Dolphins’ young-guns came unstuck in their opening Hampshire Combination & Devlopment League fixture away at Dorchester Town.
In a bid to boost match fitness amongst Poole’s first team, the Dolphins named four players that were involved in the first team’s defeat to Farnborough last weekend.
Sam Jackson, Will Fletcher, Josh Carmichael, Joe Wickham and the addition of Sean Wright meant Poole had five first teamers involved, who all played the full 90 minutes.
The hosts also made use of the lax registration rules, playing 39 year-old Alan Walker Harris in goal and giving game to Charlie Madden.
However, the younger players did catch the eye through out. The major battle in the first half was between Dorch’s Ashley Guppy and Poole’s Charles Medway.
Guppy, a winger with senior experience for Sherborne Town in the Western League, kept Medway occupied throughout, but the right-back contained Guppy to hopeful shots from outside the area.
17 year-old Will Butler featured in between the sticks for Poole, and was called into making a strong first save from a deflected free-kick.
Dolphins had a good chance of their own as a Riley Greenwood corner found its way through a sea of bodies to Sean Wright, who only needed a slightly stronger touch to send it beyond Walker-Harris.
The first half was competitive yet largely devoid of attacking quality, with the best chance falling to Dorchester after Josh Carmichael cheaply lost possession in his own half.
Luckily Butler was quickest to react, smothering striker Joel Hewitt whilst one-on-one. Dolphins did enjoy the lionshare of possession as the first half went on, but couldn’t really make their pressure count for anything.
Butler was called into action a few times early on in the second period, but Dorchester would eventually take the lead thanks to a bit of magic from substitue Ruben Smith.
Quickly receiving the ball from Adam Heaton, Smith exploited the fact that Butler is deployed high up the field as a sweeperkeeper, executing an audacious lob of the dimunitive shotstopper to give Dorchester the lead.
10 minutes later, Poole would restore parity through a lovely team move. Greenwood slipped in Carmichael who had drifted to the byline, allowing the midfielder to tee up Fletcher to tap home in a gaping goal.
The scoreline would quickly change again as the Magpies offered a strong response – by scoring with a similar move of their own.
As you have expected, the left flank defended by Sam Jackson and Sean Wright had been Poole’s stronger side, but Dorchester still managed to find a way in as Riley Weedon cut the ball back for Smith to grab his second of the evening.
Despite there being half an hour left in the contest, there were little further chances for either side. The best chances fell for Poole, and it seemed inevitable that they would equalise as the ball hung perfectly in the air for Fletcher in the box.
With time and space to pick out the bottom left corner of Dorch’s goal, only a fantastic stooping save from Alan Walker-Harris was to deny Fletcher his second, sending Poole back to their corner of Dorset pointless.
Dolphins’ U23s are due to play at the Black Gold Stadium next Wednesday, as they entertain their counterparts from Christchurch.
Man of the Match: Will Butler
Dolphins: Butler (g/k), Medway, Jackson, MacArthur, Wright, Mayo, Carmichael (C), Wickham, Greenwood, Challwell, Fletcher
Subs: Marshall, Stephenson, Wilkinson, Foden