POOLE PLAYOFF PICTURE REMAINS THE SAME DESPITE BATH DEFEAT

Bath City celebrate their 15th minute opener via Marvin Morgan – Photo by: Andy Orman

Poole Town’s end-of-season slump showed no signs of halting after they tasted defeat at the hands of Bath City.

With Abdulai Baggie forced out of the team with an injury picked up in Friday’s draw with Hemel Hempstead, the winger joined Jake Smeeton and Richard Gillespie on the injury list.

Senior players Lewis Tallack and Shaun Cooper came in, but with very limited options to bring in players, manager Tom Killick drafted in two under 18s, Josh Leslie-Smith and Harvey Wright, whom he handed debuts to late on in the game.

The reverse fixture was settled by an injury time winner, but this affair wasn’t as closely thought as the first back in August. Poole rarely threatened in a Bath dominated first half, and the hosts were ahead after quarter of an hour.

A long throw into the box was enough to see the Dolphins undone, as Marvin Morgan had space to head past Nick Hutchings and open the scores.

Poole have only won one game this year after conceding first, and as the game progressed, it seemed that fact would be given another statistic as evidence.

The Romans looked to have doubled their lead when striker Nick McCootie bullied Will Spetch off the ball, but his converted effort was chalked off for offside. This was not the end of severe Bath pressure, but the hosts could not make their dominance show any further on the scoreline.

Beside a five-minute period of control in the large chunk of additional time in the first half, Poole looked a shadow of the side that positioned themselves high up in the National South table.

A performance in the second half was needed if Poole wanted to salvage the game but the Dolphins were quickly caught short at the back, allowing Shawn McCoulsky an opportunity one-on-one with Nick Hutchings to double scores.

Shaun Cooper had Poole’s best chance when he latched onto a high ball into the box, but he took one touch too many as he blasted wide from six yards.

As Poole committed men in search of an equaliser, they left themselves exposed at the back and at that point, it was easy for the hosts to pick them off on the counter and ensure the game was over as a contest.

Chas Hemmings did exactly that when he rounded off a textbook counter, leaving the Dolphins on the wrong side of a 3-0 defeat for the second away trip in succession.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for Poole, as nearest rivals Hungerford also tasted defeat as Hemel Hempstead dealt the damage to dent the Crusader’s playoff push.

The Dolphins will travel down the south coast next Saturday, as they visit relegation threatened Whitehawk. With the Hawks fighting for their lives, no points are guaranteed – but if Poole pick up all three, and Hungerford drop any at the hands of Wealdstone (who themselves have an outside chance of the playoffs) it will ensure Poole a 5th placed finish.

However, due to results elsewhere, Poole now cannot finish above 5th place.

17th April 2017 - Jack Tanner