TOM Killick says new recruit Luke Holmes showed he "has what it takes at this level" after coming off the bench to score in Poole Town's plucky 3-1 win over Harrow Borough.

Holmes departed Wimborne Town for Salisbury last month, only to be released after just one match with boss Steve Claridge claiming the midfielder "doesn't feel mentally strong enough for this sort of challenge".

But he made an instant impression in his second spell for Poole, finding the net either side of Harry Baker and Marvin Brooks strikes to earn victory which keeps the Dolphins top of Southern League South.

Boss Killick told the Daily Echo: "Luke is a fantastic lad and he knows the club already.

"Saturday's performance showed that despite a tough few weeks, he has what it takes at this level."

Welcoming captain Jamie Whisken and midfielder Josh Carmichael back from suspension, Killick named a much-changed side from the midweek defeat to local rivals Wimborne Town in the Southern League Combination Cup.

Dolphins grasped control of the game after just four minutes, when Baker was well poised to poke the ball between the legs of Hafed Al-Droubi in the Harrow goal.

Baker got his chance after both sides played pinball in the box, with the ball eventually falling back down to earth at the feet of Baker.

Despite the early lead and grip on the scoreline, the first half was a drab affair that saw neither side truly dominate proceedings. Luke Cairney was called upon a few times for some routine saves, but Poole failed to create anything of real note beyond their opener.

A double change shortly after the break saw Holmes mark his return and winger Flavio Tavares also introduced.

An uncharacteristic mistake from Cairney saw the sweeper-keeper misjudge a headed clearance, leaving Dolphins scrambling at the back to cover. Poole escaped with a throw-in, but the away side were now in the ascendency.

Poole resorted to attempting to hit Borough on the break, and it almost came off when Baker was put through one-on-one with Al-Droubi.

Al-Droubi held his ground to deny the in-form striker and in turn set up his side for their own counter, which again the Dolphins just about dealt with, the attack fizzling out after another strong save by Cairney.

But their counter-attacking tactic would pay off when a mazy run by Baker saw the ball squared to Brooks, who happily tapped home to seal the game as a contest.

If there was any doubt to the final result, Holmes marked his second Dolphins debut with a lovely dinked finish over Al-Droubi to make it three.

A scrappy Excellence Muhemba goal from a corner gave Harrow a glimmer of hope with six added minutes, but Poole had already cemented their place at the top of the table.

“Despite the fact we weren’t at our best today, I was pleased with the performance," said Killick.

"Young Harry Baker did very well to open the scores, but throughout the first half we were on the back foot.

“I was very impressed with what I saw from Holmes and Tavares. They changed how we operated out wide, and that paid off massively.

“Overall we can say we’ve had a strong start to the season. Even when performances haven’t been perfect, we have dug deep to produce results. We just need to keep that going now.”

Poole: Cairney, Dickson, Jackson, Spetch, Whisken, Bedford (Tavares, 53), Carmichael, Moore, Baker (Smeeton, 84), Brooks, Dennett (Holmes, 53).

Unused Subs: Cope, Leslie-Smith.