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Boss Killick in bullish mood as Poole return to league summit
BOSS Tom Killick piloted Poole back to the top of the Southern Premier League and then sounded out a defiant message to their pursuers: “It’s not beyond us to stay there.”
The Dolphins, briefly toppled following Tuesday’s fixtures, returned to the summit after maintaining their unbeaten start with a deserved 3-1 victory at Frome Town last night.
Dan Cann’s first goal of the season paved the way at the Aldersmith Stadium, the Poole skipper applying a glancing header to a pinpoint Richard Gillespie cross after just seven minutes.
Will Spetch inadvertently headed past his own goalkeeper Dan Thomas to level for the Robins in the 12th minute, although the defender would go on to have the last word.
Spetch completed the scoring when he nodded home a Steve Devlin free-kick 20 minutes from time – with Devlin having fired the visitors in front after converting a first-half penalty.
Killick, who guided Poole to the Division One South & West title last season, said: “It is never too early to crow about being top of the league because you don’t how long it is going to last or how often it is going to happen.
“It is early but it has been an exceptional effort from the players. It was our aim to be in and around the top of the league and things have gone really well. But it is not beyond our expectations.
“I would have been disappointed if we had been anything other than in the top five or six at this stage. Things have probably gone a little better than we might have thought but not dramatically so.
“I think we have got the players to mount a serious challenge so, to be where we are, doesn’t really surprise me. But still an awful lot of credit needs to go to the players for what they have done.
“It is quite sobering when you look at the fixture list and the games coming up. It will be difficult to maintain but, with the ability we have got, I don’t see it as beyond us by any means.”
Dolphins were indebted to goalkeeper Dan Thomas for pulling off two stunning saves, the former Cherries apprentice tipping a rasping drive from Connor Waldon over the crossbar with the score at 1-0 and then keeping out a ferocious effort from Giani Kapika when it was 2-1.
However, the visitors also had further chances to extend their lead with Carl Preston, Ian Oliver and new loan recruit Jacob Jagger-Cane from Exeter City all going close in the final 20 minutes.
Killick added: “Winning away from home, you can’t be too negative about the performance. I didn’t think we played particularly well but Jacob Jagger-Cane coming in gave us some real quality on the ball and, at times, we passed it well.
“We probably passed it better than we did on Saturday but we didn’t create enough clear-cut chances. Overall, it keeps everything going so we are pleased.”
Although there was an element of doubt surrounding Cann’s headed opener after the ball appeared to have flicked off a defender before flying into the top corner, Killick insisted the goal would be credited to his captain.
“He got himself into a good area,” said Killick. “He isn’t a prolific goalscorer so I don’t think we will be taking it away from him!
“The first goal was a good passing move from us. Other than that, the penalty and a set-play, we didn’t really create an awful lot and, considering the amount of possession we had, that was probably the only downside.
“But I don’t want to be too critical. The players have put in a lot of effort and we have had quite a lot of games in a short space of time. Their endeavours have put us in a brilliant position.”
Defender Sam Clarke is expected to be a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Hitchin after turning his ankle early in the second half.
Dolphins: Thomas, Clarke (Rowe, 52), Spetch, Oliver, Whisken, Pettefer, Jagger-Cane, Devlin, Gillespie (Byerley, 74), Preston (Elliott, 77), Cann. Unused subs: Ohameje, Hutchings (g/k).
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