The defeat at Mangotsfield in the league last year sparked a mini slump for the Dolphins but this season's visit to Cossham Street hopefully signals the end of a rather indifferent period of form. This was more like Poole Town as they dominated from start to finish and created enough chances to win easily by double the score.
Three new arrivals saw Warren Byerley, on loan from Dorchester, start up front whilst Matt Wright and Lee Collier both started as substitutes. Fit again Steve Devlin returned to the midfield to restart his partnership with Glen Howes - crucial for the Dolphins.
This was a niggly game. As early as the second minute Mangotsfield made their intentions clear. As soon as Carl Preston received the ball he was scythed down with an awful challenge by Thorne - worthy of a red card in itself. It earnt a yellow. The fact that the same player then went on to foul Adam Kelly (which earned a talking to) and then committed three more fouls before half time made it incredible that he was still on the pitch at the end. It also made Lamin Dibba's sending off in the second half ridiculous in comparison.
Unfortunately this led to almost a free-for-all in terms of fouls and the game threatened to boil over on several occasions. This suited Mangotsfield who were always looking to 'spoil' the game in the knowledge that they simply couldn't compete in footballing terms.
Poole took the lead on 15 minutes. Burbidge crossed from the right and when the ball came back off the crossbar, Adam Kelly (not Warren Byerley as reported practically everywhere!) found the bottom right corner with a sweetly struck left foot shot.
Devlin made a huge difference back in the middle and despite scoring twice from the spot he should have bagged at least four or five goals himself. A freekick on 25 minutes just flashed wide of the right hand post with the keeper rooted to the spot and after the best passing move of the match involving several Poole players on 35 minutes, it was Devlin again on the end but his volley flew over the bar. His easiest effort came right before half time when Burbidge again produced a nice cross from the right and after doing the hard bit with a delightful first touch, Devlin then blazed a volley wide with the goal gaping.
Half time: 0-1
Devlin started the second half in same fashion when he picked up a long throw and his shot was tipped onto the post. He finally got on the score sheet on 53 minutes. Preston produced some magic on the left, beat a couple of defenders and chipped the ball into the box only for a penalty to be given for handball. Devlin cracked the spot kick home of the inside of the right hand post.
Matt Wright came on for the excellent Byerley and Collier also made his debut, coming on for Kelly who had also been superb throughout. Dibba picked up a red card for an alleged stamp (it wasn't) but it made no difference to the match as Poole continued to dominate with ten men, same as they had with eleven.
On 87 minutes Preston was hacked in the box once again and Devlin scored his second penalty of the game. There was still time for Preston to crash another shot off the underside of the crossbar with seconds remaining.
There have been some suggestions that 3-0 flattered Poole. Not a bit of it. As well as the goals, the Dolphins hit the woodwork three other times and Hutchings had nothing to do all game. Such was the gulf in class that the home side can be grateful to escape with the scoreline that they did.
Manager Killick will be delighted with this win and the manner of the performance. The hard work starts now - trying to replicate this on a more regular basis.