SHELL-SHOCKED boss Tom Killick admitted defeat in the race for the play-offs as Poole Town were outfoxed by highly-charged Hungerford Town last night.
Stefan Brown struck at the start of each half to hand Dolphins’ direct rivals a 2-0 victory, a result which left Killick’s off-colour side seven points shy of their target with just six games to play.
Brown deftly steered past Poole keeper Nick Hutchings after a deep free kick had been nodded back into the danger zone on seven minutes as the Crusaders set a brisk first-half tempo.
The game was up for the visitors when Mark Draycott’s flick set Brown free to lob Hutchings from an acute angle four minutes into the second half, despite vehement appeals for offside.
Jordan Chiedozie saw his clever shot into the ground acrobatically tipped away, while Marvin Brooks should have done better with two close-range headers as Poole’s attempts to get back in the game proved in vain.
A crestfallen Killick pulled no punches in his post-match assessment and conceded the defeat had halted his side’s push for the top five.
Killick said: “Hungerford deserved to win and were better than us. They are not better footballers but had more desire to win the game and that made a big difference.
“In the first half they were much stronger and much hungrier.
“The second goal was an absolute catastrophe and that was the end of the game, it played right into their hands.
“In terms of our ambitions for the play-offs, it has put an end to them which hugely disappoints me because I know we are a better side than Hungerford.
“That shouldn’t have happened and should tell our players a story. They made up for their limitations but we seem to have done the opposite.”
Poole travel to third-placed St Albans City tomorrow (3.07pm).
Dolphins: Hutchings, Burbidge, Martin, Wannell, Whisken, Pettefer (Davies, 63), Brooks, Devlin, Gillespie (Charles, 22), Preston (Cann, 73), Chiedozie. Unused subs: Elliott, Thomas (g/k).
- Meanwhile, Poole today confirmed that their Tatnam Road ground had passed the Football Association's C grading.
It means Dolphins can compete in the Southern League Premier Division next season and would be eligible for promotion to the Conference South.
- In the Wessex Premier, Verwood Town lost 4-0 at Fareham Town.