POOLE Town boss Tom Killick was relieved to avoid a "quite damaging" defeat after watching his side surrender a two-goal lead against Hampton & Richmond before battling back to grab a draw.

Dolphins appeared well in control of Saturday's National South clash at the revamped Black Gold Stadium when they headed into half-time 2-0 up thanks to an early strike from Abdulai Baggie and a Luke Roberts header.

However, three goals in 10 second-half minutes saw the Beavers go in front for the first time.

Brendan Kiernan started the comeback in the 67th minute and substitute Duncan Culley levelled after Poole had failed to clear a corner, with Kiernan making it 3-2 when he lifted the ball into the unguarded net.

But just when it appeared Hampton had secured three points, substitute James Granger's low free-kick was parried by keeper Sam Howes and Marvin Brooks gleefully steered home the equaliser.

Killick told the Daily Echo: "We're frustrated at letting a two-goal lead slip but you have to give credit to Hampton & Richmond. I thought we were the better side in the first half but they made changes at half-time in terms of personnel and shape, which proved effective.

"In the first half their striker Shamir Mullings didn't have huge numbers of people around him but in the second half, they got more bodies in forward positions and were picking up the second balls.

"We couldn't really get out or get hold of the ball so our defenders got no respite. The pressure we were under was relentless. We were going to crack at some point and that's what happened.

"You couldn't really see us getting back into the game at that point. We were staring at defeat which would have been quite damaging both in terms of points and morale.

"But we managed to pick ourselves up and get the goal and I think it was a fair result. They are a good side, particularly in terms of the threat they pose from an attacking perspective."

Poole ended the weekend fifth in the standings, just three points clear of play-off chasers Hungerford who defeated Concord, while Hampton are seventh.

Killick, who faced no additional sanctions from the Football Association after being sent to the stand against Welling, added: "When you look at the league table, it's not a bad result in terms of us and them, although Hungerford winning was not ideal."

Killick included Taffy Richardson among his matchday substitutes but the 50-year-old did not make it onto the pitch.

And with a midweek clash against Truro coming up, the boss joked: "We had to keep him fresh for Tuesday."

Defender Will Spetch will serve the second of a two-match ban against the White Tigers so Jake Smeeton could deputise after impressing alongside Jamie Whisken at centre-half against Hampton.

Dolphins: Hutchings, Tallack, Moore, Smeeton, Whisken, Pettefer (Granger, 82), Burbidge, Devlin, Roberts, Brooks, Baggie. Unused subs: Cooper, Richardson, Askew, Rees (g/k).