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Non-league: Injury setbacks mar win for new leaders Poole
NEW league leaders Poole Town paid a heavy price for their place at the top as injuries and a controversial red card overshadowed their latest win.
Dolphins soared to the Division One South & West summit thanks to a 4-1 victory over Didcot Town, coupled with a loss for Hungerford at Merthyr.
Tom Wray fired the Oxfordshire outfit in front before the hosts responded through Steve Devlin, Michael Walker, Warren Byerley and loan ace Jacob Jagger Cane.
However, Dolphins’ day was soured when Sam Clarke was taken to Poole Hospital by ambulance after suffering a heavy knock during a collision.
Poole assistant boss James Wood confirmed that the former Weymouth defender had been given the all-clear despite initial concerns over potential head and neck injuries after a “whiplash” type impact had left him with a lack of feeling in his arm.
Wood’s mood was not helped when referee Adam Penwell dismissed midfielder Marvin Brooks for two bookable offences in a decision Tom Killick’s number two labelled “absolutely scandalous”. To make matters worse, star winger Carl Preston also hobbled off with a hamstring problem.
Discussing Clarke, Wood told the Daily Echo: “A through ball was played by Didcot and Sam came across from full-back to head it clear. He is as brave as a lion and will put his head in anywhere. He got hit from behind by Nick Hutchings (Poole keeper) and by a forward from the front.
“An X-ray showed no broken bones. He didn’t have a lot of feeling in his left arm. They were very concerned about that.
“They were going to do an MRI scan and then monitor him through the night. As it progressed after a couple of hours, he got more feeling back and they gave him the all-clear and let him go home at about 10.30pm on Saturday. He is resting and is very sore and a little bit battered and bruised.”
When asked about Brooks’s red card, Wood slammed Penwell and said: “If you asked anyone in the ground, it was an absolute joke.”
Giving his verdict on Poole’s display, Wood added: “I didn’t think it was one of our better performances of late. We knew we had to up it and play with more tempo and quality, and the players did that in the second half.
“We went down to 10 men at 2-1, which could have been disastrous for us. But we scored straight away to make it 3-1 and, with 10 men, played well, passed the ball well and retained possession. We looked a threat and it was never in doubt at that point.”
Dolphins: Hutchings, K Emmerson, Clarke (Dibba, 30), Spetch, Walker, Kelly, Devlin, Brooks, Preston (Charles, 50), Cane, Byerley (Cann, 65). Unused subs: Richardson, R Emmerson (g/k).