in the middle and Hutch made a great save but couldn't deal with the follow up with Benyon getting his second of the match. Poole again behind and Wealdstone having learnt the lesson of the first half were more attentive at the back. Poole threw everything forward with new signing Surridge already on the pitch but it took until the 90th minute for the equaliser to come, and what a cracker. With everyone including the Poole keeper up for a corner the ball fell to Burbidge with most of the players between him and the goal. He saw and found the only gap in the top right corner with a thunderbolt of a shot. Poole could have nicked it at the end. Walker came closest but scooped over the bar under pressure from close range.

This match was a bit like two fighters slugging it out, each getting up off the canvas to come back strongly. The match was played in a great spirit and there was enough goalmouth excitement to last till Tuesday. A five star match and a fantastic advert for non – league football.

Star Player: Steve Devlin, winning headers all over the pitch, crunching tackles and great use of the ball, he sparked the revival with his energy and put away the penalty well.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Poole Town 1 Bath City 0

Vanarama National League South

29 August 2016

This is the time of year when teams do start to notice positions in the league table and Bath came to Tatnam showing due respect for Poole's early play off position place. An early departure for goalie Hutchings threw Rees in at the deep end and he did have a fair bit to do, proving himself an able stand in. Bath found themselves one place behing Poole and prepared for a cagey game. They probed Poole's defence without committing too many resources forward in attack and Poole did the same. Poole had plenty of possession and Burbidge got clear a few times but there was no-one in the centre able to finish things off. By half time Poole had only had one shot on goal and if there was to be a winner it looked like Bath who had several near misses and shots saved.

Bath came out stronger in the second half and fancied their chances of winning, pressing forward a bit more urgently. They continued to out shoot Poole by some distance but never had the killer instinct and eventually introduced substitutes to try to break the deadlock. With the Poole fans settling for a well earned point against a good team, the ball fell to Walker on the edge of the area and he had no hesitation in striking the ball sweetly through a crowd of players into the net. Bath shocked by another Poole smash and grab, celebrations wild, 12 points above the relegation zone and looking up.

Poole's injury crisis deepens with Hutch and Petts seemingly added to the list and there were some interesting positional changes today which for me didn't quite work. However as a group you can't fault anything they have done so far this season. Defender Taylor Rice (27) with Panamanian league experience joins the squad and looks sure to get some early experience on the pitch.

Star Player: Jamie Whisken who ran all day, getting into some unfamiliar positions and used the ball well.