The Peacocks' hopes of success in the Play-Offs ended in major disappointment as they lost 3-1 at Tiverton Town in the Semi-Final yesterday evening (26th April). It was still all to play for at the interval after a goalless first 45 minutes but a quick breakthrough by the hosts set them on their way to victory against a Town side that failed to do themselves justice with their second half performance. Town had a great opportunity to take the lead after just seven minutes when a throw-in found Jordan Rogers unmarked but Tiverton keeper Joe Perry made a fine point-blank stop. Lloyd Irish then made super saves from Tom Bath and a 25 yard drive from Scott Rogers but was finally beaten four minutes into the second half when Levi Landricombe latched onto Tom Gardner's long pass and after his first effort was blocked by Irish, the ball fell kindly for him to net the rebound. Town's chances diminished in an increasingly scrappy game when Ed Palmer was sent off on 79 minutes for bringing down Levi Landricombe before Bath headed in at the near post for a 2-0 lead on 81 minutes. It was game over when Landricombe scored his second of the night three minutes from time with an excellent free kick from 20 yards but Town did manage to pull a goal back in stoppage time when Brett Trowbridge was tripped and Rogers fired home the penalty. It was far too little too late for Town though who missed out in the Play-Offs for the third year running. Tiverton meanwhile will travel to Salisbury for the Final on Bank Holiday Monday. Match report to follow whilst match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE with more from Tim Norbury to follow.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" You always felt tonight, particularly with it being goalless at half time, that the first goal was going to be more than pivotal. In a close game of very few chances, Tiverton got the break in the box when it mattered with the ball rebounding straight back to the lad after Lloyd's save and of course after that we were chasing it and got caught on the counter. We were on top in the first half but didn't score when it mattered and got punished for it. I think in the last week we have put in three pretty tired performances which is understandable with our workload over the last few months and we needed to score first which would have re-energised us but as the saying goes, goals change games and no better example of that than tonight. Whilst of course we're disappointed, the season should not be remembered for tonight. What we achieved before Christmas did far more for the club than winning tonight could have done and the bigger picture is that it's been a great season where we've created a lot of great memories and entertained plenty of people. The players have given everything over a gruelling 60 game season which perhaps looks like it caught up with us in the last week but personally I'm really proud of them all. Whatever happened tonight we know that this club is in magnificent shape on and off the pitch for the future with what the players have done this year and we'll be back stronger next season."
It’s another massive game for the Peacocks when they take on Tiverton Town at Ladysmead in the Evo-Stik League South and West Division Play-Off Semi-Final tomorrow evening (26th April), kick-off 7.45pm. In a season full of key matches for Town, tomorrow’s encounter ranks up there as one of the biggest for the right to determine who will play either Salisbury or Evesham United in the Play-Off Final on Monday 1st May. Tiverton will go into the game as favourites, their weekend win over Paulton elevating them above the Peacocks into third and in the process giving them home advantage for the game. They also go into the match in a better run of form, being unbeaten in their last five games and having won five of their last seven. Town conversely have gone through their leanest spell of the season, with just two victories from seven games and without a goal from their final two fixtures, at odds with their huge haul of 114 league goals amassed during the campaign.
The Peacocks however have the edge based on the games between the sides in 2016-17. They have met four times and Town remain unbeaten against the Devonians. A memorable Preliminary Round FA Cup tie at the Viridor Stadium ended in a 4-4 draw back in August before Town deservedly won the replay 2-0 thanks to goals from Ollie Chamberlain and Josh Searle. The league fixture followed a week later at Ladysmead where a Pierce Mitchell header earnt a 1-1 draw but in the return at Christmas, two goals from Jordan Rogers steered the Peacocks to three points at the Viridor. Previous results and form will count for nothing tomorrow though in what boils down to a straight knock-out.
The Peacocks who are making their third successive appearance in the Play-Offs have a couple of doubts ahead of the game, with Owen Irish facing a fitness test after picking up a toe injury at North Leigh on Saturday whilst Ross Staley has been ill with flu so will also have a test beforehand. Alex Hoyle though is fit to return following a hamstring niggle and Ed Palmer is back in contention after not being selected for the last three games due to the risk of another booking. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” We’ve known for a long time that the season would come down to tomorrow night and the league season will be judged upon it. I’m no more or less confident playing away compared to at home as whoever and wherever we’d played it would be a 50/50 game as you are always going to play a similarly good team on a one-off occasion. Admittedly we’ve not performed well in the last two games but we’ve had to change the team around a bit and I always think you cannot recreate the feeling of when it really matters like tomorrow night, so hopefully we’ll find another gear on the big occasion as we’ve done so many times this season.”
A large number of Peacock fans are expected to travel and their support will be crucial as Chairman Kevin Sturmey acknowledges. “I am really looking forward to tomorrow and I am sure the whole town will be behind us”, he said.” It's been an incredible season and just to make the play-offs was a dream in November with so many games to catch up on. The players have to take a huge amount of credit for just churning out result after result; to play 59 games so far plus six in pre-season takes its toll but I know we are all behind them at Tiverton and we need the fans to create a carnival atmosphere with as many drums and horns as possible. There will be plenty of noise created and I am sure our 12th man will be in fine voice. If we can re-create the atmosphere we had at Hemel Hempstead it will give the players the adrenaline they will need as we will be the underdogs going in to the match as we have had a bit of a wobble recently but not surprising considering a few injuries and protecting players. If everyone is fit then it promises to be a great game as all the derbies with Tiverton have been this season. Win or lose I am so proud of the players and management this season as it's been a journey none of us will ever forget and they are already history makers but of course I hope we are the ones celebrating at the final whistle.“
With the end of the season fast approaching, it is now time for all Peacocks’ fans to submit their vote for their Player of the Year. After such a memorable campaign there are bound to be plenty of candidates to choose from so make sure you get your nomination in for your chosen player. Please email your vote along with your name to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively come into the office to make your nomination. Voting is strictly limited to one vote per supporter and all nominations must be received by 5pm on Sunday 7th May.
The winner of the award will be presented with the Frank Summers Trophy at the club’s Presentation Evening which is being held on Thursday 1st June at the Cooper Associates County Ground. The event will be hosted by BBC Somerset’s Claire Carter and Jack Murley, and for more information and details on how to book your place for what is sure to be a very enjoyable evening please click HERE.
The final day of the Evo-Stik League season did not go the way the Peacocks wanted as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at North Leigh yesterday afternoon (22nd April). Town went into the game knowing a win would confirm a minimum third place finish and a home tie in the Play-Off Semi-Final but it proved beyond them following a disappointing display against the Oxfordshire side. The Peacocks made a decent enough start but found chances hard to come by on a rock hard playing surface. Ross Staley and Craig Duff both saw efforts deflect wide whilst Staley had a shot diverted into the hands of stand-in home keeper Stuart Hole. It was North Leigh who had the clearer opportunities in the goalless first half, Duff heading off the line from Will Wellon's header before Lloyd Irish tipped a Michael Hopkins penalty (as pictured) onto the post in stoppage time after a Matt Villis challenge on Lance Williams. Playing down the slope, Town pressed for a breakthrough but struggled to create. Staley fired wide from 25 yards before forcing Hole to tip over another strike from just outside the box. As the game appeared to be dwindling to a draw, a George Seacole cross was tucked home from close range by Roger James three minutes from time to register the winner for the hosts. With Salisbury and Tiverton both winning, the result means Town end the campaign in fourth place and now face an away game at Tiverton Town in the Semi-Final of the Play-Off this coming Wednesday (26th April). Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" Another frustrating afternoon and disappointing not to nick a goal. Their goal and losing the fixture is a bit of an irrelevance as we had all pushed forward trying to win it as we knew a draw would be no good, that wouldn't normally happen. To be honest, even if we'd won, Wednesday at home to Tiverton would have been a 50/50 game and away it will also be a 50/50 game so it's still all to play for. In reality we've known for a long time that the season was going to come down to one or two play-off fixtures so nothing has changed in the last week. Yes, it would have been a nice bonus to be at home but it's a one-off game and anything can happen. Sure, we need to improve from our last two games but over the years I've seen teams fly into the play-offs and lose while other teams stumble into them and win it, we just need to win more key moments than recently."
It’s the final day of the 2016-17 Evo-Stik League season for the Peacocks tomorrow as they conclude their fixtures with a trip to North Leigh, kick-off 3.00pm. It promises to be a nail-biting day with three sides all still in the hunt for runners-up spot guaranteeing home advantage in both the semi-final and final of the Play-Offs. Salisbury currently hold second place, one point ahead of Town, and they finish the season away at Bideford whilst Tiverton lie in fourth, level on points with Town and having the benefit of a home match against Paulton Rovers. A win for the Peacocks tomorrow will ensure a third place finish regardless of how Tiverton fare due to having a far superior goal difference but whether that would be good enough for second place depends on the Salisbury result.
The various permutations certainly make it an intriguing last day of a highly successful season for Town but they know it will be far from easy at Eynsham Hall Park tomorrow. Seventh-placed North Leigh have been on the verge of the play-offs for a good part of the campaign and come into the game on a decent run of form. Since losing at Hereford last month, they have suffered only one defeat in nine games, having won seven of them, and fought back from two great Jordan Rogers’ strikes to earn a point with a 2-2 draw at the Viridor Stadium back in September.
Manager Leigh Robinson will again have a full squad available for the journey to Oxfordshire although defender Ed Palmer is again unlikely to feature to avoid the risk of a booking and subsequent suspension which would rule him out of the Play-Off Final should Town get there. Fellow centre half Alex Hoyle has also declared his fitness after coming off at half time during the game with Bideford on Monday due to a hamstring problem. Robinson remarked:” It will be a tough game as North Leigh are a decent footballing side. However we have proved several times this season that we are more than capable of rising to the occasion. The recipe is simple tomorrow – win and we play at home in the play-off semi-final as well as potentially finishing second. Fail to win and we could be away in the play-offs which, whilst not an impossible task, makes things that much harder.”
Our club mascot Wordsworth will be taking part in the Mascot Race at Wincanton Racecourse this coming Sunday (23rd April). The event takes place at 2.15pm following the first horse race of the day at 1.50pm with Wordsworth racing over a distance of around 150 yards which will include three small jumps. Mascots from clubs including Bath City, Yeovil Town, Salisbury, Poole Town, Weymouth, Newport County and Woking amongst others are expected to participate in the race, with prizes for the first three mascots to finish plus the last placed so hope Wordsworth will feel like the cat that’s got the cream at the finish! Please go along to support Wordsworth on Sunday if you can - the Mascot Race is part of a St George’s Day celebration at the racecourse and more details can be found HERE
The Peacocks completed their home programme in the Evo-Stik League for this season with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Bideford this afternoon (17th April). It was a laboured display going forward by Town who never hit a tempo whilst at the other end Lloyd Irish made several smart stops to keep the scoreboard blank. Town missed a great chance to take the lead inside the first minute when Jordan Rogers headed Ross Staley's cross wide of the target (as pictured) before Irish saved well from a Sean Downing header. Staley's effort skimmed the post while Pierce Mitchell's shot was held by Joe Moore and Rogers saw a header cleared off the line as the opening 45 minutes ended goalless. The second half was even more unconvincing from Town who too often resorted to the long ball. Craig Duff came close but opportunities were generally scarce whilst Bideford threatened on the break, with Ben Watson firing wide and Irish holding a Downing shot. The Town keeper then pulled off another fine save after Downing had met a Matty Bye free kick but the home side had to make do with a point. With Salisbury winning, the result sees the Peacocks slip to third and they will now refocus and aim to finish the season with three points at North Leigh this weekend. 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 said:" A very frustrating afternoon and certainly a poor performance in an attacking sense. We just couldn't get going, lacked a spark, didn't win anywhere near enough second ball and didn't show enough desire in the box. It's not uncommon to see a performance like that after Saturday / Monday fixtures but we brought in fresh legs to try and prevent that but simply didn't play well enough. It's a shame but far from a disaster though. This team has pulled off some amazing wins this season against the odds so our chances of going up are (as it stands) no different to the start of the day."
As the final week of the Evo-Stik League season begins, the Peacocks have two vital games remaining beginning with the visit of Bideford to the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (17th April), kick-off 3.00pm. The weekend victory at Bridgwater ensured Town stayed firm in second spot although with both Salisbury and Tiverton also claiming maximum points, the battle to finish as high as possible for home play-off advantage remains extremely tight. The North Devon side will present an awkward test for Town tomorrow as until recently they were on the fringes of the play-offs themselves. However they have picked up just four points out of a possible 24 after failing to secure a win in their last eight League fixtures which now sees them sitting in 9th position. The Peacocks will be chasing a double, having won 4-2 at the Sports Ground in the first game of 2017 thanks to a double strike from Jordan Rogers and one apiece from Owen Irish and Ross Staley.
In the other matches involving near rivals tomorrow, Salisbury host Wimborne while Tiverton travel to Barnstaple but the Peacocks know they just need to concentrate on their own game as the destiny of the runners-up spot is in their own hands. Manager Leigh Robinson will again have a full squad to select from for the Bideford game, remarking:” Both teams know each other well and several players have played for both clubs so an interesting game is in prospect. It is still very tight at the top so we will need to keep our focus and carry on from where we left off at Bridgwater.”
The Peacocks recovered from going a goal behind to race to a 5-1 Evo-Stik League victory at Bridgwater Town yesterday afternoon (15th April). Town had the points in the bag by half time as they led 4-1 against their already relegated neighbours and added another in the second half to claim the double over the Robins. Bridgwater threatened an upset when they took the lead after 11 minutes, Elliot Ripley's header from Tyne Govier's free kick looping over Lloyd Irish. Josh Searle nearly responded immediately but hit the post, however the Peacocks were back on level terms after 19 minutes when Kurt Robinson handled a Pierce Mitchell cross and Craig Duff converted the spot kick. Town went on to boss the remainder of the opening period, coming close on several occasions, before three quick goals put paid to home hopes. Ollie Chamberlain put Duff away down the right and he squared to Searle who fired into an empty net (as pictured) for a 2-1 lead on 38 minutes. Matt Wright then headed in a Shane White cross on 42 minutes before Duff added his second of the afternoon a minute from the break, steering home from close range after Wright had flicked on an Owen Irish cross. Matt Buse saw his curling effort touched onto a post by young Bridgwater keeper Ashton Granter as Town looked to add more in the second half and they were eventually successful on 68 minutes when Wright headed home another from Chamberlain's centre. Duff was unlucky not to claim his hat trick when his strike hit the woodwork as Town eased to victory against a spirited Robins team. The win keeps Town in second place, with no ground gained as both Salisbury and Tiverton both won, and the focus now turns to the Easter Monday game against Bideford at the Viridor Stadium. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" Very much a case of job done on a very poor playing surface which made putting three passes together pretty difficult. We made a few changes and the lads who came in did really well which bodes well as we head towards the play-offs as it gives us options. There are harder tests to come and we now move on to Monday."
It’s the penultimate weekend of the Evo-Stik League season tomorrow (15th April) and the race to finish as runners-up to Hereford in the South and West Division continues with the Peacocks in local derby action at Bridgwater Town, kick-off 3.00pm. With Town lying just one point ahead of Salisbury and two of Tiverton, there is little room to breathe amongst the top three play-off contenders in the battle to secure second place and a guaranteed home tie in both the semi-final and final of the promotion prize knock-out. Salisbury travel to Mangotsfield tomorrow and Tiverton entertain Winchester whilst Evesham can secure the remaining play-off spot with victory at Bideford, our next opponents on Easter Monday. Town meanwhile can afford no slip-ups at Fairfax Park against their local rivals who have only pride to play for, their relegation having been sealed several weeks ago. The Robins have experienced a difficult campaign on and off the field, and have not picked up a point since their win at Slimbridge on 27th December, one of only two League victories this season. As a note of caution though, their other win was at home to Tiverton so there can be no room for complacency, borne out by the result in the earlier meeting between the two sides in August when an Ollie Chamberlain goal in the final minute settled a poor game in favour of the Peacocks at the Viridor Stadium.
Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” It’s an important afternoon for us and in many ways a must win game as we look to consolidate second place this weekend. Two games in three days are always tricky at this time of year but everyone is fit and available so we have options and fresh legs to bring in on both days. ” Centre half Ed Palmer is only one booking away from another potential suspension so although fit for selection, he is unlikely to be risked in the final three fixtures ahead of the play-offs.