SHOLING’S sticky run of new year’s form continued on a glue pot of a playing surface at the Universal Stadium on Saturday.

For the third time in the last four league and cup games, the Boatmen failed to find the net.

Despite dominating at home to Bournemouth Poppies, a 48th-minute Louis Coulson goal, emanating from a defensive error, sent the third-placed Boatmen skidding to a 1-0 Sydenhams Premier defeat.

Poppies' goal lived a charmed life as Sholing repeatedly clattered the woodwork and had shots galore cleared off the line but, try as they might, the ball just wouldn't go in.

The Boatmen dominated the first-half, forcing 11 corners and threatening as early as the second minute when Byron Mason’s header was deflected over.

Another header, this time by defender Dan Miller, hit the post and Poppies 'keeper Jake Poynter had to be on his guard to thwart TJ Cuthbertson and Miller and cut out some dangerous Alex Sawyer deliveries. Lee Wort and Jamie Bulpitt also sent efforts off target.

Little had been seen of Poppies as an attacking force until three minutes into the second half when they stunned their high-riding hosts.

A back pass from Marvin McLean, returning from a four-match suspension, got stuck in the mud and Coulson nipped in to round stranded keeper Ryan Gosney and tap into the empty net.

Sholing did not let that setback loosen their grip on the game and, after Mason had headed over from a Sawyer free-kick, Sawyer’s corners led to successive goal-line scrambles in the 67th and 68th minutes.

The Boatmen’s best chance arrived midway through the half when Bulpitt’s 25-yard volley hit the crossbar after a corner had been partially cleared.

Poppies might have made it 2-0 on the counter but, that rare chance aside, it was one-way traffic with Pete Castle’s header scrambled off the line, Mason thumping an effort off the upright and sub Dan Mason having a low shot well saved by Poynter in added time.

Ultimately Sholing came up short on a tricky surface, but there was no lack of effort on their part.

The final stats read that they had hit the post on four occasions, shaken the crossbar once, and forced no fewer than 25 corners.

The Boatmen must put that disappointment behind them tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.45pm) and focus on their defence of the Sydenhams Wessex League Cup.

They face a quarter-final tie at Newport IW, looking for a repeat of their 1-0 league win at St George’s Park last month.

Newport were left kicking their heels on Saturday as their scheduled league match at Baffins Milton Rovers was rained off.

The pitches at Amesbury, Bashley, Cowes Sports, Horndean, Petersfield, Shaftesbury and Team Solent were also waterlogged.