The Peacocks take a temporary break from Evo-Stik League duty when they travel to Keynsham Town in the semi-final of the Somerset Premier Cup tomorrow evening (28th March), kick-off 7.45pm. After experiencing two successive League defeats, Town will look to regain the winning habit against their Western League Division One hosts who they also played en route to retaining the Somerset Premier Cup in 2014-15, securing a 4-0 victory in a 2nd Round game on the 3G Crown Fields pitch. Tomorrow’s tie though poses a far from straightforward test, with Keynsham lying in third spot in the table and having also beaten our League rivals Paulton Rovers in the previous round.
As has been the case this season in the competition, the Peacocks will take the opportunity to give some younger development players a run out which so far has proved successful following wins in earlier rounds against two more Western League clubs Odd Down and Clevedon Town. Coming into the squad will be Charlie Melvin-Sparks, Tom Stone, Billy Greene, Rhys Ford and Kye Toogood while striker Jordan Rogers has completed his two match ban and will start. Shane White and Ollie Chamberlain are both rested after picking up knocks at Evesham on Saturday and Matt Wright is in the same boat to allow more recovery time for his neck injury. Matt Buse and Alex Hoyle also have injuries while Owen Irish serves the second of his three match suspension and Ben Palmer is cup tied after playing for Bridgwater Town earlier in the competition. In addition Brett Trowbridge is unlikely to feature as he is having ongoing treatment for his heel injury although he should return for this weekend’s game against Mangotsfield United along with White and Chamberlain.
The Peacocks went down to their second successive Evo-Stik League defeat when they lost 2-0 at Evesham United yesterday afternoon (25th March). It also signified the first time this season that Town had failed to score in two consecutive matches following a disappointingly lacklustre performance. They actually started off the better of the two promotion-chasing sides, with Matt Buse and Pierce Mitchell seeing efforts deflected wide before Evesham found their feet. Opportunities were limited though until the hosts conjured up the opening goal on the half hour. Jordan Bryan collected the ball in the middle of the park and in the absence of any meaningful challenge ran half the pitch to drive across Lloyd Irish into the far corner. Town had a golden chance to draw level nine minutes into the second half when Ross Staley got clear on the left and squared to Veal but with the target gaping his effort was kept out by keeper Kevin Sawyer. Evesham looked the more threatening though as Lloyd Irish saved from Adam Mann before the returning Matt Wright drilled another chance well over for the visitors. The lid was shut six minutes into stoppage time when Mann turned in the box to fire home Evesham's second goal but with Tiverton also losing, Town retain second place in the table despite a poor afternoon. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" It was very much the same story as last week. We gave away two terrible goals through bad defending and missed three clear chances to equalise. As I keep saying, at this time of the season it's all about how good you are in both boxes and we've been second best in that department two weeks in a row now, making it almost impossible to win games when that is the case."
Town will hope to get their Evo-Stik League play-off push back on track when they travel to promotion rivals Evesham United tomorrow afternoon (25th March), kick-off 3.00pm. It’s another crucial day in the South and West Division with four of the top five sides playing each other. Leaders Hereford travel to fourth placed Salisbury and will guarantee themselves the title if they win and the Peacocks fail to claim any points at the Jubilee Stadium. Town meanwhile now need seven points from their final six games to confirm their play-off spot following the draw between Evesham and Swindon Supermarine on Wednesday evening, a game which saw the Robins’ leading scorer Lance Smith leave the action with an injury which looks likely to prevent his participation tomorrow.
Last Saturday’s setback at Larkhall was the Peacocks’ first defeat in twelve matches and with results elsewhere this meant their advantage in second place was cut to just two points so a return to form tomorrow would be timely as the contest to finish as high in the table as possible heats up. The game promises to be a tough challenge though with the Worcestershire side also battling for points to cement their place in the play-offs. After two successive defeats to end February, Evesham are on a mini run of four games unbeaten and will also want to redress the balance after losing 2-1 in the corresponding fixture at the Viridor Stadium in early December. Both Town goals that day were scored by Matt Wright who has now missed the last three games since going off injured with a neck problem at Didcot but it is anticipated he will play some part in the match tomorrow. Fellow striker Jordan Rogers though sits out the final game of his two match ban for ten bookings whilst centre half Owen Irish joins him on the suspended list as he serves the first of his three match punishment for his sending off at Larkhall last weekend. Matt Villis is also still out with a hamstring injury. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” It’s the start of three difficult League games for us tomorrow with all the opposition being in the top seven. We underperformed last week but have had a rare rest this midweek so I’m certain the team will be raring to go.”
Two Town stewards will be taking on a physically demanding two day ordeal next month in aid of two cancer charities. Rob Wenham (pictured right) who is the club's Head Steward and Mike 'Chopper' Byrne will tackle the Isle of Wight Challenge on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th April which will involve walking, jogging or running around the entire 66 mile Isle of Wight coastline. Rob will be doing the Challenge in support of the Youth Cancer Trust (www.youthcancertrust.org/ ) who do a fantastic job in providing support and free activity holidays for young people aged 14 to 30 diagnosed and living with cancer whilst Mike is supporting CLIC Sargent (www.clicsargent.org.uk/ ) who provide a full range of essential support and guidance to families affected by cancer through its specialist care teams.
Rob's cause is close to his heart, having lost his niece Rachel to multiple cancers during the autumn of 2016 at the desperately young age of 24 after courageously battling the disease for 18 months. He commented:" As 'Peacocks' fanatics we will be proudly wearing our Taunton Town F.C colours during our challenge around the 106km route, returning just in time for our 'hoped-for' Play- Off Final! We are indebted to Taunton Town FC for their support of our efforts but we would however be highly grateful of any further support anyone can give us by sponsoring us (however small). This would assist us supporting these fantastic charities and the wonderful work they undertake."
Donations can be made via Rob or Mike's JustGiving pages which is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity so it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
For Rob's JustGiving page please click HERE
For Mike's JustGiving page please click HERE
We hope that as many of you as possible are able to support Rob and Mike and help these two very worthy charities.
As advised last week, our Evo-Stik League game at home to leaders and champions-elect Hereford on Saturday 8th April will be all-ticket and segregated. We can now confirm that tickets for home supporters will go on sale from Saturday 1st April before the League game with Mangotsfield United at the Viridor Stadium. The ticket office will be open on that day from 12.45pm to 2.45pm and purchase of tickets is conditional on ground admission being paid – no person will be admitted into the ground solely to buy a ticket.
The ticket office will also be open during the week before the Hereford fixture and the times and days will be announced in due course. Tickets will only be available from the club in person and a maximum of four per purchase will be allowed. All purchasers will be required to provide personal details as appropriate. Payment will be by cash only. No tickets will be on sale on the day of the match. Taunton Town Season Ticket holders will still require a ticket but no payment will be necessary. Hereford will be given their own ticket allocation of 600 for sale to their supporters.
Ticket prices will be £10 for Adults, £8 for Concessions and £5 for Under 19’s – the increased charges have been implemented to cover the costs of extra stewarding, security and facilities. Parking at the ground will be restricted due to segregation and space for coaches. Moorfields and Blackbrook Surgery will be available for overspill parking.
All sales will be on the basis that the purchasers abide by the club’s Ground Regulations which will be printed on the ticket. Further details regarding the office opening hours for ticket sales w/c 3rd April and other matchday information will be made available once confirmed.
Town suffered their first defeat in twelve games when they crashed 3-0 at Larkhall Athletic in the Evo-Stik League yesterday afternoon (18th March). On a day to forget, the Peacocks conceded all three goals in the second half which they had to play with ten men after Owen Irish was red carded just before the break. A gusting wind and heavy pitch provided testing conditions and it was the hosts who enjoyed the better start before Town had a great chance to go ahead when Craig Veal was put through by Pierce Mitchell but Larks keeper Shaun Semmens stood his ground to save. With chances few and far between, Town were dealt a blow a minute from half time when Irish was sent off after retaliating to a foul from Greg Peel. The outlook deteriorated further when the Peacocks were slow out of the blocks in the second half and found themselves 2-0 down inside the first five minutes. A corner from Josh Egan reached Joe Raynes who steered home the opening goal on 46 minutes and the same combination doubled the lead two minutes later, a break seeing Egan cross from the right for Raynes to convert from close range. Ross Staley fired against the bar (as pictured) and Semmens tipped a Veal header wide as Town tried to respond but it wasn't to be and Larkhall rubbed salt in the wound by adding a third eight minutes from time when Peel slotted Alex Lambert's cross past Lloyd Irish. With results elsewhere, the defeat has reduced Town's advantage in second place to just two points and they know they can ill afford any more substandard performances in their final six fixtures starting with next weekend's trip to Evesham United. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A frustrating afternoon in difficult conditions. We missed two great chances at 0-0 in a scrappy first half, then the game changed in the five minutes either side of half time. Firstly the red card just before the interval which was the pivotal moment in the match and a decision that we have no problem with, then after regrouping at half time we defended badly for five minutes and got punished. We then had two chances to make it a tense finish, Ross hit the bar and Vealy headed straight at their keeper and at that point we knew it wasn't our day. Basically all the key moments went against us today but Larkhall played the pitch better and I thought we perhaps tried to be a bit too intricate in the final third and got bogged down on a heavy pitch. There's no panic though after today, that's only two losses in 25 games and we're still in a good position so we'll write today off as a day that wasn't meant to be and hope to put it right next week."
With only five weeks of the Evo-Stik League season remaining, the battle for play-off qualification intensifies when the Peacocks travel to Larkhall Athletic tomorrow afternoon (18th March), kick-off 3.00pm. As it currently stands, Town require nine points from their final seven League games to guarantee a play-off spot but they will be determined to finish in as high a position as possible to ensure home advantage. The Peacocks are five points clear in 2nd place and with 3rd playing 4th tomorrow when Tiverton host Salisbury, there is a possibility the gap could become even wider pending a successful outcome at Plain Ham. The Larks sit in 15th spot and have lost their last two matches following a four game unbeaten spell in February which included a 2-2 home draw with leaders Hereford.
Larkhall will probably be sick of the sight of Town already this season, having journeyed twice to the Viridor Stadium where two heavy defeats saw them ship 16 goals. A 6-2 win in the FA Trophy in October was followed by a resounding 10-2 victory in the League two months ago when four players scored a brace including Jordan Rogers who is suspended for tomorrow’s game as he begins a two match ban for reaching ten bookings. Fellow striker Matt Wright who was away for the last meeting between the sides and who has missed the last two games with a neck injury is doubtful and faces a fitness test while Matt Villis is still out with a hamstring problem. Craig Duff though returns to the squad after regaining full fitness following a short spell at Western League Buckland Athletic, scoring three goals in the process. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” Larkhall are generally a good side at home and make it a tricky place to go so it will be a test tomorrow. However, we are confident after going eleven games undefeated while two home wins this week have been really welcome so hopefully we can finish the week off by gaining another positive result.”
We are delighted to report that the club have been awarded a £250 Sustainable Watermark by Wessex Water to assist our efforts in harvesting rainwater to irrigate the pitch at the Viridor Stadium. We are the first football club to receive a Sustainable Watermark and recognises the initiative which began five years ago when rainwater began to be harvested in a number of tanks which were sited around the ground by volunteers.
“We have found this to be such a successful system that we have decided to increase the amount of water stored” said Chairman and Head Groundsman Kevin Sturmey. “With a further ten tanks we will be able to keep the grass lush and growing, even during a hot dry spell. If we can achieve this then the Club will become self-sufficient in water and its playing surface will be kept to a high standard which will enhance the quality of football. We are delighted to receive this award to help us achieve our goal.”
The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area. Now in its twenty third year, it has supported over 900 environmental initiatives. Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by its President David Bellamy, the famous broadcaster and environmentalist.
Jim Humphries, Wessex Water’s Process Scientist, is pictured right presenting the Watermark to Chairman Kevin Sturmey before Tuesday evening’s Evo-Stik League win over Shortwood United.
St Margaret’s’ Hospice were our guests for last Saturday’s Evo-Stik League game with Bishops Cleeve at the Viridor Stadium. The charity, which provides care and support to patients and their families facing a life-limiting illness, had several of their fundraisers at the game to carry out a ground collection and speak to Peacock fans about the valuable role they play in the local community. Sharon Pavey who is the Community Fundraiser for Taunton Deane commented: “We are so grateful to all the generous supporters at the club supporting their local Hospice. St. Margaret’s helps over 3000 people every year with 1 in 3 people in Somerset needing our support in their lifetime. We had a very warm welcome so look forward to returning again in the future” Pictured are charity representatives Liz French, Sharon Pavey and Sue Babey who were also assisted by Mike Sweetman and Mrs Somerset Dionne John. If your registered charity is interested in attending a future match at the club to increase awareness and to assist with fundraising, please email email@example.com .
The Peacocks went five points clear in second place after a 3-0 Evo-Stik League victory over Shortwood United at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (14th March). The win was fully deserved for Town who dominated the game although they had to wait until the final twenty minutes to make the breakthrough. A goalless first half saw Town untroubled but finding chances limited, with Pierce Mitchell and Jordan Rogers having the most noteworthy attempts on goal. It was a much different story after the break when a more vibrant Town began to create a host of opportunities. Mitchell's strike brushed the crossbar while Rogers and Craig Veal also came close before Brett Trowbridge was on hand to clear off the line from Hayden Turner following a Shortwood breakaway. Town's pressure paid off on 70 minutes when Rogers headed on Shane White's corner, Owen Irish forced the ball goalwards and Alex Hoyle got it over the line at the far post (as pictured) for the Peacocks' 100th League goal of the season. Veal added a second only a minute later, superbly controlling an Owen Irish cross to turn and blast a shot into the roof of the net from the left side of the box. Staley then wrapped up the scoring nine minutes from time, steering home a half volley from a Rogers cross, to conclude an impressive second half and secure another League double. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" A good win in the end and much improved second half performance. In the first half we didn't play with enough quality, tempo or urgency but to the players' credit they raised this straight after half time and built sustained pressure which told in the end. Tonight sees the end of our lengthy list of Tuesday night League fixtures which started way back on November 29th at Barnstaple. It's been a hectic schedule of Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, but we've only lost one out of 24 games during that time which is one hell of an effort from everyone, especially coming off the back of the cup runs. Hopefully we can keep pushing on until the end of the season."