Town's astonishing luck with home games in the FA Cup continued when they were drawn to host again for the 4th Round Qualifying on 15th October. The draw which was made live on Talk Sport radio this morning (3rd October) gave the Peacocks a tie against either National League North Gloucester City or Hemel Hempstead Town from the National League South. The sides will replay in Hertfordshire tomorrow evening for the right to visit the Viridor Stadium a week on Saturday. The home draw is Town's eighth in succession in the FA Cup, their last away tie being at Paulton Rovers in September 2014. Meanwhile in the draw for the 2nd Round of the Somerset Premier Cup made last Friday, Town will travel to reigning Western League champions Odd Down in the week commencing 7th November.
Town are back in action again when they travel to divisional rivals Bideford in the 1st Round of the League Challenge Cup tomorrow evening (3rd October), kick-off 7.45pm. It will be the Peacocks’ first visit to the Sports Ground since October 2013 when they lost 3-2 in a Red Insure Cup tie, the same competition as tomorrow night although it is currently without a sponsor. The North Devon club lie in mid-table following their relegation from the Premier last season but nothing too much can be read into that fact as both sides are likely to experiment, with Town fielding a much changed side from that which toppled Hampton & Richmond Borough at the weekend. Captain Brett Trowbridge, Pierce Mitchell, Ollie Chamberlain, Callum Martindale, Jordan Rogers and Matt Wright are all rested while Matt Villis is carrying an injury and Ed Palmer begins a two month absence attending a course. Matt Buse, Michael Meaker and recent signing Alex Hoyle are also not travelling due to logistics. New recruit from Truro City Shane White will make his Town debut while highly rated local Hamilton player Dave Richardson and Under 18 players Tom Stone, Charlie Melvin-Sparks, Rhys Ford and Owen Lindsay all step up into the squad, with several other names also possibly involved subject to paperwork clearance.
A fantastic Town display saw them claim a notable scalp when they beat Hampton and Richmond Borough 2-1 in the Emirates FA Cup 3rd Round Qualifying at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (1st October). The Peacocks had to withstand considerable pressure from the Middlesex visitors who began the day sitting in second spot in National League South, early efforts from Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick and Jamal Lowe kept out by Lloyd Irish. Hampton continued to look the more threatening but were rocked on the stroke of half time when Matt Wright played a clever pass to release Jordan Rogers who slotted the opening goal across keeper Aaron Howe. However the Beavers levelled two minutes later after Irish had parried Brendan Kiernan's cross but only as far as Nicke Kabamba who shaped his leg to divert the ball home from six yards. After repelling further Hampton attacks, Town regained the lead after 69 minutes when Ollie Chamberlain was brought down and Rogers made no mistake with the penalty (as pictured). Irish made the save of the game to deny Kabamba whilst Rogers and Wright both had chances to increase the home haul. With time running out the Beavers cranked up the gas to avoid an exit, Manny Williams' header hitting the post and another Williams shot going just wide but the Peacocks defended superbly to ensure progress to Monday's draw. 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 magnificent day for the club and an outstanding performance from the players. When you play a side two leagues higher and with the talent that Hampton & Richmond have you know that you need to be clinical in front of goal, you need to defend like warriors and your keeper needs to have a great game and happy to say we did all three of these. I'm so proud of the players as we'd been written off all over the place but yesterday showed what cup football is all about."
The Peacocks play their biggest FA Cup match for 17 years when they host Hampton and Richmond Borough in the 3rd Round Qualifying at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (1st October), kick-off 3.00pm. Not since 1999 have Town reached this stage when they bowed out 3-0 at home to Margate but it was one year earlier when they last negotiated this round, pulling off one of the best results in their history when beating Conference high fliers Kettering Town 4-3 in an epic game at the Viridor. Tomorrow’s encounter with the National League South side will present another difficult hurdle for Town to overcome, with the Beavers sitting in 2nd place in their respective table and having not lost on the road yet this season. They are also the division’s leading scorers, having notched 29 goals in their twelve fixtures so far, and hit the target with relish in the previous round of the FA Cup when they routed AFC Dunstable 7-1. It will be the first ever meeting between the clubs tomorrow, adding some extra spice to a tie which is almost certain to attract Town’s biggest attendance of the season so far to see who wins the £7500 prize money and progresses to the final qualifying round before the Football League clubs enter the fray. Town will have a full squad available to select from tomorrow apart from new signings Alex Hoyle who is cup tied, having appeared for our victims in the previous round Slimbridge, and Shane White whose registration was not completed prior to today's lunchtime deadline. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” Everyone knows the size of the task ahead of us tomorrow but challenges and occasions like these are what we are in the game for. The excitement has been building all week and hopefully the game will attract a sizeable crowd and we can put on a decent performance.”
The Peacocks have made their second signing of the week with the acquisition of Shane White from Truro City. The experienced 26 year old (pictured) who can operate across the back or in midfield made over 150 appearances for Truro and scored the winning penalty to earn the Cornish side promotion to the National League South in 2015. He started his career as a young pro at Plymouth Argyle before then signing for Weymouth. Spells followed at Falmouth Town and St Blazey until he linked up with Truro in 2013 where he won the Players' Player award in 2014-15. His departure from Truro by mutual consent left the door open for the Peacocks to bring him to the Viridor Stadium but unfortunately paperwork has not been processed in time for White to play in tomorrow's big FA Cup game against Hampton and Richmond Borough. Manager Leigh Robinson said:" Shane is another good signing for us. He has played really consistently at a higher level and gives us plenty of extra quality, versatility and leadership which is vital considering the amount of games we have coming up."
Town have bolstered their defensive ranks with the signing of Alex Hoyle from League rivals Slimbridge. The 24 year old centre half (pictured) played against the Peacocks in the recent FA Cup tie between the sides at the Viridor Stadium and was a strong physical presence at the heart of the Swans’ defence. He was on Bristol Rovers’ books as a youth player before going on to sign for Mangotsfield United. Two seasons were then spent at Bishops Cleeve until he joined Slimbridge in 2014, subsequently going on to be appointed team captain. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” Alex is a great signing for us. He’s highly rated in this league and we’ve had to beat off some stiff competition to get him. He’s a strong, aggressive and mobile centre back and will undoubtedly improve us. Unfortunately he’s obviously cup tied for us on Saturday but he’s likely to make his debut against Larkhall in the FA Trophy next weekend.” The signing of Hoyle is timely given the recent departure of Charlie Hitchings and the news that summer recruit Ed Palmer will be starting a full time course in London for two months after this Saturday’s FA Cup game so he is unlikely to be available during this period but he is due to return in early December.
There was no happy return for Town on their Evo-Stik League travels as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at Swindon Supermarine in the Evo-Stik League yesterday afternoon (24th September). On the road for the first time in nearly a month, the Peacocks can consider themselves unfortunate to leave the Webbswood Stadium with nothing to show for their efforts after not taking full advantage of numerous openings. A quiet start to the game saw nothing of note until Callum Martindale played a corner short to Pierce Mitchell but he scooped a good chance over the bar. Supermarine responded quickly to take the lead on 19 minutes when Connor Waldon cut inside from the right and fired past the wrongfooted Lloyd Irish who got his fingertips to the shot but couldn't stop it nestling inside the post. The home side went on to have the best of the next quarter hour but Town hit back and it took a great Connor Johns save to deny Adam Kelly just before the interval. Town continued to threaten in the second half and eventually equalised on 57 minutes when Matt Wright headed home Kelly's corner from virtually on the line (as pictured). Marine regained the lead nine minutes later via Callum Parsons' well-executed free kick but despite Owen Irish, Ollie Chamberlain and Rogers all coming close the Peacocks left Wiltshire empty-handed. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from one of our club photographers Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" We're really frustrated to lose a game we were well worth a draw in. On the balance of play and chances we feel very hard done by to come away with nothing but other than the final touch I couldn't have asked much more of the players today. Adam Kelly was a real positive on his return to the side and Jordan continues to look very lively. The positives are that we've come away to a very good side in this league and looked very incisive; the negative is that we've made more key errors than Swindon and this has cost us."
Town play only their second Saturday away game of the season when they travel to Swindon Supermarine in the Evo-Stik League tomorrow (24th September), kick-off 3.00pm. Since the opening day visit to Shortwood in early August, the Peacocks have enjoyed six successive Saturday home games which will finally come to an end tomorrow with the trip to Wiltshire. Town defeated Supermarine in the semi-finals of the play-offs last season and the Swindon side are again likely to be among the teams in the mix come the end of the campaign. They have made a decent start so far, lying in fourth spot after winning four of their seven fixtures to date with only one defeat which was away to North Leigh on August Bank Holiday. Like Town, they are also still involved in the FA Cup following their 1-0 win over Farnborough last weekend so it is shaping up to be a testing afternoon at the Webbswood Stadium which won't be helped by the absence of two Peacock players. Ed Palmer misses his first match of the season as he is suspended for one game for accumulating five bookings whilst Ryan Batley is unavailable due to work commitments. James Regan returns to the squad.
Meanwhile two of Town's Evo-Stik League fixtures have now been rearranged. The home game with Paulton Rovers which has been moved from this coming Tuesday 27th September due their involvement in a Somerset Premier Cup tie has been rescheduled for Tuesday 18th October. With Town in FA Cup action next Saturday, this also meant that the original home match with Slimbridge had to be moved and the Swans will now come to the Viridor Stadium on Tuesday 1st November.
Town's luck with home ties continued following the draw for the 3rd Round Qualifying of the FA Cup held at lunchtime today (19th September). The Peacocks will face new opposition in the shape of Hampton & Richmond Borough at the Viridor Stadium on Saturday 1st October. The game promises to be Town's most challenging yet in this year's competition, with their Middlesex opponents currently lying second in the National League South following their promotion for winning the Isthmian League Premier Division title in 2015-16 by one point from Bognor Regis Town, our conquerors in the FA Trophy last season. They have won seven of their eleven fixtures played to date and rattled in 26 goals, making them the highest scorers in the division. Manager Leigh Robinson is aware of the task ahead, commenting:" It's a tough draw which is exactly what you expect at this stage of the competition. Personally I much prefer being the underdog as everyone knows they have to be completely at their best to stand a chance and this makes it an easier game to approach psychologically. We'll be looking forward to the challenge." The tie on Saturday week means that Town have been given home draws in all seven matches they've played in the FA Cup over the past two seasons. The scheduled Evo-Stik League game at home to Slimbridge will now be rearranged for a later date. Meanwhile Town's home league meeting with Paulton Rovers planned for next Tuesday 27th September will also have to be rescheduled as Paulton are involved in a Somerset Premier Cup tie at Bishops Lydeard.
Town scored a goal in each half to defeat Slimbridge 2-0 in the FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (17th September). The advance into the next round is the Peacocks' furthest progress since 1999 and they now await tomorrow's draw at midday to see who they will face in a fortnight's time. Victory was no more than Town deserved after creating a good number of chances and hitting the woodwork on three occasions. After Slimbridge had enjoyed the best of the early exchanges, Town settled and Matt Wright put the hosts 1-0 up after 17 minutes when he headed home a cross from Pierce Mitchell. Further goals were hard to come by though; Adam Kelly's swerving strike crashed back off the bar and Jordan Rogers cut in to fire against the far post whilst Swans' keeper Luke Merchant denied Town on several occasions. The post foiled Callum Martindale's free kick minutes into the second half and with only one goal in it Town couldn't relax. John Cant missed a great chance to equalise for the visitors before Ryan Batley sealed Town's passage nine minutes from time (as pictured), steering home the rebound after Ed Palmer's free kick had been parried by Merchant. 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:" Delighted to be in the hat for the next round and naturally a good boost for the club financially. It was a weird game as we created so many chances, hit the woodwork three times and their keeper made at least five good saves yet it was still quite nervy. Freakishly we had to take three players off injured today which meant we couldn't shuffle the pack in the way we wanted but cup football is purely about the result so full credit to the players for keeping their concentration and achieving this."