Poole Town 2 Salisbury FC 2
Evo-stik South Premier South
Saturday, 29 December 2018
By Alec Hayter
For the second game in succession the Whites surrendered 2 points which, had they been harvested in this match and that at Swindon Supermarine would have seen them sit very handily placed in behind Taunton Town in the league, but they didn't. As the saying goes "lightning doesn't strike twice" but that theory was put in doubt with an equalising goal gifted to the home side in very similar circumstances to those at Swindon, although course the different goalkeeper was involved on this occasion.
On balance of the game this was another three points that unjustly became one. Poole Town manager Tom Killick was honest in his assessment after the match: "The way the game panned out we were quite relieved to get anything at all. The first half was scrappy and we didn't create many chances. They barely had a chance and then we went in front. In the second half they started very well and brought on Shephard who caused us problems. Salisbury were the better side in the second half and we were lucky to get something at the death." Had I had the chance to speak to Steve Claridge afterwards no doubt he would have repeated his assessment from Supermarine that "only we could do that", when talking about the late equaliser.
Killick’s assessment of the first half was correct and it was not until the 14th minute that the Whites threatened when Matt Partridge got well forward but chipped just over the top. Four minutes later Poole's Corby Moore sent an effort just over at the other end.
The home side were weakened by the loss of influential centre half Jamie Whisken to injury on 27 minutes, but it was not until 12 minutes later that Tom Whelan forced Luke Cairney into the first of many good saves, with a 25 yard effort.
With five minutes of the first half remaining Dolphins’ Luke Roberts got to the byeline and crossed with no one in attendance to finish, before, three minutes into time added on his side lost another key player when Steve Devlin was stretchered off. In the dying seconds before the break Roberts gave his side an unexpected and welcome lead when he outstripped Elliot Wheeler with other Whites’ defenders stranded upfield, calmly slotting the ball home under Jake Hallett.
At the interval Chris Shephard was introduced, replacing Darren Mullings, and immediately caused problems for the home defence as well as providing additional support to Zack Kotwica. A revitalised Whites soon got back on terms when on 48 minutes Lewis Benson got his reward for a much improved performance over Supermarine with a low shot that gave Cairney no chance.
Lewis makes sure for the opener. - Copyright Michael Berkeley
Six minutes later Salisbury took the lead, with Benson's free kick giving Partridge the chance to power a header into the top corner, and just before the hour, as the visitors continued to press, Whelan fed Kotwica whose cross-shot fizzed just past the upright.
Five Dolphins beaten by one Partridge. - Copyright Michael Berkeley
The Dolphins then briefly flickered with Hallett blocking out James Constable in a one-on-one on 62 minutes and then, 3 minutes later, Constable setting up Roberts whose attempted chip cleared the bar.
Salisbury had the ball in the net on 66 minutes when Whelan's crossfield pass found Pablo Haysham. Another quick pass gave Shephard the chance to test Cairney, but this time The keeper could only parry the ball to Kotwick who netted but was adjudged to be offside.
Shephard again went close two minutes later with a fierce left foot effort deflected over the top and on 75 minutes Jake Wannell tried to place a left foot finish which was saved by keeper.
With 8 minutes remaining Cairney really earned his corn, if he had not already done so, with a superb block from Shephard, but Poole still held a threat and Sam House wasted a good chance with 5 minutes left.
Three minutes into time added, Benson thrust forward from just inside the Poole half but again Cairney came to the home side's rescue with another superb block in a one-on-one.
As the Whites looked to be seeing the game out they lost possession by their opponents' corner flag and the ball was whisked upfield, resulting in Hallett eventually finding himself in a one on one with House a full five minutes into time added. The Dolphins eeked out an undeserved point when the keeper’s clearance rebounded to House who was quickest to react, having the most difficult task of netting from at least two inches. It really should have been all over by then, and possibly by half time, but the familiar feeling of what might have been again reared its ugly head.
Lightning had indeed struck twice to create a sequence that is best avoided next time out against Frome please.
Poole Town: Cairney, Alawode-Williams, Smeeton, Spetch, Whisken ( Leslie-Smith 27), Moore, Griffin, Devlin (Bedford 45+2), Constable, Gillespie (House 57), Roberts. Subs not used: Scrimshaw, Grange.
Salisbury FC: Hallett, Wheeler, Sommerton, Mullings (Shephard 45), Partridge, Wannell, Benson, Dawson, Kotwica (Fitchett 76), Whelan, Haysham (Young 85). Subs not used: Hopper, Herbert.
Attendance: 623 Referee: M. Underhay (Weymouth)