Pile on – Poole celebrate their late equaliser against Taunton – (Photo Credit: Jon Ashworth / Side of the World)
September was a frustrating month in multiple quarters for the Dolphins, despite starting off so strongly.
Few would have expected the 5-0 drubbing Poole handed league rivals Swindon Supermarine in the FA Cup.
Dan Bartlett grabbed his first goal in Black and Gold with a long range strike in the first half, before doubles from Tony Lee and Luke Burbidge put gloss on the scoreline.
Dolphins were so dominant the match official on the day called time early when Burbidge grabbed his second in added time.
On their return to league duty, Poole had to do without their captain Jamie Whisken for the trip to Metropolitan Police.
Tony Lee was again on the scoresheet in Surrey, but Dolphins could not hold on in a tightly contested affair.
Fixtures came thick and fast this month, with Poole straight back into action at the Black Gold stadium the following Tuesday. The opponents didn’t get any easier, with another side harbouring promotion ambitions in Taunton next up for the Dolphins.
The Peacocks proved worthy adversaries, quickly running up a 2-0 lead after just 10 minutes.
Whilst Tony pulled one back prior to the break, but Poole again made trouble for themselves when Will Spetch was dismissed early into the second half for a second booking.
Former Poole striker Toby Holmes appeared to go down softly to trick the match official into sending Spetch off.
Despite that set-back, Poole showed spirit and persistence, eventually equalising through Lee in the 94th minute.
With three good performances yet only two points gained, Poole returned to FA Cup duties when they hosted National South Chippenham Town.
Dolphins arguably had the better of the game, and took the lead through Luke Burbidge following in on a spilled Dan Bartlett strike.
The Bluebirds would equalise in the second half through Alex Bray, dragging the game to a replay at Hardenhuish Park.
Poole dominated the higher league opposition for 85 of the 90 minutes, but unfortunately for the Dolphins, Chippenham utilised their five minutes to score the goals only game.
The hosts punished a sloppy foul outside the area with Harvey Bunker converting the free kick after just five minutes.
Poole huffed and puffed, but despite their superiority, could not find a way through, falling out of the FA Cup in the 2nd Qualifying round at the hands of Chippenham for the second year in a row.
Whilst the end result was disappointing, Poole more than held their own against Chippenham, a side from the league above.
What was disappointing was the following fixture – with a trip to the side propping up the league table, Kings Langley, leading to an awful afternoon.
After conceding in the opening minute, Dolphins were reduced to ten men when Corby Moore was dismissed for an apparent stamp.
Things would get even worse in Hertfordshire when a mix-up between Mark Childs and Will Spetch led to the hosts’ second goal.
Langley would make it three before Poole could leave with their tails between their legs.
The month ended with another trip, this time to Wiltshire, when Dolphins travelled to compete in what is quickly becoming a derby match against Salisbury.
Tony Lee rounded off a fine passing move to open the scores, but Poole felt aggrieved over two other first half incidents.
Firstly, Poole players felt a handball wasn’t spotted during a goalmouth scramble, before Tony Lee saw his second ruled out with an extremely tight offside call that left Poole aggrieved.
The result left Poole winless in six games, a sequence of results unbefitting of the performances throughout.
There is frustration brewing among some quarters of Poole’s fanbase, which is understandable – but with a bit more luck, this could have been viewed as a decent month for the first team.
Kings Langley should be highlighted for multiple reasons – as a blip, but also a stark reminder that you cannot turn up to any Southern League team and expect three points without minimal effort.
The only slight positive to be taken is that Poole should have learnt their lesson – and now know what is required week in, week out, to achieve anything in the league this season.
Similarily to the first team, the U18s FA Youth Cup started and came to an end in September.
A comfortable 5-1 winning margin over Bemerton Heath Harlequins set up a tie with rivals Dorchester, with the young Dolphins winning 2-1.
However, they could not get past their next hurdle of Gosport, losing 2-0 away in Hampshire.
Poole’s U23s had a better time, winning both of their fixtures this month. A 7-1 trip to Bashley was followed by a 3-1 win away at Laverstock & Ford.
Goal of the Month: Dan Bartlett 34′ vs Swindon Supermarine
There were a few contenders for the best strike this month – Tony Lee’s strike that rounded off a fine passing move against Salisbury deserves a mention, and Lee’s late equaliser against Taunton is in contention based on the sheer joy it produced around the ground.
However, Dan Bartlett’s first goal in Poole colours clinches this month’s award. It proved the turning point of a tight FA Cup clash with Swindon, but even if it had been a consolation goal in a dead rubber it still would have won.
After a corner had been semi-cleared, it felt the danger has dissipated – before Bartlett released a rocket from the edge of the area. Struck so straight and true the slight deflection off a defender could not knock it off its course, bulging in the back of the net.
Player of the Month: Tony Lee
It’s been fairly easy to pick out Poole’s best performer of the season so far, and few could disagree with the selection of Lee for a second month in a row.
Showing no signs of slowing down, Lee has continued to improve off of the ball. It means on the rare occasion Lee does not contribute a goal, he is either providing assists, or harassing defenders into opening up space for others.
There was a lot of relief around Poole’s fanbase when Tom Killick revealed that Lee had a contract with the club, and it’s really not hard to see why at the moment.
Six goals in six games for September, Lee has earnt three points for Poole with crucial goals. It should have been one more goal and two more points, but his fine finish against Salisbury as chalked off.
Luke Burbidge deserves special mention as well – his three goals in the FA Cup and general performances were proof enough that he can hit the heights of his second stint at Poole once again.
Performance of the Month – vs Swindon Supermarine
It’s not every day you manage to knock five past a strong divisional rival, but Poole were dominant when they hosted Swindon Supermarine.
The opening 45 was a more tightly contested affair, but Poole kept their guests at bay to take a 1-0 lead into the break. The second half was were the Dolphins truly shined, bullying Supermarine so badly, that the match official called time early.
If Poole had gone on to beat Chippenham Town then there would be a contender, but despite their near dominance against the National South side, they could produce nothing to show for it.