COACH Micky Hubbard admitted he had felt the stresses of non-league management and said: “I don’t know how Tommy has done it for so long!”

Hubbard stepped into the dugout once again in the absence of banned boss Tom Killick, as Poole Town fell to a 1-0 defeat to Southern League South title-chasers Taunton.

The hosts struck a minute into the contest when Andrew Neal reacted quickest to a free-kick to poke home what proved the decisive goal at Viridor Stadium.

Dolphins, who also had Jamie Whisken sent off 18 minutes from time, remained fifth in the table on goal difference.

They have however played a game more than play-off rivals Kings Langley, who sealed a 1-0 win over Wimborne to enhance their top-five hopes.

Hubbard told the Daily Echo: “I don’t know how Tommy has done it for so long! I kept on having mini-heart attacks, it’s hard being sat this side of the game – that’s for sure!

“It was a strange game. I’ve been involved in a few as a player but never as a coach. I couldn’t understand how we didn’t score. We got the ball into the box enough times but it just seemed like it was never going to go in.

“It was hard not to turn around and say ‘unlucky lads’.

“But we also emphasised how important it had been to concentrate, especially against teams in and around us.

“That lack of concentration in the first two minutes is what has cost us at the end of the day, which was disappointing, because in my opinion for the rest of the game we dominated – even with 10 men.

“They had something to sit back and hold on to in the end and that’s what has cost us.

“We are at a stage of the season when you need results but you can’t knock the boys – they gave it their all.”

After an early onslaught that saw Poole keeper Luke Cairney make a sublime triple save, Dolphins then commanded proceedings.

While in control, Poole could not find a way to break down a resolute Taunton side and their task got even more difficult when skipper Whisken was dismissed for a second yellow following a high boot.

As Dolphins pushed for a leveller, Cherries loanee Jake Scrimshaw had the perfect opportunity to tap home after Jez Bedford’s drilled shot.

But a clearance off the line denied Dolphins a share of the spoils.

“Even with 10 men, we were still controlling the game,” added Hubbard.

“I wanted to make a sub but I thought if I did, it would kill our momentum. I tried keeping it the same for as long as possible because we did have a handful of chances and most of the ball.

“It summed up our afternoon when we had the chance near the end of the game – we had three players in the box for a tap-in but the rebound fell to the one defender to clear.”

Dolphins: Cairney, Dickson, Smeeton, Spetch, Whisken, House (Scrimshaw, 63), Griffin, Moore, Constable (Clarke, 85), Brooks, Bedford. Unused subs: Leslie-Smith, Boote, Grange.