Ryan Batley and Matt Buse who have trialled in several of Town's pre-season friendlies have now signed officially for the club. Batley (pictured left), a 24 year old left-sided defender, has impressed in five of the Peacocks' warm-up matches after recently moving to the West Country from Wales. He played at Aberystwyth Town last season, his third spell at the Welsh Premier League club, and has also represented Llanelli, Afan Lido and Haverfordwest County. Buse (pictured right) is a 19 year old midfielder who was on youth forms at Yeovil Town before going on to join Weymouth for 2015-16. He has also been a member of England’s Under 19 Futsal squad.
Manager Leigh Robinson remarked: “They have both impressed immensely whilst on trial and I have no doubt will be very good additions to our squad. Both are technically good players with fantastic attitudes which is exactly what we’re after. Unfortunately Ryan has a holiday booked for the first two weeks of the season which normally I would go mad about but to be fair to the lad he only moved to Devon from Wales late last year and had no idea he’d be playing for us but we look forward to having him available upon his return.” Goalkeeper Josh Dempsey has also signed Southern League forms as cover for Lloyd Irish who he stood in for at Shepton Mallet on Monday evening.
Meanwhile former Under 18 player Max Dyer is taking an extended break from the game. Robinson commented: “He is struggling mentally to get back to his normal level after his broken leg he suffered last season and felt this was affecting his game so is taking extra time off and will hopefully come back stronger at a later date.” Last season’s captain of the Under 18 team, Callum Mooney, has linked up with Western League side Shepton Mallet in order to build up his experience in senior men’s football whilst another former skipper of Town’s youth side Lewis Waldy has joined Street. The Taunton boss continued:” Lewis only returned last week from spending the summer in Ayia Napa and due to the fact he has missed the entire pre-season has chosen to get regular games at Street to regain his fitness which at this point we couldn’t offer him. Again we hope he’ll be back at some point. The perennial problem that we have is where do the players go when too old for the Under 18’s? As a manager I am always of the opinion that unless they are ready to walk into the first team which is very rare, they are better off getting games in the Western League and coming back when ready. That is far better for them than sitting on the bench for us.”
The Peacocks emerged 3-2 winners at Shepton Mallet in the last game of their pre-season schedule yesterday evening (1st August). Town made an ideal start, grabbing the lead inside two minutes via Josh Searle who lashed home a lay-off from Craig Veal. Adam Kelly made it 2-0 five minutes later, picking out the corner of Jamie Rothwell's net from a free kick, and Veal came close to a third before the Mallet responded on 14 minutes when Harry Ritchie lofted the ball over Josh Dempsey from the right side of the box. After Dempsey had denied Tyson Pollard with a great save, Jordan Rogers blocked a clearance to see the ball ricochet in for a 3-1 lead on 27 minutes before David Thorne fired home on 41 minutes to reduce the deficit. Action was more limited after the interval with few opportunities for either side to increase their goal tally. Match report can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" It was a useful exercise on a fantastic pitch and set-up at Shepton Mallet and we thank them for accomodating us at short notice. You normally hope that in your final friendly you have more or less your strongest team out but we weren't able to do that tonight as we had to protect people for Saturday but it was a good opportunity to experiment and look at a few different things. It's been a tricky pre-season with the majority of players being forced to miss quite a few games so we're all glad it's over and can look forward to the start of the competitive matches."
Town play their final pre-season friendly when they travel to Shepton Mallet tomorrow evening (1st August), kick-off 7.30pm. The game was a late addition to the Peacocks’ schedule to give them a further run-out ahead of this Saturday’s opening Evo-Stik League fixture at Shortwood United. However it will be somewhat of a mixed Town team that journey to the West Shepton Playing Fields, with Ed Palmer, Callum Martindale and Matt Wright all unavailable due to work whilst Owen Irish is away on honeymoon and Matt Villis who has been carrying an injury will not be risked before the weekend. Defender Charlie Hitchings returns to the side after missing the Bodmin game and former Yate keeper Josh Dempsey will deputise between the sticks for Lloyd Irish who is rested. Shepton Mallet finished 10th in the Western League Premier Division last season and are managed by former Yate Town boss Rob Cousins. Casting a quick eye through the record books it would appear that the two sides have not crossed paths in any form since the Peacocks won 3-0 in a home friendly in August 1993.
We are pleased to announce that long-standing club sponsor Somerset County Sports have won the top prize in our annual Main Sponsor Draw. The cricket equipment specialists were first out the hat in the draw held during the interval of Friday evening’s game against Bodmin Town at the Viridor Stadium and will now have their logo emblazoned on the front of the Peacocks’ home shirts for the 2016-17 season. Second out the hat to have their name on the back of the first team home shirts was PrideShine Valeting whilst another loyal sponsor Sun Scaffolding was rewarded with the third prize of sponsoring the front of the first team away shirt. The club would like to thank all the entrants to this year’s draw and congratulate the seven winners who are as follows:
1st prize, name on front of first team home shirt: Somerset County Sports
2nd prize, name on back of first team home shirt: PrideShine Valeting
3rd prize, name on front of first team away shirt: Sun Scaffolding
4th prize, name on back of first team away shirt: Invest South West
5th prize, name on front of youth team shirt: Soccerbox
6th prize, name on back of youth team shirt: Carlsberg
7th prize, free board rental or one free match & ball sponsorship: Wyvern Blinds
The club will again be running its popular mascot offer this coming season which invites local youth league teams to act as mascots for a game of their choice at the Viridor Stadium. The package includes walking out with the Town team at kick-off and playing a short game on the pitch during the half time interval. For full details of the offer and how to apply please click HERE.
There are again plenty of sponsorship opportunities available with Taunton Town this season, ranging from match and ball sponsorship for specific games to advertising boards around the pitch perimeter to individual player sponsorship, the first being summer signing Adam Kelly who is pictured being welcomed by his sponsor Ashley Spurway from Cotford Car Sales. To view further details on the range of sponsorship on offer, please click HERE.
The Peacocks went down to a 2-1 defeat to Bodmin Town at the Viridor Stadium in their latest pre-season friendly yesterday evening (29th July). It proved a testing workout for Town who were not at their best against the robust and well-organised Peninsula League champions who grabbed an early lead after 7 minutes courtesy of a great strike from Lee Doel who found the top corner of Lloyd Irish's net from 20 yards. Doel bundled a golden opportunity wide soon after but the visitors doubled their lead on the half hour when Dan Sullivan's corner was helped forward by Sam Hillson to Steve Bowker who hooked home from close range. Town got back in it on 36 minutes when Adam Kelly was felled and he got to his feet to plant a fine free kick past Kyle Moore. The second half saw a number of chances for both sides. Irish pulled off saves from Sullivan and Nick Milton whilst Doel capitalised on a defensive slip to run clear but his shot hit the post. Craig Veal and Ollie Chamberlain meanwhile missed the target when well placed for Town and Moore preserved the scoreline when touching a Jordan Rogers' shot wide in the dying stages. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" We were under par tonight and looked a bit leggy after Tuesday. I certainly think our forward play lacked a lot tonight in terms of the final ball which was often rushed. Defensively with so many players out, a makeshift centre back and Matt coming back from injury we were always going to be a bit open. With all this in mind I can't say I am concerned with the result as we did chop and change personnel and the system, but hopefully we'll get everyone back available next week and see the results of two good workouts this week."
Town continue their pre-season campaign with the visit of Bodmin Town to the Viridor Stadium tomorrow evening (29th July), kick-off 7.45pm. After the tough test against League Two Exeter City on Tuesday, tomorrow’s encounter will also ask questions of the Peacocks’ new look squad. The Cornish side are the reigning Peninsula League champions, securing the title by seven points last season from St Austell, and have a number of experienced players in their ranks including former Truro City stalwart Jake Ash, striker Adam Carter and former Peacocks keeper Kyle Moore. We last met Bodmin in an FA Cup tie back in 2009 when Owen Irish scored a dramatic late winner but the defender will be missing tomorrow evening as Town face something of a selection problem at centre half. Charlie Hitchings is unavailable due to work commitments and new recruit Ed Palmer is struggling with a foot injury. Trialist Ryan Batley is again likely to deputise whilst Matt Villis is set to return but will not feature for the whole match. Another trialist Matt Buse who played the second half of the Exeter game will also be involved.
There has been another friendly added to the schedule ahead of the season’s opener on Saturday 6th August. A Town side will make the trip to Western League club Shepton Mallet on Monday 1st August, kick-off 7.30pm.
An entertaining friendly went the way of Exeter City who narrowly beat Town 2-1 at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (26th July). It was an encouraging display by the Peacocks against the League Two side who could have found themselves behind early on when Jordan Rogers latched onto a poor defensive header but after rounding Exeter keeper Christy Pym, couldn't get the shot in. Liam McAlinden's header was just over for the visitors whilst Adam Kelly came close for Town on a couple of occasions as both sides enjoyed several goal attempts but it was City who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time when keeper Lloyd Irish parried a driven cross from Pierce Sweeney only as far as David Wheeler who slotted home. Connor Riley-Lowe headed home at the back post from a Matt Jay cross on 60 minutes to hand the Grecians a 2-0 lead before Pym pulled off an excellent save to deny Kelly. Brett Trowbridge's reaction header was frustratingly diverted inches over an open goal but Town deservedly got on the scoresheet on 76 minutes when Kelly's attempted prod past Pym deflected to Craig Veal who fired home the loose ball. City nearly added further goals in the final minutes with Jay crashing a shot off the crossbar and Archie Collins slotting wide of the target from the left after rounding Irish. Match summary can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Tim Norbury can be viewed HERE whilst goal footage can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" It was a good night for us and we were really pleased with the performance and effort that the players put in. Obviously Exeter have extra quality, fitness and movement but for a team like us we have to look to stay as close to them as we can for 90 minutes, get a good workout in and try to get a positive in the form of a goal or excellent individual performances which we did. It was great to see a crowd of 500+ for a friendly and we thank Exeter supporters for making the trip. Hopefully our own supporters saw positive signs for the season ahead."
After four trips on the road, the Peacocks finally play their first friendly at the Viridor Stadium when they welcome League Two side Exeter City tomorrow evening (26th July), kick-off 7.45pm. The match will undoubtedly prove to be Town's most difficult pre-season test, with Exeter having won all five of their friendlies to date against Weymouth, Bristol Rovers, Bodmin Town, Truro City and Burton Albion. Town meanwhile remain undefeated so far in pre-season although all their games have been against Western League opposition so it will be a different proposition facing the Grecians tomorrow. The game provides the first opportunity for non-travelling supporters to cast their eye over Leigh Robinson's summer signings including striker Matt Wright who has notched four goals already and the most recent recruits Ed Palmer and Christian Boateng. The only absentee for Town is Owen Irish who is away on honeymoon until after the Evo-Stik League home game with Barnstaple Town whilst there is a chance Matt Villlis who has only featured in two of the warm-up games to date due to injury may be involved.
Season tickets will be on sale in the club office tomorrow evening which will entitle the buyer to free entry to the match, along with Friday's meeting with Bodmin Town. Apart from guaranteeing free entry to all home league games for the 1st team and all U18 home games in the Somerset Floodlight Youth League, season ticket holders also benefit from a monthly draw for a voucher to spend at the club as well as the end of season draw which offers a 50% discount for next season's ticket. A season ticket form can be downloaded HERE.