STALEY STUNNER SECURES SEMI SPOT
A much changed Town side progressed to the Semi-Final of the Somerset Premier Cup with a 3-1 victory over Clevedon Town at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (21st February). Six players who started Saturday's game at Slimbridge were rested, giving the opportunity for several youth players to step up into the squad. Nonetheless Town were on top in the opening 45 minutes, with Ed Palmer's close range header nearest to breaking the deadlock in the early stages. Both sides hit the woodwork within three minutes of each other, James Fisher's free kick hitting the outside of the post for the visitors before Josh Searle hammered a strike against the upright at the other end after Brett Trowbridge's shot had been parried by keeper Alex White. Town finally took the lead on 28 minutes when Michael Meaker scored his first ever Peacocks goal, nodding home from inside the six yard box (as pictured) after Ross Staley's corner had reached him. The score soon became 2-0 six minutes later thanks to great commitment from Owen Irish on the right who chased what seemed a lost cause to get a centre in and Craig Veal blocked off Owen Barry's clearance to see the ball ricochet into the net. Despite the deficit Clevedon remained lively after the interval and Searle had to head Barry's header off the line. The Peacocks also had chances before they were pegged back on 69 minutes when Tom Stone fouled Fisher and Isaac Reid fired home the penalty. Staley though restored Town's two goal advantage four minutes later, bending a brilliant free kick inside the post after Searle had been felled. The tie then began to peter out as Town won through where they will face either Brislington, Weston-super-Mare or Keynsham Town. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - coach Rob Dray commented:" We're pleased that we have progressed into a semi final of a cup competition this year, following on from our strong showing in other cups. The quarter finals in any competition have to be taken seriously especialy our county cup which holds a lot of kudos for us and the supporters. We had a good number of the first team squad available and it's a credit to several of the players who insisted on playing last night even though they had to travel! As in previous rounds we kept faith with several of our development squad and all showed well. Mixing them with the first team squad has given them great experience and we can see the difference game on game. Our attitude and work rate were first class against a good Clevedon side who made it difficult for 20 minutes. Final word goes to Meaks who scored one of his more simple goals in his career and has now scored for every club he has played for professionally and non-league - his attitude to playing is still second to none and rubs off on everybody in the changing room!"