With excitement building ahead of our FA Cup 4th Round Qualifying tie at home to Hemel Hempstead Town this Saturday (15th October), media exposure for the club has certainly increased since the great victory over Hampton & Richmond Borough in the previous round. Assistant manager Michael Meaker along with Jordan Rogers and Pierce Mitchell appeared on BBC Points West on the Monday after the Hampton success while longstanding Town supporters John Quick and Dennis Hill were interviewed earlier in the day on BBC Somerset radio. Breakfast Show presenter on BBC Somerset Claire Carter will be visiting the Viridor Stadium tomorrow morning to record more interviews whilst ITV Westcountry's Seth Conway was at the ground this evening (11th October) to speak to chairman Kevin Sturmey and manager Leigh Robinson on their thoughts about Saturday and the FA Cup run this season (as pictured). The interviews will be broadcast on ITV local early Evening News on Friday. The club's Twitter feed has also been very active including a fans' poll on popular Twitter account FA Cup Factfile to decide which one of four matches to attend on Saturday. The Taunton v Hemel Hempstead tie came out on top, polling 38% of the votes cast, so we look forward to welcoming FA Cup Factfile to the Viridor this Saturday. Keep your eyes and ears open for more Town publicity in the coming days we hope!
Town advanced to the next stage of the Buildbase FA Trophy after a resounding 6-2 victory over Larkhall Athletic in the Preliminary Round yesterday afternoon (8th October). Despite the visitors taking the lead after 12 minutes when Dean Griffiths headed in a Jamie Adams' cross, Town always looked the likely victors in an action-packed tie, their performance characterised by some impressive attacking play. Matt Wright brought the sides level on 17 minutes with a header from Callum Martindale's cross before Craig Veal saw his effort cleared off the line. Shane White opened his account for the club with a penalty after 27 minutes to put Town 2-1 up after Adam Kelly had been fouled, with two further strikes on 37 and 38 minutes putting clear daylight between the sides courtesy of Veal's close range header from Pierce Mitchell's head down and then Veal again, robbing the ball from Larkhall keeper Ben John to score in an open goal. Veal missed a penalty in the second half after he himself had been brought down before the Larks' Tom Knighton was sent off. Griffiths ran clear to pull one back with just over twenty minutes left on the clock but Town replied with two more quickfire goals. Owen Irish headed in an Adam Kelly corner on 76 minutes and a minute later Kelly got in on the act to head home (as pictured) after Veal had won the battle with John for a high ball. Town came very close to adding more against a Larkhall side which was reduced to nine men in the closing stages when Griffiths saw red for a challenge on Matt Buse. The win now sees Town entertain Swindon Supermarine in the 1st Round Qualifying on Saturday 29th October. 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 good day at the office and some more vital prize money secured. Other than two slips in concentration for their goals I thought we were pretty good today, created numerous chances and looked a big threat throughout the 90 minutes. Big bonuses today were no injuries, Jordan rested up and no midweek game now this coming week so we can prepare for next Saturday's FA Cup tie a little better."
The cup theme continues for the Peacocks when they host Larkhall Athletic in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy tomorrow afternoon (8th October), kick-off 3.00pm. After their exploits in the FA Cup, Town will be seeking to replicate this success in the Trophy in which they reached the 2nd Round Qualifying last season. Tomorrow’s opponents Larkhall are fellow members of the South and West Division of course, having made a respectable start to the campaign and with only one defeat on the road so far in any competition which came at Street in the FA Cup back in August. Larks’ manager for the past six years Wayne Thorne stood down from the post last weekend so tomorrow’s clash at the Viridor Stadium will only be the second game in charge for newly appointed boss Geraint Bater, who had a brief spell with the Peacocks in 2005-06. Town meanwhile will be focused on maintaining their superb form in FA knockouts this season which has seen them reach the 4th Round Qualifying of the FA Cup, and with another home tie for tomorrow’s winners in the next round against either Slimbridge or Swindon Supermarine plus £2500 in prize money, there is plenty of incentive to progress. Town will be missing the injured Matt Villis and James Regan who is away. Leading scorer Jordan Rogers is also likely to be rested with next Saturday in mind as he has a slight hamstring niggle. Recent centre half signing Alex Hoyle features in the squad for the first time following his arrival from Slimbridge while home fans also get a chance to have their first look at Shane White who made his bow at Bideford in the League Cup on Monday evening. Manager Leigh Robinson observed:” It’s another big match with prize money to play for. We need to approach the game in the right way mentally as we can’t have anyone hanging back with next week in mind, particularly as we know Larkhall will pose plenty of threat to us. This competition can be equally as lucrative as the FA Cup so we have to go into it with the same intensity as any other cup tie.”
Town now know who they will face in the 4th Round Qualifying of the FA Cup on Saturday week (15th October). Hemel Hempstead Town will visit the Viridor Stadium following their 2-0 victory over Gloucester City in last night's 3rd Round Qualifying replay, with the incentive of a place in the 1st Round Proper and a possible tie against a Football League club for the winners plus the added bonus of £12,500 prize money. The Peacocks have crossed paths with Hemel Hempstead on several occasions previously, the most recent being in 2005, but since then the Hertfordshire side have seen a successful rise to the National League South where they currently reside in mid-table. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" We're happy with the draw as we wanted a home tie against a bigger side. With respect, a draw against a similar level side could have been a bit of an anti-climax so at least this way we have a great occasion on our hands. Obviously it will be very tough again against another National League South team but if we play to our maximum as in the last round and the people of Taunton pack the Viridor and really get behind us, it could be another great cup tie." Town's Evo-Stik League game at Didcot Town which was originally scheduled for the 15th October will now be rearranged and a new date announced soon.
A completely revamped Town side departed from the Southern League Challenge Cup at the first hurdle when they went down 4-0 at Bideford yesterday evening (3rd October). The Peacocks carried the greather threat in a goalless first half but failed to get their noses in front from a number of openings. Under 18 player Billy Greene, Craig Veal, James Regan and Adam Kelly all had chances and it was Bideford who broke the deadlock on 51 minutes when Dan Western tucked in a Sam Stephens' cross. Billy Tucker fired home on 53 minutes after nipping in from the right flank and he scored his second of the night on 60 minutes with a header from Matt Bye's corner. Kye Toogood planted the ball over an inviting target for Town, with the scoring concluded eleven minutes from time via a looping header from Nick Barker. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from one of our club photographers Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - coach Karl Lindsay who took joint charge of the side for the evening alongside Rob Dray, with manager Leigh Robinson watching from the stands,commented:" Monday is a crazy night to play football at this level and with that in mind we took six youth team players with us to gain valubale experience and development plus two further debuts and only three starters from Saturday's team. The scoreline didn't reflect how well the team played, in fact at half time we should have been 2-0 in front such was our dominance with Billy Greene, Tom Stone and Charlie Melvin-Sparks not looking out of place at all. The second half saw Bideford win on the fitness side and experience, capitalising on each mistake to score. We had our opportunities with Dave Richardson and Kye Toogood both going close. The subs Rhys Ford, Toogood and Owen Lindsay all looked good when coming into play. A big plus was captain for the night Shane White who led by example and dragged the side along, not forgetting Adam Kelly and Owen and Lloyd Irish who all played again only 48 hours after Saturday, putting in great shifts with the youngsters. Man of the match for me was Josh Searle who was magnificent throughout and guided the younger players. We got what we needed out of the game - valuable experience for the youth players and a good run out for those who hadn't had much game time recently."
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."