Poole Town 3 : 0 St Neots Town FC
Poole Town 3 : 0
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 21 November, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

POOLE TOWN  3 - 0   ST NEOTS TOWN               

This time last season Poole led the Premier Division by seven points and after this match it is almost a case of deja-vu as they are now five points ahead of the pack.   However using this match as a yardstick they look to be on their way to making up for the disappointment of last season when their promotion ambitions were dashed by St Neots in the semi-final play-off.  

They simply outclassed St Neots in this match that would have ended as a slaughter but for the heroics of Andy Wilton in goal as he produced a string of outstanding saves.  

Poole strolled imperiously into a three goals lead before seeing out the last twenty minutes without looking defensively vulnerable whilst St Neots looked mesmerised but were a long way from full strength.  

During the week Connor Hall and Josh Beech joined Nathan Frater on a list of those who had left the club and the news that Tom Ward and Adam Tann had failed to recover from midweek injury meant that Manager David Batch had few selection options.  

The one bonus was the return from injury of Brett Longden and that display from the goalkeeper.

Almost before the spectators had settled into their seats Poole had taken the lead when in the fourth minute a corner by Steve Devlin was not cleared and defender Will Spetch netted from close range.  

An early sign of St Neots’ defiance saw Drew Roberts push home keeper Nick Hutchings to a full length save but most of the action was in the opposite half.   Marvin Brooks shot narrowly wide and the impressive Devlin saw his shot deflected before from the resultant corner Wilton produced the first of a string of saves to deny Michael Walker.  

Poole’s main threat came down the right flank where Luke Burbidge looked unstoppable with his mixture of pace and trickery.  

From his opening Brooks had a volley well covered by Wilton and after 22 minutes Burbidge ghosted past two defenders and his low narrow angled shot was spectacularly pushed away one handed by the St Neots keeper.  

St Neots did create one potential opening when Longden played Drew Roberts free of the defence a minute later only for him to be brought down from behind by Walker earning the Poole defender a yellow card.  

After half an hour Luke Roberts set up Jack Dickson who brought the outstanding first half save from Wilton and the half ended with Devlin seeing his low shot rebound from a goalpost.

In a bid to stem the right sided threat from Burbidge St Neots reshuffled at half time with Galliford replacing Mailancol at left back and Claudio Ofosu on as a midfield replacement.  

However the relentless Poole pressure continued and after 51 minutes from another Devlin corner Luke Burbidge got the reward for his outstanding performance as he claimed the second goal through a crowd of players leaving the unfortunate Wilton unsighted.  

However just past the hour Wilton again grabbed the limelight with a brilliant one handed save to deny Brooks a third Poole goal and he also saved well from Luke Roberts.  

Isaac Galliford had done a good job curbing the threat from Burbidge but midway through the second half St Neots made a further attempt to shackle the winger pushing Longden to mark him and replacing Galliford with Ryan Horne.  

St Neots had a better spell from that point with Horne and Lee Clarke in midfield beginning to prompt their attack and Longden crossed accurately for Tom Meechan to head over the bar.  

However Poole were now playing in second gear but that was sufficient for Brooks to bring the save of the match from Wilton at the expense of another corner.  

From that Walker claimed a third goal for the home side to complete St Neots misery and with fifteen minutes left Poole decided the match was won and sent on their three permitted substitutes for some ‘playing time’. 

From then St Neots did look more confident and Ryan Hawkins shot over the bar when well placed and Meechan brought a rare save from home keeper Nick Hutchings. 

However this was just a late and rather futile effort to record their presence in a game where they were well beaten.

St Neots: Wilton, Anton, Mailancol, Longden, Mitchel-King, Blackett, Hawkins Clarke, Meechan, Roberts, Galliford

Subs: Ofosu (for Mailancol 46), Horne (for Galliford 68), Vieira (for Roberts 77), Hobbs and Sutton.

Cards:  none

Goals:  none

Poole: Hutchings, Tallack, Lindsay, Walker, Spetch, Pettefer, Burbidge, Devlin, Roberts, Brooks, Devlin

Subs:  Connell (for Lindsay 75), Holmes (for Devlin 75), Salama (for Brooks 75), Gleeson and Rees.

Cards:  Walker (Y – 23)

Goals:  Spetch (4 mins), Burbidge (51 mins), Walker  (71 mins)

Attendance: 355

Referee: Bhupinder Gill (Iver, Bucks)

John Walker