Groundhopper: Poole Town 2 Welling United 1 (24/9/16). (Malcolm Stephenson

Poole Town 2 Welling United 1 (24/9/16)

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This trip was the second in my trio of Conference South journeys this season. I have been to Hungerford already season, Poole as my recent venture and just East Thurrock left to go to, which will complete the Conference South for me once again. 

The trip to Dorset has to be one of the longest day return journeys i have made for a few years. Normally i might have stayed overnight but the hotel prices there were just ridiculous. It was a question of getting up at 5am, getting the first train down to London. At Kings cross it was the underground then another 2 hour train from Waterloo to Poole. On the way back it was the same journey in reverse and getting the last Newcastle train home.

The train station at Poole was on the sea front and you had a splendid view of the harbour area with all its moored boats. A 15-20 minute walk leads you to The Tatnum ground. The stadium seems to have been built in a former park area as areas around it are used for that purpose. As it turned out the fields are a schools fields.

The club has been around since 1880 and they spent many years in local county leagues and the Southern league. In 2011 Poole Town were in the Wessex league and gained promotion that year to the Southern league. Since then they have two promotions to reach the Conference South for the first time this season.

Poole have played in the FA Vase over the years and have met three North East teams before.  In 2004-05 Poole lost to Consett in a 4th round replay up here 4-1. Then at the same stage next season they had to travel North again this time to Whitley Bay when they lost 3-1. They following season they did have success at home to Spennymoor narrowly beating them 3-2 in the 5th round of the Vase. Later in the semi final Poole met Whitley bay again but came unstuck both times losing the semi final tie 5-2 on aggregate.

Poole have been at this stadium only since 2000 but there are plans ahead for a possible new ground in the future. Unclear if this will come off yet.

The stadium has a low level main stand down one side of the pitch with a smaller seated stand one alongside it. At the far end is a covered area behind the goal for standing spectators. At the other end behind the goal are the changing rooms and social club. These are not directly behind the goal but a set of bushes separates them and another lot of these create a sort of gangway for the players to enter the pitch.

Today’s visitors were Welling Utd who were until recently in the Conference Nationwide league. They are from London and Erith and Belveredere ground share with them. It’s even more odd that each club has its own main stand and changing rooms underneath within the same stadium!

The game kicked off and in the first half there was not much to separate the sides. It was only on 16 minutes when the visitors took the lead with a dubious penalty. Welling took that lead into the interval. On 54 minutes the home side pulled level in what continued to be an entertaining match. Both sides pushed for the winner but it was the home side who picked up all three points after scoring in the 90th minute.

It was a long journey back to the North East and i did not get into the house until nearly 12.30am. That’s another ground ticked off on my ‘to do’ list. Next stop, East Thurrock on Oct 15th.

  1. I have since discovered that Poole Town are trying to relocate to a new ground. Which means i have to go back again!!

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