Poole Town 1 Whitehawk 1
A point at Poole was not good enough to give the Hawks a chance of finishing third from bottom in the National League South. Poole’s own fate will now be decided on the final Saturday of the season.
Steve King made two changes to the side that had won at Hungerford, with Simon Mensah and Sam Chaney returning in midfield. An injury to Lloyd Macklin in the warm up meant Tomi Adeloye starting up front, with a place on the bench for Connor Tighe.
On a near perfect playing surface, the game was a contrast to the previous scrap at Hungerford with both teams looking to play football on the ground. Elliot Benyon departed with a knock after just 7 minutes to be replaced by Nathaniel Pinney. Poole looked to take the initiative, as was probably to be expected, given the significance of the game for them. However it was Ky Marsh-Brown who had the best chance when put through on goal on ten minutes, with Poole keeper Nick Hutchings coming off his line to block the attempt.
On 16 minutes Poole took the lead. A foul by Simon Mensah on the edge of the box led to a free-kick that midfielder Steve Devlin rifled into the bottom corner of Dan Wilks’ net. Devlin had scored a similar left foot strike from open play, to win the game at Concord on Saturday. Poole continued to press forward and the referee waved away appeals for a penalty when on loan Eastleigh striker James Constable went down in the box under a challenge from Zach Fagan.
After half-time The Hawks came into the game, with Marsh-Brown a constant menace down the left and Pinney laying the ball off well, when it was played into his feet. On 61 minutes Yannis Ambroisine was shown a yellow card, with the crowd calling for a red as he could have been considered the last defender, when he was very harshly adjudged to have impeded Constable.
With Tighe making a welcome return for the last 25 minutes, the Hawks played with only three at the back, as they looked to turn the game round. The player Tighe replaced, Osa Obamwonyi, was shown a second yellow card after he had left the field of play.
It was no real surprise when some slick football ended with Adeloye playing in Pinney, who took his chance expertly to clip the ball past Hutchings on 75 minutes.
Both sides went all out for the winner as the game opened up, with Jordan Gibbons getting forward down the left and the movement of the Hawks front players causing the hosts problems. Hutchings saved the game for Poole with a fine stop to deny Tighe after he was put through on goal by a long ball from Ambroisine. Wilks did likewise from a close range Constable chance. Pinney also had a shot deflected narrowly wide in the closing minutes after Lucas Rodrigues squared from the left. Poole had further chances to score, but desperation seemed to creep into their game as time ran out.
Poole’s last chance came in the fourth minute of stoppage time, when giant sub Michael Walker was fouled on the edge of the box, but this time Devlin’s free kick was planted well over the bar.
After the game Rodrigues was taken to hospital with concussion after revealing he had no recollection of having played the last fifteen minutes of the match.
Whitehawk: Wilks, Obamwonyi (Tighe 65), Gibbons, Ijaha (c), Fagan, Ambroisine, Chaney, Mensah, Adeloye (Rodrigues 76), Benyon (Pinney 7), Ky Marsh-Brown. Subs not used: Kwai Marsh-Brown, Lyons-Foster
Poole Town: Hutchings, Moore, Smeeton, Spetch, Whisken (c), Pettefer (Walker 89), Balmer, Devlin, Constable, Brooks, Bentley. Subs not used: Rees, Alawode-Williams, Leslie-Smith, Gillespie
Hawks man-of-the-match: Ky Marsh-Brown
Referee: Marc Whaley