The Peacocks suffered their second postponement in four days when their Evo-Stik League match at Didcot Town scheduled for this evening (24th January) was called off due to a frozen pitch. Part of the Loop Meadow Stadium playing surface was still frozen and with no prospect of it thawing, the planned pitch inspection was brought forward to 1.00pm which confirmed the inevitable. A rescheduled date for the fixture will be announced in due course. Meanwhile Town's rearranged home game with Shortwood United scheduled for next Tuesday 31st January will also require a new date. Shortwood's match against Salisbury in the League Cup has been postponed tonight and as the cup tie takes precedence over league fixtures, it will now have to be played next Tuesday instead. The Peacocks now prepare for the visit of play-off rivals Swindon Supermarine to the Viridor Stadium this Saturday.
The Peacocks are on their travels for a rearranged Evo-Stik League fixture tomorrow evening (24th January) with a journey to Didcot Town, kick-off 7.45pm. However with Didcot’s home game against Shortwood United falling victim to a frozen pitch on Saturday and with continuing low temperatures forecast, there will be a pitch inspection tomorrow at 3.00pm to confirm the game can go ahead. All being well, with Town having a minimum of four games in hand on all the sides above them in the table, they will hope to cash in on one of them at the Loop Meadow Stadium and claim their 12th successive League victory against a Didcot side that are unbeaten in their last five matches. Four of those games have ended in draws and along with Larkhall they are the division’s draw specialists with nine in total, giving them a current position of 13th. Town have not yet met Didcot this season but have fared well in this fixture in recent years, having returned from Oxfordshire with maximum points in the last three seasons. The Peacocks have a full strength squad available for the trip.
The Peacocks' pursuit of their 12th consecutive Evo-Stik League victory was put on temporary hold when the game with Wantage Town was postponed today (21st January) due to a frozen pitch. After the problem area of the pitch had been covered overnight, the early signs this morning were encouraging as the surface began to thaw. However the temperature began to drop in the late morning and with cloud moving in, the sun disappeared along with hopes of the game going ahead which was confirmed by a local referee inspecting the pitch at around noon. A new date for the fixture will be announced in due course, leaving Town to focus now on their next assignment on Tuesday evening (24th January) when they travel to Didcot Town, kick-off 7.45pm.
Five weeks after recording the biggest ever away win in their Evo-Stik League history, the Peacocks play the return fixture when Wantage Town come to the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (21st January), kick-off 3.00pm. Since that 9-0 victory in the week before Christmas, the two clubs have continued to experience differing fortunes.
Wantage, who lie one place off the bottom of the table, have picked up just one point from their four games played since, having only managed one league win all season which came against fellow strugglers Bridgwater Town in mid-November. Town meanwhile have continued their excellent form, their number of consecutive victories now standing at eleven following Tuesday’s demolition of Larkhall Athletic which elevated the Peacocks to fifth. Hopes will therefore be high that the dozen can be achieved tomorrow although with Wantage only losing to a single injury time goal to play-off rivals Salisbury last weekend, there can be no room for complacency.
Striker Jordan Rogers who left the action early on Tuesday with a thigh injury is doubtful for tomorrow but Matt Wright who was away and Pierce Mitchell who was delayed getting to the ground in midweek both return. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” Hopefully tomorrow we can pick up another three points and finish off a really good week. We’ve got two tough fixtures in the coming week including a long midweek trip so it’s important to go into this maintaining the momentum that we’ve done so well to build.”
Frost covers have been laid on part of the Viridor Stadium pitch which is still hard in places in front of the stand where the sun has failed to reach. A preliminary assessment will be made first thing tomorrow morning to confirm there are no problems or whether a formal inspection is necessary. Any news will be posted here once known.
The Peacocks powered to their 11th successive Evo-Stik League victory with a 10-2 blitzing of Larkhall Athletic at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (17th January). Four players each scored twice as Town recovered from the shock of conceding early to come within one goal of equalling their highest ever haul in a Southern League match. Sloppy defending gifted the Larks a breakthrough after just four minutes when Ben Brooks headed in but Town got into their stride and after Jordan Rogers had hit the post, Shane White drew the sides level on 18 minutes with a strike from just outside the box which took a slight deflection on its way in. Owen Irish gathered a Craig Veal flick to turn and drive home Town's second on 24 minutes which soon became three four minutes later when Ross Staley flashed home a fine finish following good work by Ollie Chamberlain. Jordan Rogers then got in on the act, drilling home across Larkhall keeper Chris Humphries from the right side of the box on 32 minutes and then slotting a sublime finish past the shellshocked keeper a minute later from Staley's superb pass, rounding off a devastating burst of four goals in nine minutes. Craig Duff replaced Rogers early in the second half and made it 6-1 after 58 minutes, latching onto White's shot to turn and fire in. Duff hit the post soon after but Larkhall's misery continued on 67 minutes when Staley notched his second, a brilliant run across the edge of the box ending with a clinical finish. Ben Palmer headed in White's corner on 71 minutes for number eight and added his second only three minutes later with another header from White's cross from the right. The visitors pulled a goal back on 79 minutes when a Brooks shot hit Lloyd Irish and the crossbar before sneaking in but the Peacocks delighted the home support as they racked up double figures three minutes from time, Owen Irish heading home another White corner (as pictured), to lift his side up to fifth. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Tim Norbury can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson enthused:" A good evening's work from the players and a professional job after a massive effort on Saturday. The danger tonight would have been in taking our foot off the gas or being complacent after Saturday and barring the first ten minutes, we showed a great attitude and intensity. We made a few enforced changes tonight and the lads who came in did fantastically well. It's brilliant for me as a manager to have such strength in depth and we'll need to use this to the full in the next few weeks when we play twice a week."
Town will be aiming to take advantage of one of their games in hand in the Evo-Stik League when they entertain Larkhall Athletic in a rearranged fixture tomorrow evening (17th January), kick-off 7.45pm. Maximum points from the game, which was moved from November due to our FA Trophy involvement, would see the Peacocks climb up two places into fifth, with scope to rise even further given the extra rescheduled matches they still have to play. However it is one game at a time and Town will be all out to extend their record number of successive Southern League victories tomorrow which currently stands at ten following Saturday’s terrific win at leaders Hereford. Although the sides have not yet crossed paths in the League this season, they did meet back in October at the Viridor Stadium in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy, with Town emerging comfortable winners by a 6-2 margin. Larkhall, who appointed the experienced Phil Bater as their new manager last week, lie in 15th spot in the South and West Division but have gone eight games without a win since their 5-0 away drubbing of Shortwood United in mid- November so will be desperate to break the trend tomorrow. The only change for Town from the weekend sees Matt Buse return to the squad but Matt Wright is away so misses the game.
The Peacocks ended Hereford's unbeaten Evo-Stik League season with a fantastic 2-1 victory at Edgar Street yesterday afternoon (14th January). Town had already come close on a couple of occasions before Matt Wright fired home from Jordan Rogers' assist to give them the lead after 17 minutes and Pierce Mitchell (pictured celebrating) volleyed home a brilliant second goal from Ollie Chamberlain's cross three minutes later as the Peacocks enjoyed an impressive first half. The hosts piled on the pressure after the break, reducing arrears on 54 minutes with a close range John Mills finish, but heroic defending saw Town stand firm to secure their 10th win on the spin. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Tim Norbury can be viewed HERE. The goals from the game can be viewed on Hereford FC's YouTube Channel HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:"Naturally we're pleased to win and it was a good fixture at a good time as we're in such good form. Whilst we can enjoy the day, we have to remember that it is only one day and we've only got three points. We have to go back to work on Tuesday night at home in a fixture where we'll be favourites and the pressure will be on us which arguably it wasn't today. So, no time to pat ourselves on the back and plenty more challenges to come. Great support from our fans today which is much appreciated by the management and players. See you Tuesday night."
The Peacocks face their most difficult Evo-Stik League challenge of the campaign when they travel to Hereford tomorrow (14th January), kick-off 3.00pm.
The scene is set for a fascinating encounter between the division’s most consistent side and the current form team, all played out in front of a crowd likely to number several thousand. The Bulls, reformed from the ashes of former Football League club Hereford United after they were wound up in 2014, look to be romping away with the South and West Division title in their first season in the Southern League, sitting fifteen points clear at the top of the table and being unbeaten leaguewise all season. In fact they have only failed to win three of their 26 fixtures, namely away draws at North Leigh and Tiverton Town with Didcot Town the only side to escape Edgar Street with a point. Hereford have won their last six matches, and with home support averaging 2,739 and their prolific striker John Mills again among the goals this season, lying second in the scoring charts, it will take a massive effort for Town to dent Hereford’s impressive record.
However, the Peacocks are in fine shape themselves. Since their FA Trophy defeat at Chelmsford City in late November, they have reeled off nine league victories on the bounce which has propelled them up to seventh in the standings, and with the confidence such a vein of form brings plus games in hand to overhaul most of the sides above them, they couldn’t approach the task in a better frame of mind. Town will also have the bonus of a full strength squad to select from, with Pierce Mitchell and Craig Duff both back in the frame following hamstring problems. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” Everyone is looking forward to the game. It has to be the most highly anticipated league fixture of the season and ideal for us to be coming into it in such good form. Something is going to give tomorrow, either our winning run or Hereford’s unbeaten run so it’s all set up to be an exciting afternoon in front of a big crowd we hope.”
To celebrate the Peacocks' fantastic achievement in reaching the 1st Round Proper of this season's Emirates FA Cup plus a good run in the FA Trophy, we are holding a Charity Dinner at the Cooper Associates County Ground, the home of Somerset County Cricket Club, on Monday 30th January. The evening will be hosted by BBC Somerset's Claire Carter and Jack Murley and promises to be a really enjoyable evening as we look back on our national Cup campaigns of 2016-17 whilst also raising plenty of funds for local charities. For more information on how to book your place please click HERE.
The Peacocks secured their first Evo-Stik League double of the campaign with a resounding 5-0 win over AFC Totton at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (7th January). The job was done within the hour as Town remained well on course for a promotion challenge. After coming near on several occasions, Ross Staley broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when he drilled home a super free kick from 25 yards before a destructive spell either side of half time put paid to Totton hopes of getting anything from the game. Craig Veal skilfully worked space to curl a fine finish past Charlie Searle on 39 minutes and Matt Wright headed in his 18th goal of the campaign from Ollie Chamberlain’s cross a minute before the break. As the second half got underway, Staley notched his second and Town’s fourth of the afternoon when he nodded in from Josh Searle’s cross while Veal also secured his brace after 55 minutes with a close range header (as pictured) after Wright had headed on a Shane White corner. Curtis Young's cross-shot hit the bar as Totton kept on the offensive but Town saw the game out for their ninth consecutive win. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - striker Matt Wright who was among the goals commented:" Another great win yesterday in front of a good home crowd. That's nine consecutive wins now and as you can imagine the confidence in the team is as high as ever. It's Hereford away next week which is going to be a great day for the fans and obviously we hope to be the first team to beat them this season to make it even better! The support has been fantastic as always this season so let's keep the run going."