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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 12 August 2017
Cirencester Town v Taunton Town
2 - 0

Lewis Powell marked his return to the Peacock fold with a double strike as Town mastered both their former Southern Premier hosts and newly laid 3G pitch to record their fourth successive opening day victory. Although the fixture on paper appeared a difficult proposition with which to kick off the season, the Peacocks ticked all the boxes as they turned in an authoritative display to claim maximum points.

Town’s starting line-up included three debutants, Ryan Brett slotting in at left wing-back while Arran Pugh and Ben Adelsbury assumed two of the three centre half berths. The rest of the side had a familiar look to it as the visitors soon got into their stride, Shane White sending a shot wide after a ball across the face of goal. Backed by a vocal travelling support, Town maintained the early offensive, Adelsbury rifling a free kick narrowly over after White had been caught by Adam Connolly.

The pressure paid off after 12 minutes with the opening goal. Matt Wright, in his first competitive game as team captain, controlled a long Owen Irish punt upfield to find White whose deft pass put Powell free inside the box and despite the ball not falling kindly on the artificial surface, he showed the quality that Town will need in the season ahead as he coolly tucked his finish past Mateusz Wieczorek.

Little had been seen of the hosts in an attacking sense, a brief foray being dealt with by an efficient Town backline, before Powell fired over from 18 yards after good work from Ross Staley and Adelsbury’s effort hit a home body. Cirencester finally created a chance of note when Ben Whitehead broke away and set up experienced striker Alan Griffin who fired just wide. That was a rare moment of concern for Town who continued to carry much the greater threat.

Staley broke down the left but Pierce Mitchell was just unable to connect with the cross which zipped off the synthetic surface. A grass pitch might have led to a different outcome. Wright meanwhile was proving a handful for the Ciren defence and another flick gave Powell a run towards goal but under pressure from Jordan Stoddart, his ground shot travelled the wrong side of the post. Staley launched another shot over and Adelsbury’s free kick found the wall before the home side offered the final attempt of a satisfying first half for the Peacocks, Whitehead firing a left foot drive just over the bar.

A Henry Spalding strike which flew comfortably off-target got the second half underway while Lloyd Irish smothered a Jack Watts cross at his near post and then caught a Spalding free kick as the Centurions began to enjoy more possession than they had in the preceding 45 minutes. However Town were not unduly stressed and had valid penalty claims dismissed at the opposite end after Powell was manhandled by Stoddart. More last ditch defending, this time by Matt Coupe, then prevented Staley from pulling the trigger after White’s quick free kick had set him free.

Lloyd Irish required treatment after Griffin had gone in late but escaped without even a word let alone a caution from referee Watson who seemed reluctant to let his cards see the light of day. A great chance was then missed by each side. Firstly the Peacocks, who passed the ball well throughout, employed a patient build-up, culminating in White threading a pass to Mitchell but with a good sight of the target he sent a rising shot over. Lloyd Irish then spilled a cross from Ellis Dunton with 20 minutes remaining, the loose ball falling to Whitehead who looked odds on to equalise but Irish recovered brilliantly to block.

Powell put breathing space between the teams with a second goal after 76 minutes. A free kick reached Mitchell out on the right who cut in, his shot rebounding off Wieczorek to Powell who drilled a left footed effort goalbound, the ball skimming off an opponent and eventually spinning over the line despite Stoddart’s vain attempt to keep it out.   

Wright nearly added another with a backpost header just going over from Man of the Match White’s free kick while Aidan Bennett had his shot held after Town lost possession in midfield. That proved to be his last contribution. Moments after Coupe had finally received the first booking of the afternoon, Bennett received a straight red card seven minutes from time after kicking out at sub Ollie Chamberlain. That shut the door for any hopes that Cirencester may have harboured of a fightback. Pugh beat the punch of Wieczorek to direct a header wide from White’s corner as the Peacocks saw out the game to pass the first hurdle of a long campaign with flying colours.

By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell (Les Afful 86), Ryan Brett, Owen Irish, Arran Pugh, Ben Adelsbury, Shane White, Brett Trowbridge, Matt Wright (captain), Lewis Powell (Joe Charles 86), Ross Staley (Ollie Chamberlain 73). Unused subs: Matt Villis, Craig Duff

Cirencester: Mateusz Wieczorek, Louis Loader (James Mortimer-Jones 53), Ellis Dunton, Jordan Stoddart, Matt Coupe, Henry Spalding, Felipe Barcelos (Aidan Bennett 56), Adam Connolly, Alan Griffin (captain), Ben Whitehead, Jack Watts (Mason Lewis 69). Unused subs: Kieran Diaz-Benitez, Sam Walsh  

Referee: Ed Watson (Bristol)

Assistants: Ross Martin (Bristol), Nathaniel Rehman (Bristol)

Attendance: 212


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