Monday, 1 October 2012

Report: Poole Town 1-1 Bashley - FA Trophy 1st Qual Rd

LATE GOAL: Benssaouda
KARIM Benssaouda’s last ditch equaliser gave this FA Trophy tie an all too familiar finish as Poole Town rescued a replay with local rivals Bashley.

Bash suffered late heartache in the FA Cup, losing a 90th minute goal to draw 1-1 with Gosport Borough three weeks ago before controversially losing the replay in the now famous ‘phantom goal’ incident.

And with Poole, who went into the game boasting a 100% home record, trailing their Southern Premier visitors by a single goal, there was an air of inevitability about the Dolphins’ leveller at the death.

Tatnam boss Tom Killick has readily admitted that his side have yet to sparkle this season, but have still ground out the necessary results, especially on home soil.

So despite their average-at-best showing in what was anything but a ding-dong derby, the draw was not surprising or undeserved.

The lower league hosts went into the clash as favourites with a three point lead at the top of the Southern South & West while Bashley sit second from bottom in the Premier Division, higher league status that just eluded Poole in the play-offs at the end of last season.

The Dolphins played with confidence and made the early running, but it was Bash who created the most presentable openings in a goalless first half.

The visitors felt they should have had a penalty on 16 minutes when debutant Andrew Jenkinson’s throughball was handled by Will Spetch, but referee Mark Lawrence infuriated Bash boss Frank Gray by awarding a free kick on the edge of the penalty area for an offence that both sides acknowledged was inside the box.

Charlie Knight was at the hub of Bashley’s attacks, providing the ammunition for James Stokoe to miss a sitter from five yards midway through the first half.

However, Bash were forced to defend in numbers and were often indebted to another new face, goalkeeper Stuart Moore, who caught several testing crosses under severe pressure from the host’s attack.

Benssaouda dispossessed Brad Strickland but shot across the face of goal before Carl Preston hit the post as Poole finish the first 45 with a flourish.

The interval, however, came at the wrong time for the Dolphins who failed to settle at all in the second half and Bashley took full advantage four minutes after the restart.

Giant defender Ian Richardson pressured Marvin Brooks into flicking a header towards his own goal from Josh Casey’s free kick and left ‘keeper Nick Hutchings stranded as the ball looped into the net.

Poole had their own penalty appeal waved away moments later when Gary Middleton appeared to wrestle Michael Walker to the ground, but Bash were in the ascendency and could have wrapped the tie up in the final fifteen minutes.

Firstly, an unmarked Knight headed Tom Hill’s cross over at the far post before Stokoe shot tamely into Hutchings’ arms when one-on-one with four minutes to go.

Those misses set up a grandstand finish with two efforts scrambled off the Bashley line in a goal mouth melee.

But the hosts were not to be denied as marauding full back Keith Emmerson burst from his own half to the edge of the penalty area, seeing his low shot well parried by the unfortunate Moore who could do nothing to stop Benssaouda’s rebound.

Both bosses had differing views on the performance levels at full time, which is unsurprising on current form. 

The draw was a fair result though, and it is back to Bashley Road on Tuesday night with the incentive of a winnable tie at home to Didcot Town for the victors.  

POOLE TOWN: Hutchings, Baines (S Brown 69), Spetch, Emmerson, Walker, S Richardson (Wilson 58), Kelly (Burbidge 77), Devlin, Benssaouda, Preston, Brooks. 

Unused subs: O’Donnell, T Brown (g/k).

Goal: Benssaouda 90. 

BASHLEY: Moore, Smith, Casey, Strickland, Middleton, I Richardson, Finlay (Oliver 80), Hill, Stokoe, Jenkinson, Knight. 

Unused subs: Gazzard, Farren, Vokes, Kearn (g/k).

Goal: Brooks(og) 49.

STAR MAN: Stuart Moore (Bashley)

In what was not the most inspiring of football matches, Moore withstood the pressure piled on by Poole's big hitters on an important afternoon between the sticks for the Reading youngster. Making his debut in the heat of a local derby, in an FA competition, is not easy for a young goalkeeper, but his bravery from the outset saw him command his area well. Despite Benssaouda taking the plaudits late on, Moore's impressive contribution should not be overlooked. 

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