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