Match Report - Dartford - Away
What a difference a game makes.
by Ben Jones
Another away trip, but this time, Poole put the pain of the Braintree defeat behind them. This time, their excellent display secured all three points away at table-topping Dartford. Jamie Whisken led from the front and it was his goal which ended the Dolphins’ five-game winless run.
Poole started the game brightly and matched leaders Dartford in the early exchanges. The team were not perturbed by the tag of “underdogs” and proceeded to create the better chances in the first half. In the 20th minute, Warren Bentley’s cross-come-shot had to be pushed wide by Schotterl in the Dartford goal. Bentley was at it again later in the half after being sent through by Brooks’ flick-on, but the German raced off his line to smother the effort.
The hosts were struggling to break down Poole’s defence with their only effort of note being a Danny Mills cross which deflected off the head of Pettefer and had Hutchings scrambling across his goal.
Poole came straight back though, and with five minutes left on the clock in the first half, created their best chance yet. The front three of Bentley, Constable and Gillespie all combined setting Gillespie free on the right-hand side of the box; he dinked a shot towards the far corner, but it came back off the crossbar. Dartford went into the half time break rocked, their opponents had come here to play.
There was no let up from Poole in the second half as they exploded out of the blocks. Bentley charged into the box, he looked to be tripped but bounced back up to get the ball across to Constable, who could only muster an air-kick with the goal gaping. Moments later, Devlin had a cross deflected onto the post and on the rebound, Gillespie saw his effort cleared off the line. A crazy two minutes in which Poole were desperately unlucky to not take the lead.
Matters were nearly compounded when a mix up between Whisken and Spetch allowed Alfie Pavey through on goal, only a fantastic reaction save from Hutchings kept the scores level.
In the 64th minute though, Poole took a deserved lead. Mark Onyemah’s rash challenge on Moore resulted in a free kick on the edge of the Dartford box. Devlin drilled the ball low into a crowded penalty area and after a number of deflections, the ball fell to the feet of Whisken who gratefully slammed it into the bottom corner of the net.
Dartford pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing exchanges, but Poole held firm and continued to deny the hosts the opportunity to create any more clear-cut chances. They could only muster a few long-range efforts and after a string of late corners, Poole’s victory was confirmed.
A vintage Poole Town display and one that will give the team so much momentum heading into Saturday’s home game against Bath and for the rest of the season. One thing is for sure, if this level of performance is repeated, Poole will survive at a canter.