Monday, 7 January 2013

Report: Poole Town 2-3 Yate Town - Southern S&W

Yate's Matt Groves

THERE was an element of fate about Poole Town’s imperious home run coming to an end against bogey side Yate Town.

The Dolphins juggernaut has kept driving into Hungerford’s lead at the top of the Southern South & West, but all of the statistics and circumstances seemed against Poole on a day where Matt Groves’ injury time winner for Yate seemed inevitable.

Poole’s run of six straight wins with clean sheets in their last four surpassed Yate’s unbeaten run of seven matches with five wins going into the clash, but the visitors’ form was all the more surprising after winning one and losing nine of the opening ten matches before that.

And with boss Tom Killick away, the hosts were soon light on the pitch as well, assistant boss James Wood having to use all three substitutions before the second half started after injuries to defender Sam Clarke, wing wizard Carl Preston and goal machine Warren Byerley.

But in truth, the Dolphins were off colour before that and always looked uncharacteristically vulnerable at the back. On a heavy pitch, the hosts lacked tempo while Yate worked hard and were swift on the break, making light of the difficult conditions.

The match ebbed and flowed with little punch in the final third until Yate took a 13th minute lead with a goal that would give Killick nightmares had he seen it.

After Groves’ shot was blocked by the chest of Will Spetch, the Dolphins failed to regroup for the resultant corner with Tom Seery heading home unchallenged from close range.

Poole were laboured in their efforts to fight back, but the revelation that is Warren Byerley conjured up some magic and earned a slice of luck with the equaliser.

The former Weymouth front man cut inside and did well to work some space on the edge of the penalty area before hitting a tame, bobbling shot that was heading well wide until Luke Burbidge reacted first, bombing onto the loose ball to crash home the leveller.

Byerley kept battling away and a neat touch and turn two minutes later bought the savvy striker some space on the edge of the box again and this time he made no mistake, his looping shot was deflected past the helpless Josh Dempsey to hand the hosts the lead.

Yate were not done and smart link up play between Mitchell Page and Scott Wilson saw the latter curl an effort just wide of Nick Hutchings’ post, but Poole did not heed the warning and allowed their lead to slip a minute later.

Wilson drove into space down the left and swung the ball in to the far post where the onrushing Page carefully watched the ball and sent a sublime cushioned volley past the flailing Hutchings.

The Dolphins were forced into some desperate defending before the break with Keith Emmerson instrumental as Clarke and Preston struggled with knocks that ultimately ended their afternoon.

And worse was to follow and an innocuous clash between Byerley and Yate’s Tom Warren saw Poole’s best hope writhing in agony after landing awkwardly on his ankle.

All three were replaced and while Poole kept plugging away, they just didn’t look the same side after the break.

Steve Devlin almost caught Dempsey out with an audacious chip while Byerley’s replacement Michael Charles, who looked out of sorts, spurned two presentable chances.

Yate were still dangerous on the break despite looking tired in some areas as Groves constantly switched wings to prove a thorn in Poole’s side. He flashed a shot just wide with Hutchings rooted to the spot midway through the second half before Adam Kelly saw Warren head his effort off the line at the other end.

Groves skimmed the post for Yate while Marvin Brooks drew a full stretch save from Dempsey as both sides cautiously sought the winner.

But it was Yate who upset the form book with another lapse in concentration proving costly. Wilson’s deep ball from right to left caught the Dolphins’ defence napping and Groves had time to cushion his header back across Hutchings at the far post, leaving the host’s 13 match unbeaten league run at Tatnam in tatters.

It was not all bad news though as, whisper it carefully, arch rivals Wimborne did the Dolphins a favour by ending title rivals Swindon Supermarine’s winning run as well as top dogs Hungerford losing at Mangotsfield.

This was an off day, but a rare one. Poole did show their quality in patches and could still have snared victory had one of their second half chances been converted. The Dolphins are still hot favourites to win the Southern South & West and rightly so.

Yate will rightly savour this victory but a betting man would still back Poole to lift the ultimate prize come May.

*THE post match interview with the Bournemouth Echo was with striker Warren Byerley who discusses his future at Tatnam after spending time dual registered with Dorchester Town

POOLE TOWN: Hutchings, Clarke (Baines 39), Spetch, Emmerson, Walker, Howes, Burbidge, Devlin, Byerley (Charles h-t), Preston (Kelly h-t), Brooks. Unused sub: Dibba. 

Goals: Burbidge 22, Byerley 24.

YATE TOWN: Dempsey, Warren, Cox, Thomas, Seery, Bater (Sarr 90+1), Groves, Bryant, Page, Wilson, Wring (Purnell 74). Unused subs: Meaker, Barnes, Cousins.

Goals: Seery 13, Page 30, Groves 90+2.

STAR MAN: Matt Groves (Yate Town)

Poole’s momentum was often stifled by their own misfortune, but Yate’s outball to Groves on the wings were also a vital part of their victory. As his team mates around him tired, Groves played with zest and energy and carried the fight. Fitting that he snatched the winning goal. 

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