Poole Town’s Under 23s managed to halt their counterparts from Weymouth’s unbeaten streak with a 4-2 win at the Black Gold Stadium, boosting their own title chances in the process.
The young Terras came into the game boasting five wins from five in the Hampshire Combination & Development League West, with Poole sat behind the league leaders with nine points.
Dolphins started four players who sat on Poole’s bench at the weekend, with Sean Wright, Jez Bedford, Joe Wickham and Will Fletcher all named in the match XI.
Despite their first team experience, all players were under 23 for Poole.
A bright start from the hosts saw Tyler Forbes smash home a squared ball on five minutes, but despite the early advantage Poole did not look dominant.
They went close again when Matt Stephenson flashed over with a half volley inside the box, whilst Jez Bedford’s constant pressure almost created a chance for the ex-Pompey youngster.
It wasn’t all plain sailing as goalkeeper Will Butler was called into action after a sloppy Charles Medway pass, but Dolphins would concede their advantage on the half hour mark.
Louis MacArthur was penalised for tugging the shirt of a Weymouth attacker in the box, who then stepped up to convert the spot kick and restore parity.
The goal galvanised the away side, who quickly gained more of the possession, but Poole withheld Weymouth’s pressure to launch attacks of their own.
There was a hint of good fortune when Joe Wickham capitalised on a goalmouth scramble to smash home, with many Weymouth players believing the assistant referee should have flagged for offside during the chaos in the box.
A last-ditch tackle from a Weymouth defender produced a red-card early into the second half, effectively handing Poole the initiative.
Forbes was released to lob home for his second shortly after the hour mark, with Poole in near cruise control.
Will Butler was called into action to protect Poole’s two goal lead, getting down well to prevent Weymouth getting back into the game.
Wickham made sure of the points with fifteen minutes left, taking Charles Medway’s cross down before firing past the Weymouth goalkeeper for Dolphins’ fourth.
A sublime strike from a Weymouth defender may only have been a consolation, but it was certainly the pick of the goals. Hit first time on the edge of the area, there was subdued celebrations despite the quality of the goal.
Despite the convincing win, Weymouth remain in first place, whist the Dolphins are three points behind in second with a game in hand.
Dolphins: Butler, Medway, MacArthur (C), Wright (Marshall H-T), Wilkinson, Mayo, Bedford (Greenwood 77′), Forbes, Wickham, Stephenson (Wooley 65′), Fletcher (Challwell 77′)
Unused subs: Oseni