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."
Town will be attempting to reach their furthest point in the Emirates FA Cup for 17 years when they host Slimbridge in the 2nd Qualifying Round tomorrow afternoon (17th September), kick-off 3.00pm. The tie against their Evo-Stik League South and West Division rivals gives the Peacocks the chance to advance to the 3rd Qualifying Round for the first time since October 1999 when they lost 3-0 to Margate at the Viridor Stadium. Since then their record in the country’s premier cup competition has been less than impressive, having only reached the 2nd Qualifying Round three times in the past eleven seasons including last year’s two match contest with National League Truro City. After victories over Tiverton Town and Cinderford Town so far this season Town will hope to advance further tomorrow but they will find Slimbridge a difficult hurdle to overcome. The Swans have not been beaten yet in 2016-17, their run in the FA Cup being complemented by two wins and four draws from their first six league fixtures. They will also be seeking to equal their furthest progress in the competition, having reached the 3rd Qualifying stage once before in 2006. The scene is set then for an interesting afternoon with the winners earning £4500 in prize money. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” It’s a really big game tomorrow and we know that we really need to turn up. Progressing through this round would obviously be a huge cash boost but also creates a bit of history as it would be the furthest the club have reached this century. “Callum Martindale returns to the squad after his holiday but centre half Charlie Hitchings has unfortunately decided to leave the club due to the travelling to Taunton on top of his work commitments. Charlie has signed for Yate Town and we would like to thank him for his contribution during his time at the club and wish him all the best for the future.
After comfortably leading at the break, the Peacocks were pegged back in the second half and were forced to settle for a 2-2 Evo-Stik League draw against North Leigh at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (10th September). It was a disappointing final outcome for Town who made an early breakthrough after eight minutes. Jordan Rogers, who had already hit the post, robbed a defender to thunder home a splendid left foot finish past North Leigh keeper Connor Thompson. Rogers was at it again on 24 minutes, lashing home another strike with his left foot after a defensive slip to put Town 2-0 up. The hosts were well on top for the first 45 minutes but despite several further attempts couldn't extend their tally. The second half though was a different story as Town sat back and never forced home their advantage. This allowed the Millers to press forward and gain the upper hand, duly reducing the arrears on 58 minutes when George Seacole netted from close range following a Morgan Williams' cross from the right. Williams himself powered home a header from a Jon Else cross after 77 minutes to grab the equaliser but the Peacocks still had openings late on to snatch victory, a trio of headers from Rogers, Ryan Batley and most notably a gilt-edged chance for Ollie Chamberlain all wide of the target. 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 observed:" At 3pm, 2-2 against North Leigh wouldn't have been a bad result but from 2-0 up and looking comfortable it's not a good result. The reason we haven't won is three-fold. Firstly we had chances to go 3-0 up which we didn't take and this has cost us, secondly we looked worryingly tired in the second half and didn't hit the same levels of intensity as the first half, and thirdly we dropped too deep, allowing North Leigh time and space to play which we know they enjoy. We have a bad habit at the moment of defending too deep at the Hamilton Park end of the ground and we must get over this to avoid having games of two halves at home all season."
Town will seek to maintain their place in the top ten of the Evo-Stik League South and West Division when they entertain North Leigh at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (10th September), kick-off 3.00pm. It has been a mixed bag of results and performances so far for the Peacocks in the league but they know that they will need to be at their best for tomorrow’s game, the Oxfordshire side lying in fourth spot two points above Town. After starting the campaign with two wins and two defeats, North Leigh have since won their last four fixtures including two FA Cup victories so will prove a tough nut to crack as usual in what will be Town's fifth successive Saturday home match. Town have a full squad available with the exception of Callum Martindale who is on holiday. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It’s a really tough game tomorrow as North Leigh are perennially a strong side in this league. They will undoubtedly be in competition for the top six so it’s a key game for us.”
Taunton Town FC have completed works on their floodlight improvement project thanks to a £2382 grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country. The funding has enabled the Peacocks to add another four floodlight lamps to existing pylons, one at each corner of the ground, which will vastly improve the brightness for evening games at the Viridor Stadium and gives the club a lux value which meets the requirement for National League South football.
Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
Director and Safety Officer at the club Brian Rose who submitted the grant application commented: ”Having decided that we needed to improve our floodlights, it was easy to complete the application form once all quotes had been received. The process is straightforward provided you have all details in place. Having been given the go ahead, which came very quickly after sending the application, we were able to schedule the work and our floodlights now have a suitable lux reading to take us to a much higher level of football. All in all it has been a very successful outcome, with our grateful thanks to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and the people who provide the money for them to carry out their valuable work.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It is a fundamental principle that clubs should be able to progress competitively and not be hindered because of unsatisfactory facilities, so naturally I am pleased to see that this grant will go towards the floodlight improvement at Taunton Town. The work of the FSIF is only possible because of the generous support of the Premier League and this investment is a further example of funding which will help to improve supporters’ experience of watching the game.”
The balance of the project costs were met by the club itself, with £1087 being contributed by the Supporters’ Club and the remaining £1763 via the Sponsor A Goal initiative which was introduced last season specifically to assist with funding ground improvements at the Viridor Stadium. The scheme encourages individuals to pledge an amount of money for each goal Taunton Town score in all competitions during a season, and after the success of 2015-16 the fundraiser will now operate each year to help finance future projects. Chairman Kevin Sturmey added:” Our mission is to keep building a football club and improve facilities for everyone, aiming to be ready for the levels of football we aspire to. The floodlight upgrade will make a huge difference to night matches and dismal winter Saturdays for players, officials and spectators alike.”
The Peacocks will face Evo-Stik League South and West Division rivals Slimbridge in the FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying on Saturday week (17th September). The Gloucestershire side won their replay 1-0 this evening (7th September) against Fleet Town, earning them the visit to the Viridor Stadium which consequently means the league fixture between the two sides scheduled for the 1st October, the date of the 3rd Round Qualifying, will now have to be rearranged.