The Peacocks are through to the 3rd Round of the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup after a 4-2 victory at Barnstaple Town yesterday evening (7th November). Town fell behind after eight minutes when Jed Harper-Penman scored from Lloyd Gardner's cross but hit back to lead 3-1 by the break. Omar Simpson ran onto a Shaun Anthony pass to equalise after 12 minutes and Ross Staley put the visitors 2-1 up on 21 minutes, netting the rebound after Rob Holmes had saved Ben Adelsbury's penalty awarded for a trip on Anthony. Chris McGrath then nodded in Shane White's free kick after 26 minutes before Town's skipper for the evening White notched his first goal of the campaign on 63 minutes when he slotted in Pierce Mitchell's centre. After Tom Stone's shot hit the bar for Town, Jordan Walton scored a further consolation for the hosts with 16 minutes remaining with a left-footed strike. Match report can be viewed HERE. Neither our club photographers or media team were able to attend the game so unfortunately there will be no match highlights or photos to view.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A good night's work in the end. We were able to rest half the team for Saturday, not pick up any injuries, progress in the competition and get some vital minutes into some of the lads who haven't started the last three or four games. Thanks to the supporters who made the trip on a cold midweek night to support the team."
The Peacocks revert to cup duty for their next two games beginning with the trip to Barnstaple Town in the 2nd Round of the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup tomorrow evening (7th November). It will be Town’s second visit to North Devon in the competition this season, having eventually won through on penalties at Bideford in the previous round following a 2-2 draw at the end of normal time. Divisional rivals Barnstaple sit in 19th spot in the table and have won only one of their seven league fixtures at Mill Road so far but Evo-Stik form is unlikely to have any bearing on tomorrow night’s encounter with the Peacocks making a number of changes ahead of this weekend’s Buildbase FA Trophy tie with Beaconsfield Town.
Rested from the squad are skipper Matt Wright, Dan Sullivan, Ryan Brett and Matt Buse while Ollie Chamberlain and Brett Trowbridge are likely to be rested on the bench. Assistant manager Michael Meaker is also unavailable. Ben Adelsbury returns following his one game suspension on Saturday while Tom Stone and Shaun Anthony are back in the squad and will start. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” Once again it’s far from ideal timing to be playing this game four days before a big FA Trophy tie but I can’t say I’m surprised. We’ll make a lot of changes, use it as a fitness exercise for those who need it and save half the team for Saturday as we cannot risk any injuries with that game in mind.”
Two goals from skipper Matt Wright helped steer the Peacocks to a comprehensive 4-0 Evo-Stik League win at Didcot Town yesterday afternoon (4th November). It was a fine performance from Town who went at the hosts from the start which paid off after only seven minutes with the opening goal, a superb Shane White pass releasing Dan Sullivan who slotted home past Leigh Bedwell. Sullivan, Ben Palmer and Matt Buse all had further attempts for the visitors while Didcot saw David Murphy glance a header wide from George Jeacock's cross. Town soaked up some home pressure at the start of the second half before stepping up a gear to blow the Railwaymen off track. Pierce Mitchell escaped three men on the right to deliver a fantastic cross on a plate for Ollie Chamberlain to head in Town's second goal from close range on 64 minutes and then Wright buried a header from Ryan Brett's corner four minutes later to effectively seal the points. Wright missed a great opportunity for another soon after when he hit a first time effort over the angle from Sullivan's pass but that was soon forgotten when another terrific cross from Sullivan was volleyed home by Wright at the far post for a 4-0 lead on 75 minutes. Buse and Mitchell were both denied by Bedwell as Town threatened more damage while sub Marlon Agyakwa had the home side's two best chances. The highly impressive win stretches the Peacocks' lead to five points at the top of the table as they now take a break from league action for ten days with two cup matches in the week ahead. Match report can be viewed HERE and match highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE. Match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" There are ugly wins that you grind out and there are wins where you perform fantastically and today was definitely the latter. The players were magnificent today and put in a sensational display particularly in the second half. The enjoyment was there for all to see in the second half and this is probably what pleased me most. We're in great shape at the minute, playing with confidence and many players in fine form and long may that continue. The support was amazing today, probably the best we've ever had away from home and everyone in the dressing room urges the supporters to replicate this in home games as it can make a massive difference."
Reaction - opening goalscorer Dan Sullivan said:" I thought the boys were excellent today and played some quality football both defensively and going forward. It's always nice to keep a clean sheet as well but we need to keep on winning our games and open up the gap at the top."
The Peacocks will be defending their unbeaten away record in the Evo-Stik League when they travel to Didcot Town on Saturday (4th November), kick-off 3.00pm. Four victories and two draws on the road along with wins in all but one of their home games has seen Town open up a four point lead at the top of the West Division table but it promises to be another difficult fixture at the weekend. The Railwaymen occupy sixth spot and have won four of their six home matches this campaign, their only reverse at the Loop Meadow Stadium coming against Winchester City in September. After that defeat they went on to win four league games in a row until losing to AFC Totton last Saturday.
For the trek to Oxfordshire, Omar Simpson and Chris McGrath both return to the squad after missing last weekend’s win over Merthyr in the Buildbase FA Trophy but Ben Adelsbury is suspended for one game after accumulating five bookings. Centre half Owen Irish will also be absent after deciding to end his association with the Peacocks and join Tiverton Town. We thank Owen for his long service with the club and wish him well for the future. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” We’re expecting a tough game up at Didcot who are having a good time of it and have a healthy league position. It’s a ground we’ve done well at over the years despite it always being a testing place to go. The squad is in a good place though with confidence pretty high after last weekend so hopefully we can take this into Saturday and pick up a positive result.”
Town’s luck with home ties in the Buildbase FA Trophy continued when the draw for the 2nd Round Qualifying was made today. The Peacocks will host Beaconsfield Town from the East Division of the Evo-Stik League South on Saturday 11th November, kick-off 3.00pm. Beaconsfield currently lie in 7th position but have yet to lose a league fixture away from home this season so another challenging game looks to be on the cards after Town overcame Merthyr at the weekend. The scheduled league match at home to Barnstaple Town will now be rearranged.
The Peacocks continued their run in the Buildbase FA Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Southern Premier Merthyr Town in the 1st Round Qualifying at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (28th October). Town looked fairly comfortable for an hour during which time they built a two goal lead but after the higher ranked visitors pulled one back the hosts were forced to defend for long spells to ensure their progress. The Peacocks grabbed an early lead after ten minutes when Ben Adelsbury's free kick was parried by Oliver Davies but Dan Sullivan quickly collected the loose ball and his cross was headed home by Matt Wright. A number of half chances came Town's way during the rest of the first half, with Sullivan and Ryan Brett both coming close, but they had a let-off seconds before half time when Kerry Morgan's centre was planted against the bar by Stuart Fleetwood from close range. Adelsbury doubled the Peacocks lead on 54 minutes, converting a penalty after Morgan had handled Pierce Mitchell's cross. Wright missed a great opportunity to make it three a couple of minutes later when he got clear and lobbed over Davies but the wrong side of the post. Eliot Richards got Merthyr back in it with a volleyed finish ten minutes later after Town had not cleared their lines which saw the game became increasingly bad-tempered, visiting manager Gavin Williams being sent from the dug-out after barging over Brett. Lloyd Irish tipped Richards' free kick wide but despite Martyrs' pressure the Peacocks stood firm to net the £3,250 prize money and a place in the next round on 11th November. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE. Match highlights can also be seen on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" A really good win against a good side and delighted to be in the next round whilst securing some prize money. It was very much a game of two halves as we were excellent in the first half with the wind but struggled to get out against the wind in the second half but defended with great desire in those difficult conditions. We had a golden chance to go 3-0 up and were pegged back to 2-1 shortly after but didn’t let this affect us and went on to secure a deserved win I thought. Ironically, the fracas and subsequent five minute stoppage just after their goal really helped us as it disrupted the game and gave us a chance to regroup. Today was a welcome break from league action and the rare opportunity to be underdogs which the lads enjoyed and we’ll look forward now to the draw on Monday."
Reaction - Man of the Match Ollie Chamberlain commented:" After a tough game on Wednesday night and not performing the way we would’ve wanted, we were going into the game looking to bounce back with a solid performance, and we certainly did that. I felt we started on the front foot and took a deserved lead with a great header from Wrighty. Throughout the half we kept the pressure on them and didn’t give them much to work with as I thought our energy was excellent all over the pitch. The only real threat they had in the first half was a chance just before half time but with that staying out and going into half time 1-0 up, it was a big boost for the team. Going into the second half we knew it would be harder as we were against the wind but getting that 2nd goal gave us a good lift. Merthyr reacted well to be fair and started putting some pressure on which made it difficult for us to get out. When they scored, it gave us an extra 10% because our heads didn’t drop and we kept on battling all over till the last minute. I thought the lads were excellent today against a strong Merthyr team and deserved our win. Now we look forward to the draw on Monday and hopefully another home game."
The Peacocks take a break from Evo-Stik League duty when they welcome Merthyr Town to the Viridor Stadium in the 1st Round Qualifying of the Buildbase FA Trophy tomorrow afternoon (28th October), kick-off 3.00pm. After their replay win in the previous round against AFC Totton, Town now face a testing encounter with the Martyrs from the Southern Premier where they sit in ninth spot with 25 points from 16 fixtures played. Their record on the road though is nothing extraordinary, having won two of their eight league games with victories at Dunstable and St Ives, so Town will hope to make home advantage count and extend their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions. The sides have enjoyed several close battles over recent seasons, having met at the Preliminary Round stage of the competition three years ago which Merthyr won after a replay. There is £3,250 prize money on offer for the winners of tomorrow’s tie with the replay if necessary scheduled for Tuesday evening.
For tomorrow’s tie, Omar Simpson is unavailable as he is away at a funeral whilst centre half Chris McGrath is playing for Helston Athletic in the Peninsula League in order to regain match fitness. Matt Buse is named in the squad after his transfer from Gosport Borough during the week. The remainder of the squad remains unchanged from Wednesday’s visit to Slimbridge. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow. It should be a good cup tie in front of a decent crowd as Merthyr normally travel well. It’s a very rare occasion this year where we’ll be the underdogs so we’ll enjoy that tag for the day and go and give it our best shot knowing that the pressure isn’t really on us. However we know that if we play to our potential we have the ability to match anyone in the league above.”
A Pierce Mitchell header two minutes from time earnt the Peacocks a 2-2 Evo-Stik League draw at Slimbridge yesterday evening (25th October). Although not hitting the heights of recent performances, a point was the least Town deserved after battling back to equalise twice. A Dan Sullivan strike rattled the bar for Town inside the first two minutes which was the closest either side came to scoring in a goalless first half despite plenty of attempts from the visitors, Ryan Brett and Sullivan forcing Ollie Hall into saves while Adam Mace's free kick wasn't far off for the Swans. Hall denied Ben Palmer after the break before Slimbridge caught Town on the counter for Marley Thomas to cut inside and slot home at Lloyd Irish's near post for the opening goal on 71 minutes. Sub Omar Simpson drew the teams level seven minutes later when he latched onto Matt Wright's flick and outpaced the defender to poke past Hall. Slimbridge regained the lead only three minutes later when Thomas took advantage of some absent Town defending to run on and curl home a neat finish from just inside the box. However the Peacocks kept pressing and were rewarded with the equaliser on 88 minutes, Brett's free kick getting a flick to find Mitchell who headed past Hall from six yards, to extend their advantage at the top of the table to four points. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE. Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" Pretty mixed emotions after the game. On the positive side an away point in midweek is never a bad result anywhere at this level and we showed excellent never-say-die spirit to keep going and equalise twice late on but we’re also frustrated with the goals that we gave away which were very sloppy and left us chasing a game which we felt pretty comfortable in. We lacked a bit of cutting edge in front of goal on the night, missing numerous good half chances and not making the most of an awful lot of set pieces and crosses. However, that now puts October to bed as far as the league is concerned and it’s been another good month. The overall position is very good so we move onto November and try to keep accumulating points."
Reaction - Ryan Brett remarked:" "It was a point gained rather than two points dropped after coming from behind twice in the game. We did have some half chances in the first half which we unfortunately couldn't convert. We'll stay positive as a group and kick on again in the league throughout November. We've put in some great team performances of late and long may it continue."
We are pleased to announce the return of Matt Buse to the club. The 20 year old attacking midfielder who has been on the books at both Bristol City and Yeovil Town originally joined the Peacocks in the summer of 2016 after leaving Weymouth and went on to enjoy a successful season at the Viridor Stadium but due to continuing studies at Bournemouth University he switched to Southern Premier Gosport Borough over the summer. However with the Hampshire club enduring a tough campaign on and off the pitch, a transfer was agreed for Buse to resign for Town.
Although the paperwork has been processed, Buse is not available for tonight’s Evo-Stik League trip to Slimbridge but will be in the squad for Saturday’s Buildbase FA Trophy tie at home to Merthyr Town. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” We’re delighted to welcome Busey back to the club. We were disappointed to lose him in the summer but understood his reasons for joining Gosport seeing as they are in a higher league and as he’s at university in Bournemouth. Whilst he’s played pretty much every game for Gosport, they’re having a difficult time and rebuilding somewhat so we were really pleased when he showed an interest in rejoining us. He’ll give us fantastic energy and dynamism which we’ve focused upon getting more of into the squad in the last month or so after looking pretty one paced at the beginning of the season. I’m sure the supporters will be happy to have him back and we look forward to getting him involved from Saturday onwards.”
The Peacocks tackle another awkward test when they travel to Slimbridge in the Evo-Stik League tomorrow evening (25th October), kick-off 7.45pm. After finishing in 20th spot last season, Slimbridge have experienced a much improved campaign so far, currently lying in ninth position. Similar to Town, they remain undefeated away from home with four wins from their six fixtures but their record at Thornhill Park is less impressive with four losses and only one win from five games. However the solitary home victory was against Bristol Manor Farm who have been sticking close to Town in second place so the Swans cannot be underestimated, especially coming off the back of a conclusive 3-0 win at Barnstaple on Saturday. At the same time the Peacocks were soundly beating Winchester at the Viridor Stadium to maintain their three point advantage at the top.
Manager Leigh Robinson names an unchanged squad from the weekend for tomorrow’s game. The Town boss remarked:” It’s a tricky fixture tomorrow night. Slimbridge are having a decent season so far and will be highly motivated, and we’re aware of what a tricky place it can be to go to in midweek so we’ll have to make sure we apply ourselves and play with the same intensity as the last few weeks when we’ve been really good.”