Saturday, 12 August 2017

Sunken Poole with Rocks on Top

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 12 August 2017 at The Black Gold Stadium
Poole Town 2 East Thurrock United 3
National League South (Step 2)
613 on the lifetime list, re-completing National League South and leaving me with AFC Fylde’s new ground to restore the 116 and then Spennymoor Town to restore the 160.
Both teams have started the league season reasonably well with a home draw and an away win.
In one sentence
Two goals from Montel Agyemang swung the game in the visitors’ favour and they defended their lead well for over half an hour.
If only…
... Poole had taken the chance that came their way just after their second goal.  Strong hands by ETU keeper Lukas Lidakevicius kept Shaun Cooper’s shot out.
So what?
Poole and ETU are 11th and 5th respectively in the early league table.
Match Report
The keepers made one decent save each in the first fifteen minutes, with Poole having more possession.  However, the next fifteen belonged to East Thurrock as they forced three chances in quick succession and I noted that they should really have taken the lead.  Poole then opened the scoring.  At the end of a good run from half-way, Abdulai Baggie held the ball up and laid it into the path of Steve Devlin who was steaming in untracked from midfield.  He scored with a great shot to the bottom right corner.

The lead lasted ten minutes at most and there was a touch of good fortune about the equaliser.  I suspect that fullback Reece Harris was as surprised as anyone when his curling cross nestled in the far corner of the net.  Agyemang then got his first, cutting in from the right wing and curling a left-footer into that same corner to give East Thurrock the lead at the interval.

Agyemang's first goal to give ETU the half-time lead
Poole equalised immediately after the restart.  A well-worked move down the right eventually gave Baggie the chance to place the ball wide of Lidakevicius.  Game on, and the “if only” moment (see above) soon followed.

The winning goal came as early as the 54th minute, another Agyemang finish from distance, this time with his right foot.  East Thurrock then defended well and Lidakevicius was not too busy.  Some home fans in the hog roast corner entertained us with some top quality moaning, especially when Harris committed two almost identical fouls on the edge of the box, and only got booked for the first.  Home captain Jamie Whisken went from centre back to up front for the last few minutes – he sent a header wide in the closing moments, but that was as close as Poole got.  Not their day, and a good win on the road for the Essex side.

Poole Town 2     Devlin 31, Baggie 46
East Thurrock United 3     Harris 40, Agyemang 44, 54
Ground Pix
It’s easy to see why some Poole supporters have been hoping for a ground upgrade or even a new home.  They were denied a place in last season’s divisional playoffs due to ground requirements.  This is a really pleasant and well-kept ground that looks loved and cared-for, but unless something changes then it appears that the club are playing at their highest allowable level.

Match Pix

Pre-Match Entertainment
The original plan to spend a couple of hours in Poole was thwarted by the holiday traffic on the M25 & M3, but there was just enough time for a brief wander along the quay.  I remember Poole's large natural harbour from my 1973 Geography O-level.  This piece of ocean-going kit was one of many on show.

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Purple loses to grey (ignoring the orange stripe on the latter) and drops below yellow.  Full table will be published once a month or so.
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!

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