Pre Season Friendly

Bemerton Heath Harlequins 1

(Sam Griffin)

Poole Town 2

(Steve Devlin, Nilo Henrique Zanchetta)

Attendance: 45 (approx. Headcount)

Western Way

Michelmersh & Timsbury was my intended destination in an evening that ended with a a quick dash over to Salisbury for Bemerton Heath Harlequins’ clash with Poole Town.

A 7pm kick off at Timsbury Rec, five miles from my house would have been perfect, but having pulled up 10 minutes before kick off it was clear that there was no football taking place. No nets were up and not a soul in sight, so I made a quick decision to get over to The Clubhouse, home to Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

I had been putting off going to watch Bemerton due to an altercation with a couple of their fans making racist remarks during their away league match at Whitchurch United last season.

Putting all that aside, I arrived with about 20 minutes to spare, only for the game to be delayed until 8pm for reasons unknown and I didn’t bump into the less than pleasant Bemerton fans from Longmeadow back in April.

It was nice to see some familiar faces in the Poole Town line up though, having done some work at Tatnam for the Non League Paper in the 2015/16 season.

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The Ground

On entering the ground behind the goal most of the fans were congregating in the shade next to where the players enter the pitch. With the clubhouse behind the goal (connected to the turnstiles and changing rooms etc), the players entered the playing area from an unorthodox position, a bit like Turf Moor (Burnley FC).

With same level standing across one side and behind each net there was a small-seated stand and a raised terrace on the opposite side to the dugouts. They had also put in some seats on the balcony above the changing rooms and tea bar, which I assume, would be for special guests (it was empty on this occasion).

Big conifer trees surround the ground giving it quite an enclosed feel about it and it was a perfect setting for game seven of my 2016/17 adventure.

Despite the support beams obscuring some of the view, I would usually choose to stand elsewhere but after a long hectic day at work I decided to sit down and relax for a change.

It was also good to sit close to the Poole Town media man who was providing live commentary for an online service giving me a better idea of who I was watching without a programme or team sheet to hand.

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The Game

Newly promoted National League South side Poole Town had to come from a goal behind to grab a friendly win against Wessex Premier outfit Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Sam Griffin had put the hosts 1-0 up from the spot in the first half before a spirited comeback from Steve Devlin and trialist Nilo Henrique Zanchetta confirmed victory for the visiting Dolphins.

The game ended on a sour note with players scuffling with each other after a succession of hard tackles from the home side resulting in handbags and strong words between players and management.

Both sides created early chances without much luck before winger Sam Griffin managed to covert his spot kick after ‘keeper Tom Rees had brought down one of the Harlequins strikers.

It was a scrappy first half and Poole were causing problems from set pieces, forcing a lot of corners and pinning Bemerton back. Devlin’s sweet left foot was providing the chances but the home side held on to their slender advantage.

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Luke Roberts had a great chance to equalise when he found a little bit of space to fire a shot low into the corner but the Heath ‘keeper was on his toes to tip the shot around the post.

Tom Killick’s men came out with a bit more impetus in the second half, featuring more trial players who were all looking to impress.

They soon found an equaliser through a familiar face when Devlin cut inside onto his weaker right foot to rifle in an effort into the top corner from the edge of the box, the ‘keeper did really well to get up and get his fingertips to it but the strike was too sweet to save.

Poole were soon ahead when trialist central defender Nilo Zanchetta was left unattended in the six yard area to head home Devlin’s in-swinging corner.

The game ended in ugly scenes as Zanchetta had been on the end of a few late tackles from the Bemerton front line. Fellow trialist Ryan Case had defended his team mate and the referee struggled to control the melee on the pitch whilst the Poole Town backroom staff were in full voice to have the game ended with only a couple of minutes left to play.

The referee managed to get the game going again but both teams had seen enough with the game finishing 2-1 to Poole.

2016/17 Games: 7

2016/17 Grounds: 9

Total Grounds visited: 156

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