VICE-CHAIRMAN Chris Reeves admitted he was “absolutely horrified” at realising Poole Town’s administrative error while their match with Redditch United was being played out.
Dolphins were this week docked the three points they had earned from a 2-1 league victory over the Reds on Saturday, December 14 for fielding defender Sam Clarke while he was suspended.
There were jubilant scenes when Carl Preston netted the 90th-minute winner, but the feeling among club officials was more subdued as they realised the gravity of their mistake.
The Tatnam outfit were also handed a £250 fine for the faux pas, but of greater concern will be the sporting sanction which has left Poole eight points behind the Southern League Premier Division play-off places with a crippling fixture backlog to deal with.
Describing his feelings when the penny dropped, Reeves told the Daily Echo: “We were all absolutely horrified.
“Given that we won the match in the last minute, it was almost as bad for us as it was for Redditch and I don’t think I have ever felt so down or depressed after a win.
“We owned up to the league immediately and I think that was reflected in the punishment we received because it could have been significantly worse.
“It simply should not happen at our level of football but there would be no point in blaming individuals.”
The long-serving Dolphins director revealed that the situation had been “thoroughly examined” at board level and explained that a system of cross-checking had since been implemented to prevent any repeat.
“We had suffered a run of relentless postponements and that was where the confusion came in,” he added.
“Information now gets circulated via email so everyone under the sun knows about all bookings and suspensions so this can never happen again.”
Manager Tom Killick, who informed his players of the problem on Thursday night, yesterday sounded out a defiant message that the sanction would not affect Dolphins' promotion push.
On Killick’s comments, Reeves said: “I was overwhelmed by Tom’s positive response when we told him.
"He has been absolutely brilliant about it and his attitude to drive on reminds us how lucky we are to have such a level-headed and driven manager.”