Ahead of Poole’s Bank Holiday derby with Dorchester Town, we take a look at their opponents.
There are a few familiar faces amongst the visitors’ squad. Sam Bayston and Billy Lowes both came through Poole’s youth and reserve sides to make a mark in senior football.
Sam Davidson also featured in the past for Poole’s youth, before leaving to join rivals Hamworthy and Wimborne.
Of course, Tommy Killick is a favourite at both the Avenue and Black Gold Stadium – with some of his best football coming in a Dorchester shirt during the 90s.
Killick, who said he had a “great affection” for Dorchester, spoke about how derby games are always ‘helter-skelter.’
That may not apply to this fixture, especially when it is played in Poole – the last three league fixtures have produced a grand total of one goal, with Dorchester winning the last fixture here in 2018 1-0 after two drab draws.
In fact, under Tom Killick, Poole have not beaten the Magpies at home competitively – with all five of their wins coming at the Avenue, or on neutral territory in the Dorset Senior Cup.
The record between the two sides under Killick is fairly even – five wins apiece, with two draws. Only seven of those fixtures were league games, where Poole have the slightly better record of three wins compared to Dorch’s two.
Youth is the key word for Dorchester, as only three players are over the age of 30 – with the squad only having an average age of 23.09. That average age is the fifth lowest in the league.
There is experience – and pedigree, especially with the addition of Tom Soares. 28 games in the Premier League for Crystal Palace and Stoke, combined with nearly 500 appearances in the Football League, Soares is a versatile veteran.
Dorchester, like Poole, made a loan bid for Tom Blair last week. Whilst Dolphins couldn’t match Eastleigh’s demands, Dorchester reportedly did – but Blair rejected a homecoming to join Salisbury City.
With two goals already this season, Christos Papakanstantinou is our pick for Dorch’s main threat. A tricky Greek winger who has spent time in the youth academy of prestigous club Olympiakos, as well as Aldershot and AFC Bournemouth.
After a decent spell at Totton, he impressed manager Herrera during pre-season, earning himself a deal at the Avenue.
Interestingly, Dorch’s two senior attackers – the aforementioned Bayston and Papakanstantinou are wingers by trade, but more than happy to lead the line centrally.
In a game where Poole might be expected to enjoy a lionshare of possession, a frontline with a bit of pace could be deadly on the counter.
Thorn in our side
Due to the fact that there has been wholesail changes at the Avenue since these two sides last met, there are hardly any options for a frequent offender.
That’s not to say Sam Bayston isn’t fully deserving of the label – even during games against the Dolphins where Bayston didn’t get on the scoresheet, he has caused multiple issues for Poole’s defenders.
He has scored against Poole in the past – namely in the Southern League Cup for Wimborne.
Capable of beating a man and going for goal himself, Bayston also has a canny ability of finding open teammates.
There aren’t many options for this moniker in such a young Dorchester side. Despite being 35, Soares hasn’t played for a huge amount of teams – but thanks to his longevity, he probably meets the critera to be described as a journeyman.
As I mentioned above, Soares has over 500 games across England’s top four leagues, featuring for nine different clubs in total.
Once signed for just over a million pounds by Stoke, Soares ended up playing for free at cash-strapped Bury, staying with the troubled club for five years.
Soares was still playing league football a little over a year ago, featuring for Stevenage in League 2.
A few years ago, there would have been multiple candidates for this selection. Now, there are only two players with over a 150 appearances in Black & White – Alan Walker-Harris, and Billy Lowes.
We’ve selected Walker-Harris as he had a longer association with the club, despite returning this summer to provide cover in the goalkeeping department.
At 39, and with numerous clubs under his belt, could have easily been selected as Dorch’s journeyman as well.
One for the future
Already a top-quality goalkeeper for this level, Benfield is still only 23, despite playing Southern League football since he was 19.
Currently on loan from rivals Weymouth, Benfield is one of the top goalkeepers in the division – and looks set for a solid career at a National South at the very least.
Aggressive and decisive, Benfield once scored a long-range free-kick for Wimborne. Forget the future, Benfield will be a tricky opponent for Tony Lee – with the pair once teammates at Wimborne.