AFC Bournemouth loanee Jake Cope was the hero at The Black Gold stadium today, as the Dolphins beat National League South side Hungerford Town 2-1. The 18 year old’s 86th minute strike clinched the home side a place in the FA Cup third qualifying round, for the third year running.
Despite being a league lower than their Berkshire opponents, Poole dominated for most of the game, and perhaps could have won the game by more than their one goal advantage suggests. Sitting second in the Southern Premier League South , the victory over Hungerford could indicate that Tommy Killick’s men are ready for promotion and a return to step 6 of English football.
The South Coast side took the lead 25 minutes in when goalkeeper Luke Cairney blasted a long kick in the direction of Marvin Brooks. The former Love Island contestant jumped high to nod the ball onto a dashing Harry Baker who calmly poked the ball past approaching Hungerford keeper Adam Siviter to put the hosts ahead.
The Dolphins dominated the first half and may have been disappointed to have not doubled their lead before the break. A precise cross from midfielder Corby Moore found Will Spetch whose close range header was sent over the bar.
The away side started the second half brighter than their feeble first half performance, and thought they had equalised on 64 minutes. A fantastic diving save from Cairney sent the ball onto Hungerford substitute Zidane Akers’ head who nodded the ball home from close range. However the assistant referee’s flag saved the Dolphins, judging Akers to be offside.
The visitors did score a few minutes later though, when an exquisite long range shot from Liam Ferdinand flew into the top right corner and levelled the game. However the goal seemed to snap the hosts back into shape.
Loanee and substitute Ollie Dennett came close twice in the last ten minutes, only to force impressive diving saves from Siviter. But it was AFC Bournemouth’s Jake Cope who capitalised on a poor Hungerford clearance and struck the ball first time from the edge of the area into the bottom right corner to give the home side the win in the 89th minute.
Despite six minutes of additional time, that to the frustration of the fans felt a lot longer, the Dorset men held on to progress in England’s most prestigious cup competition. The draw for the third qualifying round will be made on Monday.