By Akshay Kulkarni (@ImpatientPedant)
Poole Town manager Tom Killick was scathing about his team’s performance after their 4-0 home thrashing against Eastbourne Borough on Saturday.
Three goals in the first 30 minutes at Black Gold stadium put the game out of reach for the Dolphins in the first half and, despite a better defensive showing after the interval, Gavin McCallum netted the fourth in stoppage time.
The result compounded Poole’s woes at home, with the Dorset side having the worst home record in the division.
Killick exclusively told the Bournemouth Rock: “We’d had a mini-resurgence in the league, if you disregard last Saturday where we were deprived through circumstances beyond our control.
“But today we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves…we were just inept from start to finish.”
It was another setback after the loss to Havant & Waterlooville last weekend, when goalkeeper Nick Hutchings was sent off, although the red card was eventually rescinded by the FA.
Poole were without captain Jamie Whisken, perhaps a decisive factor in the first half defensive capitulation.
Killick said: “You’re always going to miss your captain, he’s a very stabilising influence. But, we have got to look beyond that.
“We had 11 players who had an opportunity to win a football match, and pretty much to a man they were all below par. If that happens, you’re going to get beaten – not only beaten but soundly beaten.”
The South Coast strugglers made the worst possible start, conceding after only four minutes, and the manager concedes it was a huge setback.
Killick continued: “We were frustrated with the first goal because it was two teams struggling for confidence, and first goal was a clear push. Suddenly you’re one-nil down and confidence, when it’s fragile, things like that can set you back.
“How much did that [early goal] dent us, how much did it lift them? You never really know.
“However frustrated we are with that, you can’t then just disregard what happened in the next 85 minutes.
“We have to look a bit closer to home today. It wasn’t like last week when it was one huge decision and other than that we had a good performance.
“Today we had a decision that went against us, but it was a horrendous performance and that’s the only thing we can control – ourselves.”
The result further deepens Poole’s relegation worries, and the boss will not prioritise the remaining cup competition ahead of the relegation scrap.
“I haven’t even really thought about the cup game,” Killick said. “Our focus is on the league game [against Braintree], we have to see what that brings.”
The Dolphins’ nightmare at Black Gold stadium was compounded by a number of injury concerns, although Killick has reassured the Rock that none are long-term.
“[Warren] Bentley’s definitely okay. Lewis Lindsay came off, and he’s possibly struggling with a hamstring injury.
“Jamie Whisken should be back next week, and Jordan Alawode-Williams was more of a cramp, so he should be okay.”
Poole have 12 league games remaining to retain their status in National League South, starting with a trip to 8th placed Braintree Town on Saturday.