Tomorrow sees Poole Town’s first visit to Imber Court since the playoff final in 2019, a game that was decided by a controversial goal for Met Police.
Despite that heartbreak for the Dolphins, Poole have never lost to the Surrey based side in the league – a streak stretching 10 games and all the way back to the mid 70s.
The sides first met way before that – with their first meeting coming in the 1936 FA Amateur Cup. Poole visited Imber Court for the first time, ending up on the receiving end of a 5-1 thumping.
That margin of victory remains the largest between the two sides, with Poole matching a four goal difference in the first game played between the two sides at the Stadium in the 1973/74 season, a 4-0 win.
Recent affairs have been much tighter – the two sides met for the first time in over 40 years in the 2018/19 season.
A draw at the Black Gold and an away win for Poole at Imber Court was little consolation for the Dolphins, with the Met having the last laugh by winning the playoff final 1-0.
Despite being labelled a final, Met Police had to play another game for promotion that season, thanks to the re-structuring of non-league.
Met Police lost in extra time to Isthmian side Tonbridge Angels, missing out on a place in the National South.
All four potential fixtures over the past two curtailed seasons have not been played, meaning this is Poole’s first opportunity to avenge that painful defeat.
Remaining squad members from that fateful day include Jack Dickson, Will Spetch, Jamie Whisken, Jez Bedford and Corby Moore.
The Met Police come into this game unbeaten in all competitions. Since drawing their first two games of the season, Met have won five on the bounce, placing them 3rd in the league. Their last two victories came in the FA Cup and Southern League Cup, advancing them to the 2nd Qualifying round and 1st round respectively.
Whilst Tom Killick identified Jack Mazzone as Met’s main threat ahead of Saturday’s game, Liam Ferdinand should also be closely watched.
A two time winner and goalscorer at Wembley, winning the FA Vase with Binfield and Thatcham Town, Ferdinand has also scored against the Dolphins – during his time with Hungerford.
After leaving Harrow this summer, multiple clubs around the Southern League were after the hitman – with Dorchester even making an attempt to bring the London-based striker down south.
Dolphins managed to keep the pairing of Conor McDonagh and Andy Pratt quiet last week, but it’s another tall ask for Poole’s defence to pick up a fourth cleansheet in a row.
Thorn in our side
That task is made even harder thanks to Jack Mazzone, a threat the Poole fans should be familiar with. His double at Tatnam was followed by a winner in the playoff final, a goal that left a bad taste in the mouth in more ways than one for Dolphins fans.
Since joining 2018, Mazzone has ended up as Met’s top goalscorer each season, and has already begun this campaign in fine form. Despite sharing goalscoring responsibilities with Ferdinand, Mazzone currently leads the Met with four goals this season.
With a career that has spanned three continents, there is little other option for the most travelled member of the Met Police squad.
Starting his career off in the youth system of Aldershot, Sam De St. Croix then moved to Farnborough, Godalming and hometown side Hindhead Athletic before taking up a football scholarship in the US.
A knee injury stateside sent him home to regain match fitness, before he was globetrotting again – this time to New Zealand.
He played for four different Kiwi clubs before returning to the UK during the pandemic, shortly joining Met Police after a stint at Frimley Green.
According to newspaper reports from the Southern Hemisphere, De St. Croix is a ” a front-foot centre-mid who foragers around the box, feeds the strikers and scores if the opportunity arises.”
Mr. Met Police
Despite a relatively youthful squad, there are a handful of players who have been with the club over five years.
Oliver Robinson, now club captain, in his second spell at Imber Court. Initially signed from Molesey in 2016, Robinson had a brief spell at nearby Walton Casuals before returning to the Met.
Poole fans might remember his long throws in previous encounters, an unusual trait for a centre half.
One for the future
As mentioned above, this is a relatively young squad – front men Ferdinand and Mazzone are only in their late 20s, but represent the oldest regular players in the squad.
Zack Chislett came through the Met’s youth system to earn a first-team role in the 2019/20 season. He had previously spent time with Aldershot and AFC Wimbledon – his brother Ethan went onto make it as a pro with the Dons.
A fine full-back who can get forward and produce a cross, Chislett is still yet to finish a full campaign at a senior level since making his debut at 16.