BOSS Tom Killick praised Poole Town’s improved second-half showing following the 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Oxford City, writes JACK TANNER.

Dolphins' disappointing recent form has left them languishing at the lower end of the National South table, raising concerns among club officials and fans alike.

But after falling behind to a 20th-minute strike from Matt Paterson – a former transfer target for Killick – Dolphins eased those fears.

First, substitute Jez Bedford’s pinpoint cross was nodded home by Warren Bentley and after the break, the striker rounded off a textbook counter-attack to put his team in front.

A similar move saw Portsmouth loan ace Bedford grab Poole’s third via a tap-in, meaning Paterson’s injury-time effort proved only a consolation.

Reflecting on the decision to change the game plan at half-time, Killick said: “After about 20 minutes had gone, you would have said the chances of us winning looked unlikely.

"The victory is testament to the spirit we showed in the second half as we restricted them to nothing and they resorted to launching balls from the back.

“We spoke at half-time about switching things because I felt we looked inferior and were lucky to go in level, and we couldn’t just carry on doing the same thing and hope for a different outcome.

“Rather than chase them and allow them space in behind the defence, we withdrew, kept our shape and that forced them to go long.

"We looked very dangerous on the break and were well worth the win in the end. The players deserve credit for executing the plan so well."

As a result of the victory, Poole moved three points clear of the drop zone with Oxford, Concord and Whitehawk now occupying the bottom three.

“Three points is a precious return for us considering we now have a two-week gap before our next game," said Killick. "To have lost or drawn would have put us in a very difficult situation.

“You also have to take into account that we were playing a team who are down in the lower reaches with us, so a win is that much sweeter.”

The only negative for Killick was the enforced withdrawals of Steve Devlin and Jack Dickson during the first period, with both players succumbing to injury.

However, the Dolphins boss is hopeful his wafer-thin squad will not be stretched much further.

Killick added: “That’s the only benefit of the two-week gap – that we have a chance for players to recover and, hopefully, get back to full fitness before our next game.

"Steve’s injury is with his hamstring so it appears more likely we will have Jack (shin splints) back first.

"In a fortnight’s time, we might also have Jake Smeeton back, but that will be a close call.”

Dolphins: Hutchings, Lindsay, Moore, Spetch, Whisken, Pettefer, Dickson (Neale, 40), Devlin (Bedford 7), Bentley (Gillespie 81), Cooper, Harfield. Unused subs: Balmer, Lee.