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So Unlucky, as Poole hang on for a point.

Sunday, 01 March 2015 09:34


Southern League Premier Division

POOLE TOWN  0 - 0  ST NEOTS TOWN              

The importance of this match to both sides was blindingly obvious.  

Poole needed to avenge a defeat earlier this season at the Cozy Stadium and maintain their push for the championship and automatic promotion whilst St Neots on the fringe of a very competitive play off zone could ill afford to lose ground.  

The outcome was probably acceptable to both in a match in which the sides effectively cancelled out the other although St Neots second half domination had suggested that they could go on to claim all three points.  

‘I thought we could have stolen a winning goal in the last ten minutes from our set pieces’ said Manager David Batch but overall he must have been very pleased with his side’s performance. 

The versatile Jack Wilkinson was ruled out of the starting line up through illness with Josh Bickerstaff coming in and there was also a return for Ryan Frater in defence after an injury absence of seven matches. Poole had an incredible home record having conceded just five goals in sixteen matches this season and this underlines the performance of the St Neots defence that recorded its fifth clean sheet in its last seven league outings.

Poole had the better start to the game under leaden skies. Jamie Whisken up for a set piece failed to capitalise on their first chance after seven minutes and then Keith Emmerson shot wide after good work by Marvin Brooks. The match was competitive and Tom Ward looked unlucky to be booked for a tackle that was no worse that half a dozen others.  

After 17 minutes Paul Bastock threw himself across his goal to push away a curling shot from Emmerson whilst at the other end Bruce Wilson fired just the wrong side of a post. Tactically Poole were utilising the space on their very wide pitch to maximum effect and from a Steve Devlin free kick Michael Walker headed the ball into the net but his effort was rightly ruled out because he had pushed a St Neots defender in the back in order to win the ball.  

Wilson became the second St Neots player to be cautioned for what looked a perfectly good challenge and St Neots best first half effort came from a flying header by Lee Clarke after a long Matt Mitchel-King long throw. The half ended with Bastock needing two attempts to retrieve an Emmerson volley after Poole’s best first half move.

If the home side had shaded the first half it was all change upon the restart. For twenty minutes St Neots ruthlessly pinned their hosts back in their own half dominating possession with early shots from Matt Spring and Mitchel King being blocked by desperate but effective defending.  

From a Ward cross Wilson saw a header plucked from under the cross bar and then Lewis Hilliard and Clarke combined well to set up Spring but he was unable to get any power into his shot that was easily saved.

Poole needing to do something to break out and sent on two substitutes to became more adventurous going forward but created little whilst from a Spring corner Adam Tann headed narrowly over the bar. Another promising move ended with Wilson being caught inches offside and on the break Marvin Brooke sent Poole’s only serious second half attempt high over the bar.  

Several late St Neots corners offered hope of a late winner but the closest they came was a Tann header that was just too high.

The next two home matches against fellow play off hopefuls now carry great significance for St Neots.


St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Bickerstaff, Mitchel-King, Frater, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Clarke, Roberts, Wilson

Subs: Longden (for Hilliard 68), Cracknell (for Spring 82), Hobbs (for Clarke 90 + 4), and Marango

Cards:  Ward (Y – 15), Wilson (Y – 26)

Goals:  none


Poole: Hutchings, Tallak, Lindsay, Walker, Whisken, Petefer, Burbridge, Devlin, Quigley, Brooks, Emmerson

Subs:  Gillespie (for Quigley 63), Roberts (for Emmerson 63), Close (for Brooks 81), Davis and Spetch.

Cards:  none

Goals:  none

Attendance: 382

Referee: Jon Creswick (Woking)

John Walker

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