The season ended for the Peacocks in heart-breaking fashion when they lost to Poole Town in a penalty shoot-out in the Southern Premier South Play-Off semi-final yesterday evening (1st May). The spot kick drama followed a 1-1 draw between the sides after 90 minutes plus extra time had failed to find an outright winner.
In front of a 1000+ crowd, the visitors enjoyed the better start, with James Constable firing wide. Matt Buse bundled over the top and Ben Adelsbury drilled a shot over the angle in response, but Poole looked the more incisive during the opening half. Sam Griffin shot narrowly above the target before the Dolphins grabbed the lead with the interval only three minutes away, Jack Dickson racing forward, beating his man and firing past Lloyd Irish at his near post.
The Peacocks came out for the second half re-energised and soon drew level four minutes in. Ed Palmer’s long throw was only partially cleared as far as Ryan Brett on the edge of the box and he switched the ball onto his right foot before rifling past Luke Cairney. Moments later Lewis Hall made a fine run but saw his effort saved as Town went on to boss the game. However, despite plenty of pressure they couldn’t make another breakthrough, with Buse diverting a flicked Palmer throw the wrong side of the post and Poole making numerous defensive blocks while two strong penalty appeals were waved away. Constable lobbed just over at the other end and Ollie Chamberlain cleared off the line from a deflected cross in stoppage time, but it finished all square after 90 minutes.
The first period of extra time saw Town nearly force a winner from Brett’s corner, but Poole managed to frantically clear but the best chance to clinch the game came in the second quarter hour when Rocky Neal prodded wide from Dan Sullivan’s cross. And so the clash went to penalties…. the first five were scored, Corby Moore, Dickson and Marvin Brooks for Poole and Neal and Sullivan for Town before Palmer’s attempt smashed against the bar. Jake Smeeton and Chamberlain were successful which left Poole keeper Cairney to send his side through. He fired against the woodwork though, meaning Shane White needed to score to prolong the contest. However, his spot kick also found the crossbar, leaving Poole to celebrate progress to the Play-Off Final against Metropolitan Police on 6th May.