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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 16 December 2017
Taunton Town v Bognor Regis Town
1 - 4

Bognor Regis scored three times in the closing ten minutes to earn a flattering victory and extinguish home hopes of making the last 32 for the first time in their history. Prospects were initially looking promising for the Peacocks as they led at the interval but once the visitors had levelled they looked the likelier side to progress.

The Town side showed a number of changes from the midweek encounter with Cinderford. Ross Staley replaced Ben Palmer on the left while Ryan Brett stepped back into midfield and Omar Simpson and Les Afful were included in the absence of Dan Sullivan. Pre-match rain thankfully didn’t turn into anything more heavy or prolonged which was just as well given the soggy state of some areas of the Viridor Stadium pitch, the focus of some intensive treatment from the grounds team in the preceding 24 hours to make the tie playable.

Early exchanges were somewhat muted as both sides sized each other up. Pierce Mitchell saw a left-footed effort saved by Dan Lincoln and Staley gathered a cleared Brett corner to drive wide at the Invest Southwest End while Jimmy Muitt had a shot blocked after latching onto a ball over the top and Ben Swallow, who made five appearances for the Peacocks on loan from Bristol Rovers nine seasons ago, collected Muitt’s pass to turn this way and that in the box, his cross finally being pouched one-handed by Lloyd Irish.

Muitt curled a free kick narrowly wide of Irish’s right post before the Peacocks keeper made his first telling save of the afternoon, parrying a Calvin Davies shot after the Bognor right back had turned inside on to a Kristian Campbell pass. Although Town’s attempts to obtain a breakthrough tended to be more direct and rather less cohesive as they missed the link-up play of Sullivan, they still threatened.  Brett returned a partially cleared corner into the box where Simpson was just unable to get enough contact on his hook shot to trouble Lincoln who then dived to turn aside a swerving Mitchell strike from 20 yards.

The Peacocks broke the deadlock after 38 minutes. Matt Wright intercepted a stray pass from Bognor skipper Sami El-Abd and sent a pass through to Afful who sidestepped Chad Field and slotted past Lincoln with minimum fuss from ten yards. Town looked to build on their lead in the second half and applied sustained pressure on the Bognor goal in the early stages. A few corners and some decent Mitchell crosses however couldn’t conjure up another score for the hosts although Afful had a shot turned wide and then planted a low ball across the box which Simpson bobbled over the bar.

The Town defence then got in a muddle, presenting Ibra Sekajja with a run at goal but Irish stood firm and kept out the striker’s prod with his left foot. Play continued to swing from one end to the other before Town were caught out on 57 minutes. Bognor broke from a home corner via Muitt who charged down the right and crossed for Swallow to head in at the near post.  The equaliser spurred the Rocks into further efforts , Swallow having a shot deflected for a corner from which El-Abd’s header diverted off a body and bounced up for Irish to catch.

Town had a presentable opportunity to regain the lead on the hour after Simpson made ground down the right and cut the ball back for Buse but he sent his shot wide of the target.  Buse was then brought down just outside the box and Ben Adelsbury rippled the side netting with his free kick.  The Rocks though were beginning to find more space in behind as Town pushed for another goal to avoid a trek to West Sussex on Tuesday evening. Dan Beck’s shot was deflected into the arms of Irish and Muitt’s far post header from Campbell’s deep cross hit the upright before Field missed a golden chance to give his side the lead, a defensive slip letting him in but he blasted wide.

Visiting pressure finally paid off nine minutes from time when a Harvey Whyte pass found Sekajja on the right side of the area and the former Crystal Palace forward drilled his finish across Irish into the far corner. The Peacocks’ task became even harder with five minutes remaining after Ollie Chamberlain was shown a red card as the last man for bringing down Sekajja who would have been free on goal albeit 30 yards out.

Bognor wasted no time in confirming their place in the next round. Another break ended with Sekajja crossing for Swallow to sidefoot home four minutes from time and after Adelsbury had seen another free kick, awarded for a foul on Staley, parried by Lincoln, Doug Tuck had the freedom of the Viridor to take aim from 25 yards and find Irish’s bottom left-hand corner a minute into stoppage time to add some unwarranted excess to the result.

By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ross Staley, Shane White, Chris McGrath (Ollie Chamberlain 64), Ben Adelsbury, Matt Buse, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Omar Simpson (Ben Palmer 77), Les Afful. Unused subs: Tom Stone, Brett Trowbridge, Michael Meaker

Bognor Regis: Dan Lincoln, Calvin Davies, Kristian Campbell (Dan Beck 62), Doug Tuck, Sami El-Abd (captain), Chad Field, Jimmy Muitt (Joe Lea 90+1), Tommy Block, Ibra Sekajja, Harvey Whyte, Ben Swallow. Unused sub: Tommy Scutt         

Referee: Scott Jackson (Bridgwater)

Assistants: Alex James (Bournemouth), Matthew Perry (Cheltenham)

Match and Matchball Sponsor: Peacocks Prize Bingo

Attendance: 508


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