Town face a lengthy trek in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy following the draw made on Monday (14th November). They will travel to National League South side Chelmsford City on Saturday 26th November when another tough match will be on the cards, the Essex club currently occupying fourth place in the table and having remained undefeated at home all season. However Town will be buoyed by the fact they have already taken the scalps of two National League outfits this campaign during their superb FA Cup run. Coach travel details for supporters will be announced shortly.
Town are gearing up for a mammoth 300 mile trek north when they go to Barrow for their Emirates FA Cup 1st Round Proper replay tomorrow evening (15th November), kick-off 7.45pm. The 2-2 draw at the Viridor Stadium last weekend saw the Peacocks more than match their National League opponents but it will be an even harder proposition in Cumbria for Town who travel north this evening and stay in a Lancashire hotel, and then have a training session tomorrow morning before completing their journey to Holker Street. Barrow stretched their unbeaten run to 17 games following their 0-0 draw at Sutton United on Saturday whilst Town are undefeated in ten matches. However the Peacocks look likely to be without Pierce Mitchell who is very doubtful for the replay after suffering a hamstring injury at Bishops Cleeve on Saturday. Centre half Ed Palmer is available, some logistical planning enabling him to meet up with the squad after travelling from London, whilst Adam Kelly is also likely to return following work commitments in Canada. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” We know we have a huge task ahead of us but can take confidence from the first game and we literally cannot prepare more for a game than we are over the next two days. People will say it’s a nightmare trip considering the distance but we have a chance to be in the FA Cup Second Round which is quite astonishing so we have to keep that in mind and give it everything we’ve got, something we’ve done throughout the competition.” BBC Somerset reporter Jack Murley is travelling with the squad and there will be live radio commentary on the game tomorrow evening.
We were delighted to be able to welcome nine players from the squad that represented Town on the last occasion they reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup in 1981 to our game with Barrow last weekend. The former Peacocks took to the pitch to be introduced to the crowd prior to kick-off before walking around the perimeter and catching up with supporters, many of whom still fondly recall that epic run 35 years ago when we bowed out at Swindon Town. Among the players present were Town’s record appearance holder Tony Payne and goalscorer from the Swindon game Kevin Hains. The players are pictured below:
L to R – Terry Edwards, Kevin Hains, Norman Stevens, Tony Payne, Brian Ashton, Rob Lowe, Paul Adams, Jamie Salt (injured for the Swindon game), Graham Smith
The Peacocks kept the fires burning in both FA competitions with a 1-0 win at Bishops Cleeve in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy yesterday afternoon (12th November). It was far from a vintage Town performance but they still got the job done to extend their unbeaten run to ten games. The first half witnessed a limited number of opportunities, Jack Horrell coming closest for the home side with a free kick saved by Lloyd Irish while Craig Veal and Pierce Mitchell tested Matt Wieczorek. Mitchell worryingly went off injured before Owen Irish scored the only goal of the tie two minutes into stoppage time when he headed in a Ryan Batley cross. Batley was close with a shot as the second half kicked off but it took a great Irish save to preserve Town's lead when he palmed wide a long distance Aaron Drake shot. Town missed out on doubling their tally when Jordan Rogers saw his penalty in injury time at the end of the game saved by Wieczorek after Ollie Chamberlain had been brought down. Thankfully though Town were not made to pay for this as they ensured progress to the next round on 26th November and in doing so achieved their best Trophy run since the 2003-04 campaign. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" It was a good win in difficult conditions and excellent to progress in the competition. It's fair to say it was a physical and keenly contested game of few chances. The refereeing was pretty poor for both sides - Cleeve will probably feel aggrieved that Shane wasn't sent off but they could easily have picked up a red card or two for some over zealous tackles that the referee never really got to grips with. A game that will not live long in the memory but we're happy to be through. Unfortunately it looks like we have lost Pierce for Tuesday with a hamstring injury but it's good that we've kept the momentum going before such a big tie."
Town play their first Saturday away game in seven weeks when they travel to Bishops Cleeve in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy tomorrow afternoon (12th November), kick-off 3.00pm. The first weekend road trip since 24th September gives the Peacocks a chance to maintain their terrific form in FA competitions this season where they are still involved in both Cup and Trophy. Town have banged in eleven goals in their two FA Trophy games so far this campaign in disposing of Larkhall Athletic and Swindon Supermarine, and will hope to keep their run going at Kayte Lane tomorrow when £3,250 will be up for grabs for the winners. Cleeve sit one place below Town in the table but have won their last three games which includes a win at Southern Premier Banbury United in the last round of the FA Trophy and another success over higher ranked opposition on Tuesday when they beat Cinderford Town in the Southern League Cup. Town will therefore need to be fully focused tomorrow, a fact which manager Leigh Robinson recognises. “It’s a tricky tie”, he said. “Many people said that it looks like a good draw for us but Cleeve beat Banbury in this competition and can be a dangerous side, especially on their own patch. Thoughts will inevitably turn to Tuesday but we have to remember that this is still a £3k game with the potential to play a National League side later on in this competition so tomorrow’s game needs our full attention.” Town will be missing Adam Kelly and Ed Palmer who are both away but the remainder of the squad who were rested for Tuesday’s match at Odd Down all return along with Craig Duff who made his first start in midweek.
Should Town be successful in their Emirates FA Cup replay at Barrow, then their tie in the 2nd Round Proper will again be played on a Sunday. The winners of Tuesday evening’s game at Holker Street will travel to either Bristol Rovers or Crawley Town in the 2nd Round which will be played on Sunday 4th December, kick-off 2.00pm. This is to accommodate TV coverage which will include a £12,500 fee to the successful club. Meanwhile the Peacocks’ home fixture with Larkhall Athletic in the Evo-Stik League which was originally scheduled for tomorrow will now be played on Tuesday 17th January. The rearranged away game at Didcot Town next week has also had to be rescheduled again due to the Barrow replay. The trip to Oxfordshire will now take place a week later on Tuesday 24th January.
Taunton Town FC have received a £100 fine and a three point deduction after being charged with playing an ineligible player in an Evo-Stik League South and West Division game. The charge relates to the opening game of the season at Shortwood United on 6th August when Michael Meaker, whose registration had not been processed due to an internal administrative error, appeared for the last two minutes of the game as a substitute with the score already standing at 3-0 in our favour. The club appealed against the League decision to deduct three points but an FA hearing upheld the decision of the League.
A miserable night weatherwise saw the Peacocks eventually battle to victory over Odd Down in the 2nd Round of the Somerset Premier Cup following a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday evening (8th November). Craig Veal put Town ahead on 15 minutes after he converted a one-on-one but the Western Leaguers hit back to lead 2-1 via a Joe Hillard penalty and Ben Wych in the space of three minutes. Craig Duff headed in Veal's cross on 47 minutes to bring the sides level and Under 18 player Rhys Ford netted on 70 minutes to regain the lead for Town. Cory Simpson made it 3-3 when he lashed home Adnan Hiroli's centre after 82 minutes to enforce extra time in which Tom Stone fired home James Regan's corner seven minutes in. Ashley McGrane equalised four minutes from the final whistle but Town prevailed in the shoot-out 5-4 to progress to the Quarter Finals, with Ford scoring the winning penalty. Match report can be viewed HERE. No club photographers attended the game but some photos are available on Martin Bamforth's site HERE.
Reaction - coach Rob Dray said:" It was an excellent workout in difficult conditions, and proves that there are many ways to play the game. This was against one of the better Western League sides on a poor surface, our side being made up of cup tied players, subs from Sunday and five under 18s who all acquitted themselves very well and received some valuable experience, with three even taking penalties in the shootout. Craig Duff who played in four different positions provided some great experience for these lads while Ross Staley also made his full debut. All in all a good win and into the next round in a winnable competition."
Photo courtesy of Martin Bamforth
Only two days after their FA Cup heroics against Barrow, Town will be back in action this evening (8th November) when they travel to Odd Down in the Somerset Premier Cup 2nd Round, kick-off 7.45pm. However it will be a much changed Peacocks’ team that takes on the reigning Western League champions at Combe Hay Lane, with a host of players who featured in the Barrow game rested. Matt Wright, Matt Villis, Pierce Mitchell, Ed Palmer, Brett Trowbridge, Ollie Chamberlain, Shane White, Owen Irish and Ryan Batley all sit the tie out whilst Adam Kelly is away. Alex Hoyle and recent signings Craig Duff and Ross Staley come into the squad along with Under 18 players Tom Stone, Charlie Melvin-Sparks, Billy Greene and Rhys Ford. The Bath side currently lie 7th in the Western League Premier.
The winners of Town's Emirates FA Cup 1st Round replay at Barrow next week have been handed an away tie against Football League opposition in the 2nd Round Proper following the draw made live on BBC2 this evening (7th November). The victors of the Holker Street meeting next Tuesday 15th November will travel to either League One side Bristol Rovers or League Two Crawley Town who are due to stage their replay on the same evening. Tonight's draw finally brings to an end the Peacocks' remarkable sequence of successive home ties in the FA Cup which stood at nine games before tonight. The 2nd Round game will be played over the weekend of 2nd - 5th December.