A pod of Dolphins celebrate during a 3-3 draw with Harrow (Photo Credit: Andy Orman)
You can read Tommy’s thoughts in today’s Echo here.
Dolphins are back on the road and in search of three points as they visit North London-based Harrow Borough in the Southern League Premier South.
After a lukewarm start to the season thanks to two defeats sandwiching a sole victory, Poole would like to take something away from what is a relatively unknown quantity to the Dorset side.
Like results between the two sides, Harrow have been inconsistent since being shuffled across to the Southern League from their traditional home of the Isthmian League.
Despite being shifted way back in 2018, Borough have only been able to complete one campaign in the Southern League, thanks to obvious reasons.
As stated above, neither side have dominated this fixture when it has been played – with the last times these sides facing off coming in February 2020.
That game was a bore draw at the Earlsmead stadium in front of a crowd of just 173.
Whilst Poole won the reverse fixture that campaign, Harrow held the advantage in the 2018/19 season – snatching a point away at the Black Gold with two late goals, before spanking Poole 4-0 in the home fixture.
Thanks to traditionally being in different leagues, the two sides did not meet prior to this century.
The hosts come into this one with a similar record to Poole, but have managed to keep things somewhat tighter at the back with only four goals conceded. This is a commendable amount when compared to Dolphins’ eight conceded in three games.
In fact, Borough still have a positive goal difference thanks to their comfortable 3-0 win away at Hartley Wintney.
Just like their guests, Harrow won their midweek fixture in between defeats – against Yate Town and Salisbury.
In the curtailed season just gone, the two sides had contrasting fortunes – Poole won all but one fixture, whilst Harrow only had one victory from their seven games.
The sides did not meet in a shortened campaign where Harrow struggled at home, losing two and drawing once.
However, with such a large gap in between fixtures, it is hard to draw conclusions – as evidenced by the erratic score lines we have seen to start this Southern League season.
Availability wise, Harrow will definitely be without the services of midfielder Dave Taylor, who unfortunately had his kneecap broken in their victory over Hartley Wintney.
As a self-employed builder, the injury labelled ‘career threatening’ will have an impact both on and off the field, whilst a fundraiser set up to support the 27 year-old has already reached £4,000. You can check out the fundraiser here.
Dangerman & Thorn in our side
There was little other choice except to roll these two categories into one, as James Ewington cannot be overlooked for either selection.
With a hat-trick under his belt already this season, Ewington is certainly the biggest threat in the Harrow side.
What makes grimmer reading for the Dolphins is the fact that Ewington has scored five times in his previous four appearances against Poole.
The hitman has travelled in and around the Southern League, with the goals following him from Walton Casuals to Beaconsfield Town. The only positive to take is that despite Ewington’s streak, Poole usually get the better of whatever side he is playing.
He has only been on the winning side once, when his double sank the Dolphins for Beaconsfield back in February 2020, but in a stronger Harrow side, expect the striker to ask questions of Poole’s under pressure defence.
A special mention to Frank Keita and Anthony O’Connor, who both bagged braces in Harrow’s commanding 4-0 win back in 2019. Both are still with the club, but thanks to Ewington’s prolific streak against Poole, miss out on being labelled the main threat for Dolphins to watch out for.
Perhaps it is harsh to label a player who has played over 200 games for Harrow as a journeyman, but when you account for this being his second spell during a career that spans almost two decades, you can imagine why Marc Charles-Smith has been selected.
The fact that Harrow boast very few experienced players beyond Charles-Smith also doesn’t help the case of the veteran striker.
Not quite the roamer as other non-league strikers, Charles-Smith does boast a slightly bloated CV across a few divisions.
Starting off at Leatherhead, the frontman had a lengthy spell at Staines, as well as shorter stints at Boreham Wood, Billericay, Burnham, Wingate & Finchley, and Farnborough.
Now 37 years of age, Charles-Smith, who used to captain Harrow, has seemingly settled at a club where he reignited his passion for the game, after injury troubles at Billericay.
Michael Bryan has remained loyal to Harrow since joining in 2014, making over 300 appearances for Boro. Formerly apart of the academies at QPR, Hayes & Yeading and Watford, Bryan featured 12 times in the Championship for the Hornets.
Upon his release he even trialled with Bournemouth, before moving into the non-league circuit, eventually finding his way back to North London and Harrow. A two time international for Northern Ireland, Bryan is a talented winger who will certainly look to exploit Poole’s fullbacks bombing forward.
Name both Supporters and Players Player of the Year during the first curtailed season, Bryan is a fan favourite at Earlsmead.
One for the Future
Harrow quickly moved to secure the services of Ben Tricker upon his release from Fulham, fully aware of the youngster’s ability after a loan spell with Boro. Quickly named club captain, there is clearly a lot of faith shown in the centre-back.
Tricker started his career even closer to Harrow, spending 10 years at Watford’s academy.
A future candidate for ‘Mr Harrow’, Tricker has only ever played senior football for Boro – but is yet to play a full campaign. Only 20 years of age, it remains to be seen exactly what Tricker’s potential is – and if he can achieve it.