AS THE dust settles on a controversial play-off defeat, Poole Town have their eyes firmly focused on putting things right and powering to promotion back into National League South.

After a slow start to the campaign following relegation, the Dolphins ended the 2018-19 campaign strongly and booked their spot in the play-offs.

Tom Killick’s men saw off Taunton Town, who finished 15 points above them in the league standings, thanks to a dramatic penalty shoot-out to move to within two wins of a place back at step two on the non-league pyramid.

However, they fell at the next hurdle, going down 1-0 at Metropolitan Police in the Southern League South play-off showdown as Jack Mazzone’s header was adjudged to have crossed the line, despite the best efforts of Jack Dickson to try and clear.

And with that, the season was over.

“The word goal should be in inverted commas,” Poole chairman Chris Reeves told the Daily Echo as he relived the defeat to Met Police.

“Our players were convinced it didn’t cross the line and various Police players said it didn’t cross the line.

“A couple of supporters after the game approached me and said they were embarrassed because it was clear it didn’t cross the line.

“If you look at the YouTube clip, the least that it demonstrates is you wonder how the linesman could’ve possibly been sure it had crossed the line because it certainly doesn’t look that way from the clip.”

He added: “I think by and large the officials do a good job. I think it would be inappropriate to make a universal criticism.

“People are going to have bad games from time to time and maybe they’ll make wrong decisions, which you’d like to think they would acknowledge.

“If it only dawns on them an hour or two after a game, then it’s obviously too late.

“I’m not impugning any wrongdoing on the linesman’s part in terms of that. He may have genuinely believed that it crossed the line, but all the indications are that it categorically didn’t.”

A disappointing and inconsistent first few months gave Killick’s men plenty of work to do to salvage the season.

It took an impressive run of four wins and a draw from the final five matches just for Poole to sneak into the Southern League’s top five.

And Reeves believes with the added incentive of feeling as though they were wronged against Met Police, the Dolphins will be back on the up again next season.

Asked whether he felt there would be a feeling of injustice for Poole going into the 2019-20 campaign, Reeves said: “Definitely. I think we’re already looking forward to next season.

“We’re already making plans with huge enthusiasm because we just can’t wait to get started because we know we didn’t do ourselves justice.

“We had an injury-ravaged season when we got relegated from National League South. The squad was decimated by injury.

“We got relegated after season after season of constant success. That was a difficult pill for everyone to swallow.

“We feel that we finished last season in the way that we played for the 10 years before the 2017-18 season.

“We’re really looking forward to starting next season with our old momentum back.”

He added: “I think that the ripples of disappointment from the relegation impacted on the psychology of the players perhaps a little bit more than we might’ve thought.

“Our early season performances were not as consistent as we’ve been used to. But we kept faith with the players and we kept working with them and I think in the second half of the season we turned it around.

“We’ve turned it around with our performances, we’ve turned it around with our results and we’ve also turned it around with the commitment of our supporters.

“The attendances have been on the up in the second half of the season and I think we finished with a real feel-good factor in the club.”

Asked if Poole were targeting the title next season, Reeves added: “Very much so, yes.”