Poole Town started their second season in the Evo-Stick League Southern Division 1 South & West as favourites for promotion and with the visit of Clevedon Town hopes were high for a successful start to the campaign. The Dolphins had won their previous five opening day fixtures and that trend continued at Tatnam as they initially struggled, but then cruised to a comfortable win.
There were debuts for Luke Burbidge and Lee Chudy and also welcome returns for Lamin Dibba and Dave Sturgess, both having endured injury stricken seasons last year.
The first half hour of this game was instantly forgettable with both sides failing to find any form - there was a real sense of 'back to school' as the match was strewn with errors. There was no quality to speak of and neither side fashioned a decent chance worthy of note.
Eventually Poole broke the deadlock when a Steve Devlin corner found the towering form of Marvin Brooks and the impressive midfielder thumped his header just under the crossbar. It was just what the Poole players needed to get going and also lifted the crowd - you could almost hear a pin drop in the opening thirty minutes.
Mahdi had a stinging shot for Clevedon just minutes after Poole took the lead but Nick Hutchings gratefully clutched the ball to his chest at the second attempt after parrying the first effort. A minute later and Jordan Walker was booked for Clevedon for deliberate handball and from the resulting freekick Steve Devlin (head and shoulders the best player in the first half) thundered the ball off the crossbar from twenty five yards.
It was Devlin again who nearly doubled Poole's lead just before half time. On the counter Devlin scooped the ball over a defender, ran onto it and volleyed just wide of the far post - he really did look a threat.
Half time: 1-0
Poole were better in the second half and with Clevedon still offering very little, this helped Poole to cruise through the second period. A quick freekick on 50 minutes saw the ball out wide to Burbidge and his cross to the far post found Will Spetch but he just got under his header which went wide.
The Dolphins eventually got the all important second goal and again it came from a Devlin corner. Dibba's goalbound header was blocked and when the ball dropped around the penalty spot, Brooks hooked a great left volley beyond the keeper into the top left corner.
And that was effectively it. Price, Richardson and Sturgess came on for Chudy, Howes and Brooks respectively and Poole just eased their way to the final whistle. Nothing spectacular and the Dolphins will face far sterner tests than this all season but it blew a few cobwebs away and manager Tom Killick (watching from the stands at the start of his four game touchline ban) will be just pleased to get the three points on the board.