JAMES Boote’s dramatic winner launched injury-hit Poole Town back into the Southern League South play-off places after a 3-2 victory over Basingstoke Town.

The on-loan Cherries youngster’s strike, coupled with Kings Langley’s 2-1 defeat at Taunton, saw Dolphins rise to fifth spot with three games of the campaign remaining.

Assistant manager Taffy Richardson said: “I was really pleased with the performance.

“Some games this season we’ve given games away, but on Saturday, with three injuries at half-time, we finished with six under-19s on the pitch.

“They dug in, came back and won the game for us. The young lads did well but the older lads also took responsibility.”

Poole squandered an early chance to take the lead when James Constable missed from the penalty spot, shortly before Marvin Brooks had a header cleared off the line.

A fantastic solo effort from Luke Roberts opened the scoring after half an hour before he combined with Constable, who slotted home to double Poole’s lead.

However, Dolphins’ afternoon began to unravel as Roberts was stretchered off shortly before half-time. He was then joined on the treatment table by Will Spetch, who suffered from concussion.

With Corby Moore also forced off injured at the break, Cherries loanees Boote and Tom Hanfrey were brought on alongside fellow loan player Tyrique Clarke of Yeovil.

With the hosts rocked by injuries, Basingstoke levelled the contest through Reece Rusher and Sam Argent.

But Poole rallied and Boote rifled home from outside the box on 78 minutes to salvage victory and lift Dolphins back into the top five.

Richardson added: “Young Boote and Clarke, they came on and I was really pleased for them.

“They celebrated off the bench last week, running down the line and now this week they’re celebrating the winner.

“Things like that mean a lot and it’s good to see them happy.

“At the end of the day, we should have won comfortably. Sometimes it’s better to struggle for a win. If we had won comfortably, we might become a bit complacent.

“We won in a manner that kept the fighting spirit, which might not have been there if we had cruised and taken our early chances. We now realise that we have to take every game seriously, all the time.”

Dolphins’ next test comes against Metropolitan Police on Saturday (3pm).

Dolphins: Cairney, Dickson, Leslie-Smith, Spetch (Clarke, h-t), Whisken, Smeeton, Bedford, Moore (Boote, h-t), Constable, Brooks, Roberts (Hanfrey, h-t). Unused subs: House, Grange.