Poole Town: Bennett brace just enough for off-colour Dolphins

Bournemouth Echo: AT THE DOUBLE: Poole Town striker Justin Bennett AT THE DOUBLE: Poole Town striker Justin Bennett

BOSS Tom Killick hopes Poole Town can build on last night’s fortunate 2-0 victory after being rattled by relegation battlers AFC Totton.

On-loan striker Justin Bennett took full advantage of two kind breaks and proved the difference at Tatnam as the win, coupled with results elsewhere, moved Dolphins to within eight points of the Southern Premier play-off places.

Bennett, borrowed from Gosport Borough, charged down Stags keeper Steve Mowthorpe’s clearance and found the empty net in the fourth minute.

Poole went on to dominate but failed to find a cutting edge before Totton grew into the game and spurned gilt-edged chances through Cherries loanee Lewis Lindsay and captain Rob Flooks before half-time.

The visitors continued to threaten but Dolphins grabbed the all-important second when Carl Preston ran round grounded Totton midfielder Liam Gilbert and cut back for goal machine Bennett to net for the seventh time in six Dolphins appearances.

Substitute Michael Charles pelted the post late on as Poole saw out their success with relative ease.

But Killick conceded his players had lacked their usual zest and was happy to escape with a maximum haul against plucky opponents.

He told the Daily Echo: “I thought we were really unconvincing while you could tell Totton were on a bit of high.

“It was hard to imagine they had played like that every week because they were one of the better sides we have faced at home this season.

“They caused us problems from start to finish and could have scored on more than one occasion.

“Both of our goals and the circumstances which surrounded them were unfortunate from their perspective, so it was one of those occasions where we were just grateful for the three points.

“Having lost just once (in the league) all season, we were suddenly defeated twice in four days and as a result, we looked indecisive and short of confidence.

“Hopefully, we can at least take some momentum from the result, get ourselves back on track and improve our performance levels on Saturday.”

There was, however, one crumb of comfort for Killick as Richard Gillespie made his long-awaited return from a persistent heel injury which had sidelined the striker since October.

Following Gillespie’s five-minute cameo, Killick added: “From my point of view, apart from the result, Gilly’s comeback was the only bright spot associated with the game.

“He has behaved with real professionalism, embraced his treatment and made sure he has been around the majority of our games.

“Tom Stone (physiotherapist) and Tom Roberts (conditioning coach) have done a lot of work with him in terms of general fitness and rehabilitation, but Gilly has been a very proactive participant and it was brilliant to get him back out there.”

Dolphins: Thomas, Burbidge, Spetch, Martin, Whisken, Pettefer, Davies (Elliott, 71), Devlin (Charles, 59), Bennett (Gillespie, 85), Preston, Brooks. Unused subs: Dibba, Hutchings (g/k).

  • Elsewhere in the Southern Premier, Bashley lost 2-0 at home to Hitchin Town, while Hamworthy United slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Folland Sports in the Wessex Premier.

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