When it rains, it pours – Photo Credit: Jon Ashworth / Side of the World)
With the dust now long settled on the month of October, we take a look back at yet another month that started somewhat brightly before ending in frustration for the Dolphins.
Not many braved the near torrential downpour to see Cherries loanee Brooklyn Genesini make his debut, with only 171 in attendance to see a Tony Lee brace dispatch an average looking Beaconsfield side.
Arguably one of the largest positives of the month was the pitch at Tatnam surviving the deluge. After seasons of seemingly endless postponements due to a waterloged pitch, it was somewhat of an odd experience to watch the Dolphins in the rain.
In contrast to the lowly attendance on the Saturday, the following Tuesday saw Poole embark on their Southern League cup adventure, crossing the Stour to visit rival’s Wimborne new stadium, which drew a very healthy crowd of 502.
Somewhat ironically after years of jibes from the Magpies’ over Poole’s pitch problems, Wimborne’s new ground is also prone to flooding – but there was no rain to ruin a pulsating contest between two youthful looking sides.
19 year-old Declan Rose captained the Dolphins, and despite Poole largely dominating the game, Wimborne had the last laugh as they dumped their rivals out on penalties.
Despite the relatively small disappointment, Poole quickly refocused for a tough trip to Swindon Supermarine. Just a month prior the Dolphins had shockingly dispatched Supermarine 5-0 in the FA Cup, with many around the club expecting a far tighter scoreline.
That’s what we got in Wiltshire this time around – an end-to-end game that seemed destined to finish 0-0.
Tony Lee was having none of that – after 90 minutes largely toiling away up top with little chances, Poole’s talisman snatched at the first proper chance to come his way in the last minute.
Substitute Jez Bedford did well to slip the ball through to Lee, and despite having multiple bodies in front of him, Lee’s rasping drive meant all three points had been sealed in the dying embers of the game.
Poole would have Lee to thank for another late winner the week after, as they battled to overcome Hendon. Another game where Poole started brightly but could not make their dominance count, Dolphins had to mount a comeback at home after slipping behind.
Captain Jamie Whisken led by example to equalise with his first of the campaign, before Lee once again stepped up when it counted, claiming all three points with his 83rd minute strike.
Halfway through the month and with a bit of form about them, Poole finally saw their confident play rewarded with a comfortable win away at strugglers Merthyr.
The Welsh side kept Poole at bay in the first half, but eventually Poole’s quality told, with Lee’s opener shortly after the break leading the way for goals from Dan Bartlett and Josh Carmichael.
With four wins in a row, Poole must have fancied themselves despite the arrival of unbeaten league leaders Hayes & Yeading to the Black Gold Stadium.
Again Poole began the game with purpose and direction, but after some shocking calls by the officials, lost their grip on the game and allowed Hayes to punish them on the counter.
The away side might have been lucky to see two clear red-cards kept in the back pocket, but after falling behind, Poole failed to muster an appropriate response, falling to a 4-1 defeat.
The visit of out-of-sorts Truro the following Tuesday offered Poole an immediate chance to correct their mistakes at the weekend, but Dolphins once more proved their own biggest enemies as they allowed a sub-par Truro side to cruise to a 3-0 win.
Despite such a strong start to the month, fans’ frustrations started to mount after a perceived lack of effort at home – an image not helped by the loss away at lower-divison Frome the following Saturday.
Injury and COVID hit Poole took the lead through stand-in striker Will Fletcher, but were quickly pegged back by one of the Southern League’s form sides. Poor defending allowed the hosts to race into a 3-1 lead, and whilst there was controversy over a ruled out Burbidge equaliser at 2-1, Frome looked the better side.
Poole threatened a comeback when Burbidge fired home a delightful volley mid-way through the second-half, but the damage had been done and Poole were out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle.
Whilst Poole have rights to certain grievances in regards to referee decisions, the final three games of the month highlighted a soft underbelly in terms of Poole’s mental strength.
With discontent growing in regards to uncertainty over Poole’s future home, a rather sour atmosphere has started to surround the Dolphins’ fanbase.
All Poole Aren’t We has contacted BCP council for comment, but as of publication has not heard a reply in regards to plans for a new ground.
Goal of the Month: Tony Lee 89′ vs Swindon Supermarine
Perhaps if Luke Burbidge’s strike against Frome led to a complete comeback it would have won last month’s pick for best strike. Hit with venom and purpose, Burbidge did extremely well to beat the Frome goalkeeper from a tight-angle.
However, Tony Lee’s late winner grabs the gong for a few reasons. Firstly, the goal felt like it had a certain magnitude about it – perhaps season defining if Poole scrape into the playoffs. In a month that tailed off due to Dolphins’ perceived poor mentality, the win away at Swindon highlighted the resolve and belief this group has, even if we do not see it weekly.
It was a fine team move as well – the run of Will Fletcher to occupy defenders and create space, Jez Bedford just about releasing the ball at the correct time – but the best part of the goal was the strike.
Being lucky enough to be sat right behind the action, watching the ball swerve just out of the reach of the Swindon ‘keeper, before swinging back inside the far post was wonderful, and the camaraderie and passion shown in the following celebrations were a welcome sight.
Player of the Month: Tony Lee
It almost feels like a cop-out at the moment to pick Tony Lee month after month, but full credit to the man himself – he has not stopped delivering.
A brace to open the month, his two late winners were certainly much needed – and he also sparked the scoring in the domination of Merthyr with his opening.
Declan Rose deserves mention – perhaps if the end of the month had petered out with better team displays, he could have had a stronger case. The only ever-present member of the side, Rose has shown versatility this season, with Killick using him across the back four.
Against Wimborne he led the side and was given license to show case his ability moving forward, and also showed maturity in the losses at the end of the month.
Luke Burbidge again deserves credit for eclipsing the storyline of potentially leaving the club with some strong displays, notably in the defeats that came at the end of the month.
Performance of the Month – vs Merthyr Town
Being from South Wales myself, I always love a trip to God’s Country – but I can imagine a Tuesday night trip across the border isn’t every semi-pro footballer’s first idea for an autumn midweek evening.
Despite the long trek and awful weather, Poole did well to out-battle a resolute Merthyr side – eventually cruising to a 3-0 win.