As reported on the club’s Twitter account earlier today (21st September), we are pleased to announce the signing of Mark Preece. The 30 year old central defender (pictured) has a vast range of experience at higher league clubs, coming through the youth system at Bristol Rovers before going on to play for Forest Green Rovers, Mansfield Town, Bath City and Chippenham Town amongst others. He signed for Hereford in November 2016 and played against the Peacocks in both Evo-Stik League fixtures last season when the Bulls went on to clinch the South and West Division title. Although he had featured in the opening five games of Hereford’s 2017-18 campaign, it was agreed upon his departure from Edgar Street a fortnight ago after a house move further away from Hereford had made travelling to games and training more difficult.
Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” It’s great to be able to welcome Mark to the club. Sometimes you get lucky when the right player becomes available at the right time and this is one of those occasions. We’ve struggled with defensive injuries all season and we heard Mark had recently left Hereford due to work and travelling commitments meaning he couldn’t commit to them and was available. He’s been there and done it in terms of this division last season and will give us valuable experience and leadership at the back.”
An understrength Town made it three Evo-Stik League wins out of three at the Viridor Stadium when they defeated AFC Totton 2-1 yesterday afternoon (16th September). Victory maintained the Peacocks unbeaten start in the League and was built on a confident first half display which saw them make the breakthrough after 14 minutes, Matt Wright notching his sixth goal of the season when his back header from Pierce Mitchell's long throw-in arced over Totton keeper Shane Murphy. Omar Simpson blasted a decent opportunity over and also stung the hands of Murphy with a forceful drive from the edge of the box whilst Lloyd Irish kept his side's lead intact at the break when he foiled Craig Feeney in a one-on-one. The second half became scrappier, with the Stags equalising on 60 minutes when Feeney raced on to Tobi Adekunle's long punt upfield to lob over the advancing Irish. The Peacocks though restored their lead ten minutes later when Wright latched on to Shane White's ball and was brought down as he tried to round Murphy. Ben Adelsbury kept his nerve to drill home the penalty which concluded the scoring and kept Town in second spot. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE. Goal highlights from the game can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" A good win today in the circumstances. With so many defensive injuries and a threadbare bench the three points would have been welcome however they came along this afternoon, but I thought we played some good football and looked much more dangerous going forward than in previous weeks, particularly in the first half. Totton are a good side this year which, like last week at Kidlington, shows the increase in the overall strength of the division this year which looks like it's going to make it extremely competitive. A really good home debut from Omar today who we were really pleased with. He looked pacy and incisive which we've lacked and caused problems all afternoon. He's still settling in so hopefully we'll see even more from him once he's built up an understanding with the rest of the lads."
Reaction - centre half Arran Pugh commented:" Today felt like a really important win after the disappointment of the last three games; losing in the FA Cup and then conceding a late equaliser against Kidlington last week. Totton were a decent team and a good test for us but the boys played really well in the new formation and we played some great passing football today, especially in the first half. Wrighty is scoring a lot of goals at the moment which is great to see and I thought Les and Omar linked up with him well to provide an attacking threat. We were disappointed to concede a poor goal defensively and had Lloyd to thank for a great save in the first half but the boys showed great character to come back and get the winning goal. We also defended really well in the last 15 minutes under a fair bit of pressure and never really looked like conceding a second which was a real positive and was down to the fact that the whole team dug in and defended together. We look like we will score goals in every game so if we can continue to stay solid and defend as a team I'm sure we can keep ourselves at the top end of the table which is where we all want to be."
The Peacocks continue their Evo-Stik League campaign when AFC Totton visit the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (16th September), kick-off 3.00pm. Last weekend’s draw at Kidlington saw Town drop their first points of the season but they still remain in second place on goals scored behind Bristol Manor Farm. After finishing last season in 19th spot, tomorrow’s opponents have made a much better start this time round, currently lying in sixth place with three wins and two defeats from their five fixtures to date. On the road the Stags have won at Bishops Cleeve and lost at Salisbury but have already scored five in a game twice already this term, against Fleet in the FA Cup and in their most recent match at home to Yate Town last Saturday.
Town are facing something of an injury predicament for tomorrow’s game. Joining the casualty list which already includes Joe Charles, Chris McGrath and Matt Villis is Owen Irish who has a recurrence of a toe problem. In addition Ollie Chamberlain and Arran Pugh will both have fitness tests but are doubtful, however Ben Palmer and Les Afful return to the squad after missing the Kidlington game due to a wedding and suspension respectively. It had been hoped that the Peacocks would include a new signing tomorrow but this has not been possible due to a registration issue. Striker Lewis Powell meanwhile has left the club and signed for Evesham United. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It will be a tough game tomorrow as Totton have started well and their confidence will be high so we’ll need to be on our mettle. There were good signs last weekend though when I thought we played pretty well so hopefully we can translate this into a home game and look to pick up a good result.”
The Peacocks dropped their first points in the Evo-Stik League this season when they drew 2-2 at Kidlington yesterday afternoon (9th September). Town had looked as though they would secure victory on their first visit to Yarnton Road despite again being well below their best before the hosts grabbed an equaliser in the final minute. Town made another bad start as they found themselves behind after just six minutes, Mark Bell crossing for the unmarked Darius Browne to fire past Lloyd Irish. Kidlington nearly scored again when Bell's shot deflected onto the crossbar with Anaclet Odhiambo's follow-up cleared off the line. The Peacocks fought back to equalise after 26 minutes when Ryan Brett's cross from the left was headed home at the back post by Matt Wright to leave it all square at the interval after a somewhat uninspiring 45 minutes. Lloyd Irish denied Odhiambo when the striker looked certain to score when play resumed but then Town missed a golden chance when Wright was pushed down by Lewis Gabbidon but Ross Staley's penalty was saved by Bojan Tetek. Debutant Peacock striker Omar Simpson saw a close range effort deflect onto the bar before his side took the lead on 72 minutes when Wright headed his second of the game from Brett's corner. Tommy Castle's cross skimmed the bar as the home side pressed forward and their perseverance paid off in the last minute when Jack Quainton got free on the right and Odhiambo converted his cross from close range to bring the scores level. Kidlington's Ben Willoughby was sent off in stoppage time after receving his second yellow card but it was too late to make any difference as the Peacocks dropped a place to second in the table. Match report can be viewed HERE while match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" Pretty mixed feelings from everyone after the game really. Of course you're always disappointed to lose the lead late on but on the face of it a point here is a decent enough result. Kidlington are a good side with plenty of ability and will take plenty of points off teams this year, especially at home. There were positives for us to take as we changed the system and looked creative so this gives us another option. Omar looked good on his debut and gives us much more dynamism going forward which I think we've badly lacked and we got Wrighty back on the scoresheet, in particular from a set piece where we can be so devastating. All in all, both teams will be probably feel they did enough to win but we're happy enough with a point from a really long away trip and move on."
Reaction - keeper Lloyd Irish said:" We're all disappointed to end up with just a point from this game after being 2-1 up with five minutes left but I think it was a good team performance. We missed a few good chances that cost us, however so did Kidlington so I think a draw was a fair result. There were some positives to take from the game and Omar Simpson looked good when he came on. We changed our formation at 1-0 down as we were under the cosh and the way the lads adapted to it was great, we got on the front foot from there and that's probably why it feels so disappointing to come away with just a point. The two goals we conceded were a little sloppy again and that's something we need to tidy up because we are conceding far too many soft goals at the minute. I think Kidlington will be a top half side come the end of the season so I think this will turn out to be a good point. All in all we're still unbeaten and have got one of our longest trips out of the way."
Town will be hoping to recover from their midweek disappointment when they travel to Kidlington in the Evo-Stik League tomorrow (9th September), kick-off 3.00pm. Not only did the defeat to Tavistock in the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday deprive the Peacocks of valuable prize money, it also brought to an end their unbeaten record this season so they will be looking to get back on track when they make their first ever visit to Yarnton Road tomorrow. Four wins from their opening four league fixtures has sent Town to the top of the West Division whilst their Oxfordshire hosts have experienced a mixed start to this season after transferring from the Central Division over the summer, currently lying in 15th spot. They have yet to win at home following an opening day draw with Yate and then defeat to Bristol Manor Farm but have gained an away victory at Winchester. They also remain in the Emirates FA Cup after thrashing St Margaretsbury 6-1 last weekend.
The Town squad will hopefully have a new face in it tomorrow subject to paperwork being processed in time for the transfer of Omar Simpson (pictured) from Paulton Rovers. The 27 year old striker was at Yeovil Town in his early career before going on to play for Chippenham Town and Frome Town, as well as a number of Western League clubs. He has also competed for Great Britain in athletics at both 200 and 400 metres. The Peacocks have also signed on former Under 18 player Matt Trump ahead of the trip east as they have a lengthy number of absentees tomorrow. Chris McGrath and Joe Charles remain on the injured list while Les Afful is suspended for one game after his sending off at Tavistock last Saturday. In addition Ben Palmer is away at a wedding and Lewis Powell is unavailable following seven day approaches from two other clubs. Assistant manager Michael Meaker is also away and Matt Villis is extremely doubtful with a hamstring injury. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” It’s a bit of a step into the unknown tomorrow at a ground we’ve never been to. What we do know is that Kidlington have plenty of talent and have had a couple of good results already so it will be tricky as it’s also one of our longest trips of the season.”
There will be no Emirates FA Cup run from Town this season after they lost 2-1 to Peninsula League Tavistock at the Viridor Stadium in a 1st Qualifying Round replay yesterday evening (5th September). The Peacocks were basically not good enough on the night as they suffered their first home defeat in any competition since August 2016. They could hardly have made a worse start, Josh Grant firing the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the first minute after Arran Pugh handled Dan Sullivan's cross. Pierce Mitchell and Ryan Brett both came close to an equaliser before Tavistock doubled their lead after 24 minutes, Town's defence in no mans' land as Luke Brown ran onto a long ball to steer past Lloyd Irish. The hosts offered little in response against the lively Lambs for the remainder of the half before Brett's cross hit the bar when play resumed. Ross Staley then gave the Peacocks hope when he drilled home a loose ball from just inside the box on 56 minutes but Tavistock continued to look dangerous on the break as Ben Cross fired against the post. Despite Town putting on the pressure, they were unable to muster much in the way of chances as they made an underwhelming exit from the competition. Match report can be viewed HERE while match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE. Goal highlights from the game can also be viewed on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" Obviously we're really disappointed to exit the FA Cup at this stage. We knew before the game that the momentum was marginally with Tavistock after the way the game finished on Saturday and the plan was to try and wrestle that back but giving away a penalty after 30 seconds made that pretty difficult and allowed Tavistock to sit deep and counter attack us. Over the tie we unfortunately made more errors and Tavistock were more clinical in front of goal and that is what has cost us. Disappointed for the supporters who enjoyed themselves so much in this competition last year and we of course hoped to go further than this stage this season but it does allow us to focus on the league and save all of our energy for that."
Reaction - midfielder Shane White said:" Just absolutely gutted to be honest to be out of the FA Cup this early on. I thought we did enough second half not to win the game but to take it into extra time but it wasn't to be. Take nothing away from Tavistock, they would beat many teams in our league but now we're out it makes you realise how special last season's run was. We're top of the league though and and we know on our day we can beat anyone in this league. I'm sure we will put it right on Saturday and go and get another three points."
The Peacocks will be aiming to achieve a more consistent performance when they host Tavistock at the Viridor Stadium in an Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round replay tomorrow evening (5th September), kick-off 7.45pm. The first tie in Devon on Saturday seemed to be going to plan after Town built a 2-0 lead but then they faded badly, with Tavistock levelling the scores and looking the more likely winners. With home advantage, Town will hope to progress but the Lambs showed enough in the first game that they are more than capable of causing an upset as they provided the hardest match of the season so far for the Peacocks who will need to show greater focus tomorrow to get through and claim the £3,000 prize money on offer. Another incentive for the winner is a home tie against Southern Premier Frome Town in the next round on Saturday 16th September after the FA released the draw for the 2nd Qualifying Round today.
There will be one change to Town’s squad with centre half Matt Villis returning after serving a one match ban for his recent dismissal at Shortwood. Joe Charles and Chris McGrath though are both still sidelined through injury. Manager Leigh Robinson said;” It was a good contest on Saturday and an entertaining cup tie. Tavistock will arguably be more confident tomorrow than they were on Saturday so no one should be thinking that just because we’re at home now that will be the end of it. We disproved that last season at Hemel Hempstead.”
The Peacocks let slip a two goal lead as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Tavistock in the Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round yesterday afternoon (2nd September). It was a disappointing outcome for Town who started well against the Peninsula League champions but failed to maintain this standard over the 90 minutes. Town enjoyed plenty of possession without creating many clear chances until they took the lead after 32 minutes, Ollie Chamberlain latching onto a Lewis Powell pass to outwit his defender and drive home inside Josh Oak's near post. That goal gave the visitors the advantage at the interval and things looked rosy when Powell doubled the score six minutes into the second half, hooking Pierce Mitchell's cross past Oak after a bout of Town pressure. Lloyd Irish denied Jack Crago when he was put through but the warning was not heeded as Crago got his side back in it after 57 minutes, crashing home a drive after some generous defending. Matt Wright had a goal chalked out for allegedly impeding Oak but the hosts capitalised on some more slapdash play from Town to equalise on 82 minutes, the unmarked Crago heading home at the back post from Tyler Elliott's cross. The home team looked the most likely winner at this stage as Town's decline was capped off by Les Afful being sent off in stoppage time after receiving two quickfire yellow cards. The sides must now do it all again in the replay at the Viridor Stadium on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.45pm. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE. Goal highlights from the game can also be viewed on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" Goals change games and no better example of that than today. We were crusing at 2-0 and in full control, gifted them a really poor goal to make it 2-1 and from there the momentum shifted and we couldn't wrestle it back. In many ways we ended up getting out of jail today as we were that poor in the final 20 minutes we could have lost, so the positive is that we can have another go at it on Tuesday night."
Reaction - midfielder and former captain Brett Trowbridge commented:" It started out looking a very promising afternoon but it ended a frustrating one. I thought going forward it was close to the best we had played this season since the Cirencester game especially for the first hour anyway. Olly scored a fantastic opening goal which is something he is more then capable of doing, then Lewis added a typical classy instinctive finish he is renowned for. Their goal sort of came from nowhere and knocked us out of our stride really. We are normally very good at defending a one goal lead but on this occasion it did not happen. The way we conceded both goals was disappointing from our perspective and it is not something that happens too often. We are still in the hat come Monday's draw though which is a positive on reflection. Tavistock are a good side who gave us plenty of problems and would do well in our league. We will have to be right on our game to progress to the next round on Tuesday night. They will bring a confidence with them and rightly so. We hope our fans will give us the edge being at home to help us get over the line so please get behind the team...Up The Peacocks!"
The Peacocks continue their Emirates FA Cup campaign when they travel to Tavistock for a 1st Round Qualifying tie tomorrow (2nd September), kick-off 3.00pm. A 3-0 victory over Larkhall Athletic a fortnight ago steered Town through the Preliminary Round, a game which has been sandwiched by four Evo-Stik League wins to leave Town with a 100% record so far this season. Tomorrow’s tie is a real banana skin though against the current Peninsula League champions who are also undefeated so far, having beaten Shepton Mallet and Shaftesbury to reach this stage in the competition whilst racking up 24 goals from four Peninsula League fixtures. Resounding victories over Falmouth and Witheridge were followed by a 3-0 win at Bodmin last weekend before the Lambs dropped their first points of the season and conceded their first league goals when drawing 3-3 with Launceston on Wednesday evening. The sides have met twice before in the competition, the Devon club winning a home tie 7-2 in the 1948-49 season while the Peacocks edged through 2-1 in the Preliminary Round seven years ago.
Town will not have a full complement available tomorrow. Chris McGrath remains on the injured list along with Joe Charles who has missed the last two games due to a knee strain while Matt Villis is suspended for one match following his sending off at Shortwood last weekend. Loan striker Olly Mehew though has been given permission to play in the competition by his parent club Forest Green Rovers so is in the squad. Assistant manager Michael Meaker commented:” We’re looking forward to the game tomorrow. It’s been an excellent start from the boys and we still haven’t been playing to the level we know we can but still been winning. We have a fantastic bunch of lads here this season who are all in it together and pure winners, the atmosphere in the changing rooms and training has been spot on. Let’s hope we can get fired up for tomorrow’s game and have another great FA Cup run this year.”
Town secured their fourth win from as many Evo-Stik League games when they beat Paulton Rovers 3-0 at a sun-drenched Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (28th August). The victory keeps the Peacocks 100% record intact and maintains their position at the top of the West Division table. Although not up to full speed, it proved a comfortable win for Town who bossed the first half. They had already come close through Matt Wright and Ryan Brett before the deadlock was broken on 26 minutes when Ollie Chamberlain was brought down by Joshua Cann and Les Afful drilled home the penalty. The lead was doubled a minute into first half stoppage time when Lloyd Irish's long free kick wasn't cleared and Afful laid the ball back to Chamberlain who swept home a lovely finish from the edge of the box. Ben Adelsbury rattled the post with a free kick moments into the second half and Lewis Powell later headed against the bar while Lloyd Irish had a quiet afternoon in the home goal as the heat began to take its toll on both sides. Loan striker Olly Mehew then wrapped the points up eight minutes from time, cutting in to beat the defence and rifle a fine strike into the roof of the net from 18 yards. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" Another solid win on a really hot day which made it difficult for both teams. We defended really well again, Lloyd was rarely called upon and we took our chances when they came along despite not being at our best going forward. It's been a good month which we can put to bed now. I still think there is much more to come from this team and we have more gears to use if we need to. Despite the results I wouldn't say we've played brilliantly this month or been especially easy on the eye but we've been very effective in picking up results and controlling games and this is what it's going to be about this year. We all know we can still improve as a team and we'll be working hard in September to make sure this happens."
Reaction - Man of the Match and scorer of the second goal Ollie Chamberlain said:" The boys knew that coming into today's game was going to be difficult as it was a tough test on Saturday with the heat and finishing with 10 men, but I think we played well considering today's conditions. We made a couple of changes from Saturday which had a positive impact, as we started the game well and deservedly got the first goal through Les with a well taken penalty. I think after that we became a bit sloppy and didn't keep the pressure on them as we should have, but saying that we were able to get the second goal at a crucial time. With the two goal cushion, we wanted to control the game a bit more in the second half but with Saturday taking a lot out of us and the heat today, I think we started to flag a little which kept them in the game. With Olly getting the 3rd with a well taken finish we were then able to see the game out comfortably. It wasn't the prettiest of games but we were able to get the three points we deserved to maintain our 100% start, so overall we are pleased."