Non-league: Taffy tips Poppies to soldier on despite last-ditch heartache

Bournemouth Echo: GUTTED: Dual-registered Poppies veteran Taffy Richardson GUTTED: Dual-registered Poppies veteran Taffy Richardson

DEBUTANT Taffy Richardson backed Bournemouth Poppies to battle their way to safety after coming tantalisingly close to victory over high-flying Winchester City.

Evergreen midfielder Richardson, 47, made his first start since joining on dual registration from Poole Town and played the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s 4-3 defeat – a match Ken Vaughan’s charges led with just five minutes to play.

Lloyd Webber had poked City in front during a dreary opening 45 minutes before German midfielder Moritz Glasbrenner levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Poppies took the lead through Glasbrenner’s drive from distance just after the hour but Chris Flood’s deflected effort soon got Winchester back on terms as the pace of the game became increasingly frenetic.

Top scorer Martin Warren’s blistering 30-yard effort put Poppies back in the driving seat before Glasbrenner blazed over from close quarters when he should have sealed the deal for the hosts.

His profligacy proved costly when Elliot Ward was caught in possession in the build-up to Liam Robinson’s late leveller before Glasbrenner skewed horribly wide when presented with a gaping goal in the 90th minute.

And matters were made even worse when City substitute Daryll Phillips finished off Flood’s virtuoso run two minutes into added time with Poppies cruelly denied three crucial points in their battle to avoid the Wessex Premier trapdoor.

The last-ditch reverse, coupled with a win for second-bottom Fawley, left Poppies two points and two places above the relegation places.

However, despite being crestfallen by the bitter ending, Richardson reckons Poppies will soon be sailing towards calmer waters – as long as they can repeat their spirited display on a regular basis.

Richardson told the Daily Echo: “I felt gutted for the other players more than myself because they put in a real shift and you could see how much they wanted to win it.

“But, hopefully, they can take something from this and do the same things against the lesser sides. If they do they have a great chance of getting out of trouble.

“What will be more important is how Poppies do against the teams around or just above them. They are your bread and butter because you can’t compete with the likes of Sholing and Winchester over the course of the season, even if you give them a game on the day.”

However, the borrowed talisman tempered his positive outlook by pointing out Poppies had more than played their part in their own downfall.

“Fair play to Winchester, they kept going but it felt like we lost it rather than them doing anything special,” added Richardson.

“If we had done the basic things better in those last five minutes then the game would have been won. We could have been 5-2 up and even at 3-2 we would have held out if we had just smashed it up the line at times.

“To be fair, they created some really good chances as well but we were definitely worth at least a point.”

Poppies: Vaughan, Martinez, Jackson, Hales, Burgis, Richardson, Glasbrenner, Ward, Warren, Saadi (Cooper, 50), Phillips. Unused subs: Ingram, Turner, Bray (g/k).

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