Poole Town moved to the top of the league with a hard fought, if unspectacular, victory over Paulton Rovers. Following good wins over Wimborne and Yate it was vital that the Dolphins maintained their momentum, especially with a 2-3 week gap now in the league.
Dave Sturgess started in place of Taffy Richardson - also marking Sturgess' 150th league appearance for the Club.
It was the visitors who started the brighter, forcing a few corners and managing some long range shots although Hutchings was rarely tested. There was a slight scare for Poole after five minutes when a Rovers striker went down in the box after a clumsy Poole challenge. Had it been at the other end there would have been a crescendo of calls for a penalty but the lack of Paulton support may have helped, as the referee waved play on. Luckily it did serve as a wake up call for a sluggish Poole and they, at last, started to string some passes together and got into the game.
The first real chance for Poole came on 23 minutes, Spetch accelerated down the left wing and picked up the pass from Emmerson (terrific performance again). He swung in the best cross of the match and Burbidge managed to get on the end of it but his header flew over the bar. It was better however and the signs for Paulton were ominous.
Poole forced a few corners of their own and Walker's headers were getting closer to delivering a result. Paulton were getting plenty of bodies behind the ball as Poole dominated the rest of the half, and to be fair they defended well.
A Devlin snap shot brought a great reaction save from the Rovers keeper and the visitors were relieved to hear the half time whistle.
Half time: 0-0
The deadlock was broken on 53 minutes. Preston had switched flanks and his cross from the right found Burbidge and his first time volley found the bottom right corner. It was a great finish and his first goal for the Club.
As so often happens, once in front Poole immediately seemed to take their foot off the pedal. They sat back. lumped some high balls from the back and stopped doing everything that had got them into the lead in the first place. Whilst this enabled Paulton to have more possession, in truth the Poole defence never really looked threatened and they completed the game to continue the trend of not conceding at Tatnam this season.
A third clean sheet in the league, just two goals conceded in five league games and top of the table without really hitting top gear yet. That's a decent start.
Highlight of the night was undoubtedly the entertainment from Zambezi Express currently appearing at the Pier Theatre. They were absolutely fantastic and deserve all the support they can get. Forget new players - we should be paying them to come to every home game. Check them out here.