A generally sound defensive performance and an outstanding goalkeeping display from skipper Tony Breeden were the only positives Brakes could garner from a disappointing trip to the south coast, writes Paul Edwards.
On the evidence of the 90 minutes it is not difficult to see why Tom Killick’s side are currently the division’s top scorers, and it is to Leamington’s credit they only finished with the single goal after carving out a number of very good chances at a blustery and rain-lashed Tatnam Ground.
The hosts looked dangerous in the opening exchanges without creating anything and it was Joe Magunda who had the first effort at goal for either side, firing well over following a corner.
Thanks to a donation from their supporters’ club to cover his wages, Poole were able to bring in striker Lee Wort on loan from Gosport Borough. A prolific marksman in his time at near-neighbours Sholing, he was denied a debut goal when Breeden bravely dived at his feet to push the ball out of his path as he shaped to go around the keeper.
Ben Mackey endured a frustrating afternoon ploughing a lone furrow up front and his only real sight of goal came when he collected a pass from Jack Edwards and drove a shot over the bar.
Steve Devlin’s strike just cleared the Leamington bar after he latched on to a half-clearance but Poole were in front in the 20th minute, Marvin Brooks finding the net with a thumping downward header from Luke Burbidge’s diagonal ball in from the right. Breeden got a hand to it but was unable to keep it out.
Brakes attempted to respond and Joe Halsall was in a good position to receive James Fry’s ball in from the right, but headed over the bar. Wort then went close for the hosts, crashing a shot just over.
The visitors were clearly frustrated with their lack of impact on the game, and this was highlighted when Edwards received a booking for a rather late challenge on Luke Roberts in midfield, with the home players and crowd feeling the card should have been red.
They did not have to wait long for that outcome, though, as the Brakes midfielder reacted to Devlin leaving his leg in as they challenged for the ball, giving referee Ben Knight little option but to send him off.
More patient build-up play from Poole ended with a disappointing shot from Devlin that failed to trouble Breeden, but the same player linked up with Burbidge to play Wort in on goal again only for the captain to produce another smart save, this time with his legs.
Jamie Tank registered Leamington’s only effort on target in the game with the last action of the first half, getting on the end of a corner, with his header comfortably dealt with by Nick Hutchings.
Leamington came more into the game in the second half and the opening period saw them applying some pressure in the opposition half without fashioning anything of note.
Wort fired another effort into the side netting for Poole before Breeden darted off his line to make another important challenge, this time on Lewis Tallack as the Dolphins defender threatened to dance his way through for a second goal for the hosts.
His defensive colleague Jack Dickson had a shot blocked, with Luke Roberts blasting the rebound over the bar before Wort was denied again by a timely block.
Sensing there might still be something in the game for Leamington, Paul Holleran brought on loanee Nat Kelly, enabling Richard Taundry to return to a more familiar midfield role.
Will Green was also introduced, but a tough task became harder still with 11 minutes remaining when Hood was shown a straight red card after referee Knight deemed him to have deliberately handled a shot, a decision even Killick branded as “harsh”.
Breeden dampened the sense of injustice a little by diving low to his left to keep out the resulting penalty from Devlin.
Burbidge must have thought he was in to add a second for Poole in stoppage time as he waltzed past two defenders and Breeden, but Ben George, who had only joined the action moments earlier, got a foot in to block the shot.
Poole Town: Nick Hutchings, Lewis Tallack, Jack Dickson, Will Spetch, Jamie Whisken , Carl Pettefer, Luke Burbidge, Steve Devlin, Lee Wort, Marvin Brooks, Luke Roberts. Subs not used: Alan Connell, Tom Rees, Toby Holmes, George Richardson, Ollie Davis.
brakes: Tony Breeden , James Fry, Richard Taundry, Joe Magunda, Jamie Hood, Jamie Tank, Rob Ogleby (14 Nat Kelly, 75), Joe Halsall, Ben Mackey (Will Green, 79), Jack Edwards, Lee Moore (Ben George, 90). Subs not used: Martyn Naylor, Eddie Caviezel-Cox.