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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Monday 13 November 2017
Beaconsfield Town v Taunton Town
1 - 1, Taunton win 7-6 on pens

The Peacocks were deprived of four regular starters for their short-notice FA Trophy replay at Beaconsfield. Dan Sullivan and Pierce Mitchell were both injured and Ben Adelsbury and Ben Palmer unavailable due to work commitments, but the threadbare side performed valiantly to edge through to the next round via a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out.

After a languid start that hinted nothing of the drama to come, Beaconsfield went ahead in the 17th minute when Scott Cousins picked out Dan Brown with a delightful out-swinging cross from the left that the striker, arriving at pace and unmarked, powerfully headed home.

Taunton’s first effort on target came after 25 minutes when Shane White tested Jamie Norris with a speculative effort from 30 yards, but the keeper pouched the ball quite comfortably. There was a much closer call five minutes later when Norris dallied coming out to collect a flighted Matt Buse through ball. Omar Simpson pounced and hooked the ball goalwards, but his effort lacked pace and right-back Omar Vassell just had time to get back to hook the ball off the line.

Set up by some Ross Staley trickery on the left, Peacocks target man Matt Wright had his first sight of goal just before the interval, but slammed a shot inches wide of the near post. The onslaught was resumed after the break with Les Afful being denied by a good save after finding himself one-on-one with Norris. Buse and Afful then both slashed shots into the side netting whilst Staley saw a stinging goal-bound effort deflected behind off a defender’s knee.

With Taunton pushed up, spaces inevitably opened at the other end. Andre Costa was just off target with a shot shortly after he had come on for Cousins, then Lloyd Irish had to dive to his left to deny Brown who also missed with a point-blank range header after being located by a Mitch Gutteridge cross.

Ten minutes from time Taunton had to bring on the second of their two named subs (Tom Stone already having replaced Chris McGrath at the interval) when Simpson limped out of the action to be replaced by assistant manager Michael Meaker. Within two minutes, the Peacocks were level, Wright forcing extra-time with a thunderous header from a pinpoint Afful cross from the right.

The visitors had a host of opportunities in the first half of the additional period. The best was a fabulous drive by Ryan Brett that Norris managed to finger-tip over, whilst the clearest a close-range header from a Staley cross that Buse was just unable to steer on target. After the turnaround there was only one chance of note, Wright stretching Norris to another brilliant stop with a header from Meaker’s cross.

And so to the drama of the shoot-out. The first dozen kicks were a master class in coolness. Neither Irish nor Norris were given a sniff as Wes Daly, Michael Peacock, Costa, Luke Neville, Vassell and Stefan Powell for Beaconsfield, and Afful, White, Brett, Ollie Chamberlain, Wright and Buse for Taunton all slotted home with impressive serenity. With the home side going first, Wright and Buse deserve particular plaudits as their conversions kept Taunton alive.

Kick thirteen proved unlucky for home left-back Gutteridge. He ballooned the ball over the bar, giving his opposite number Staley the chance to win the tie for Taunton, an invitation he gleefully accepted, crashing the ball to Norris’s left to send the Peacocks through to a plum home tie against National League South outfit Concord Rangers.

By James Wright

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Matt Buse, Ross Staley, Shane White, Chris McGrath (Tom Stone 45), Brett Trowbridge, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Omar Simpson (Michael Meaker 80), Les Afful

Beaconsfield:  Jamie Norris, Omar Vassell, Mitch Gutteridge, Michael Peacock, Luke Neville, Wes Daly (captain), Aaron Minhas, Jordan Ajanlekoko, Alex Cathline (Kofi Lockhart-Adams 59), Dan Brown (Stefan Powell 82), Scott Cousins (Andre Costa 59). Unused subs: Callum Mapley, Ollie Jones

Referee: Andreas Anastasiou (Hendon)

Assistants: David Cox (Maidenhead), Gearoid Coleman (High Wycombe)

Attendance: 86


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