After picking up four points from two Evo-Stik League games on their travels in the past week, Town return to the Viridor Stadium tomorrow (11th March) and a meeting with Bishops Cleeve, kick-off 3.00pm. A hard-fought draw at Winchester last weekend was followed by a thrilling victory at Didcot on Tuesday evening and Town will hope to keep their foot on the pedal against the Gloucestershire side tomorrow to keep the momentum going towards securing a play-off spot. The Peacocks have already travelled to Bishops Cleeve twice this season and have come out on top on both occasions, an Owen Irish goal securing FA Trophy progress in November and then recording a 5-1 victory in a League encounter last month which started off Town’s current nine game unbeaten run. Cleeve occupy 13th spot and have lost their last three fixtures but have won away at top ten sides Swindon Supermarine and Winchester City this season so have the potential to upset the apple cart if Town aren’t on their game.
Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” It was a great win in midweek but we must now focus on Saturday as whilst we have beaten Bishops Cleeve twice this season, they did give us some problems on both occasions so it’s far from a foregone conclusion tomorrow. That said, if we use the momentum and confidence we gained from Tuesday in the right way, we’re very capable of finishing the week with the seven points that we would have wanted.” The Peacocks will be missing one if not two of their most regular performers tomorrow, with Owen Irish absent at a wedding and top scorer Matt Wright doubtful due to a neck injury he sustained at Didcot. We are pleased to welcome representatives from St Margaret’s Hospice to the game who will be making a ground collection during the afternoon and we also welcome Staplegrove Under 10’s football team who will be the Matchday Mascots.
The Peacocks fought back from going behind twice before netting a late winner to secure a vital 3-2 Evo-Stik League victory at Didcot Town yesterday evening (7th March). Victory extends Town's unbeaten run to nine games and followed an entertaining game which often swung from end to end. Town made a positive start and came close to breaking the deadlock but suddenly found themselves trailing after 17 minutes when George Reid set up Louis Joyce to fire home an angled shot. The equaliser wasn't long in coming though, Ollie Chamberlain putting Craig Veal in for a nicely taken finish six minutes later (as pictured). Veal and Josh Searle had further chances but the first half ended all square before Didcot restored their lead after 58 minutes somewhat against the run of play. Brett Trowbridge was penalised for a challenge on Reid and Ben Whitehead converted the spot kick. Town pressed to draw level and were rewarded after 74 minutes when Veal fed Chamberlain who tucked the ball home past Leigh Bedwell from close range. Town looked to have lost their chance of three points when Jordan Rogers had his penalty saved with eight minutes remaining after Sam Barder was adjudged to have fouled Pierce Mitchell but two minutes later another flurry in the box saw a Rogers strike blocked by Bedwell for the loose ball to fall to Owen Irish who lashed home the winner. The win closes the gap with 2nd placed Tiverton to just one point with a game in hand so the Peacocks will want to keep the momentum going this weekend when they take on Bishops Cleeve at the Viridor Stadium. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE .
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" A thrilling win in the circumstances and outstanding 'never say die' attitude from the players coming from a goal down twice, then ignoring the missed penalty to go on and get the winner. Winning a game in that fashion at this time of year is better than rocking up and winning easily and I'm sure we'll get more from it than just three points in terms of belief and spirit moving forwards when we go behind in games. Some really good individual performances tonight but Craig Veal was absolutely terrific and a real threat all night."
The Peacocks play a crucial rearranged Evo-Stik League fixture tomorrow evening (7th March) when they make the trip to Didcot Town, kick-off 7.45pm. With ten League games remaining for Taunton, every point will be precious in the quest to guarantee both a play-off place and home advantage, with the title already looking settled as leaders Hereford require just 13 points from their final nine matches to secure top spot. Tomorrow’s game is potentially awkward as Didcot will be keen to avenge the defeat they suffered at the Viridor Stadium last month when two goals from Matt Wright and another from Owen Irish saw Town home 3-0. The Railwaymen, who sit in 14th position, will also be desperate to see a turnaround in their fortunes, having not won in nine games since beating local rivals Wantage on Boxing Day and having lost four of their last five matches. With the Peacocks not having hit best form in their last three games, they will be looking for a more assured performance over the 90 minutes tomorrow evening and hopefully claim another three points to close the gap with second placed Tiverton to just one point with a game in hand. The squad is unchanged from Saturday’s match at Winchester with the addition of centre half Ed Palmer who has completed his three game suspension.
The Peacocks' six game winning run in the Evo-Stik League was halted after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Winchester City yesterday afternoon (4th March). A draw was about right given the complexion of the game in which Town were well below par in the first half and trailed at the interval but improved in the second half to equalise although still not being at their best. Chances were somewhat limited in the first half, Craig Veal striking a decent opportunity into the side netting for Town before Howard Neighbour found the same target at the other end. The hosts took the lead eight minutes before half time when a break saw Joe Briggs find Craig Feeney on the left side of the area and the Winchester striker's effort beat the dive of Lloyd Irish to find the net. With the wind behind them the Peacocks began to get on top and after an Owen Irish close range attempt was just kept out by Lewis Noice, they drew level ten minutes in when Veal curled the ball forward from the left and it evaded everyone to nestle in the corner (as pictured). Ben Palmer fired narrowly over as Town looked for the winner but Winchester hit back in the closing stages and Feeney missed a golden opportunity to score again ten minutes from time, lofting the ball over from inside the six yard box. The result means Town are now unbeaten in eight games but they will want to get back to winning ways when they travel to Didcot Town on Tuesday evening. Match report can be viewed HERE to follow while match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" It was an enjoyable and keenly contested game by two committed sides. On yet another windy day it was a game of two halves, Winchester much better than us in the first half and us much better in the second. We showed a lot of attacking intent in the second half but struggled to muster any clear opportunities on the worsening pitch and didn't take any of the half chances that came our way. Whilst we came to win, I'm not unhappy with a point as Winchester are a good team at home and put a lot into today. In our current situation it was far from a must win match so an away point is ok and we move on to two more games this week."
Two tricky away games await the Peacocks in the Evo-Stik League this coming week starting with the trip to Winchester City tomorrow afternoon (4th March), kick-off 3.00pm. Tuesday’s win over Wantage was Town’s sixth league success in a row, a run which has lifted them up to third spot, five points clear of Salisbury. With 2nd placed Tiverton on the end of a surprising 5-2 defeat at Slimbridge on Wednesday, Town are now very handily positioned only two points behind the Devon side with two games in hand so another three points tomorrow would be more than useful as the battle for play-off qualification begins to hot up. However the clash at the Denplan City Ground will prove a difficult test against a Winchester team that has lost only one of its last eight home league fixtures, winning six including a convincing victory over high flying Evesham United a fortnight ago. Ninth placed City are currently nine points off a play-off place and still in with a slim chance of being involved, and they also have the incentive of avoiding conceding the double to the Peacocks who triumphed 3-1 at the Viridor Stadium in October courtesy of goals from Jordan Rogers, Owen Irish and Alex Hoyle.
Manager Leigh Robinson observed:” We know we’re in for a tough game tomorrow. Winchester have taken points off top six teams in the last few weeks and may well still have play-off hopes of their own so it’ll be a test and one that we’re going to need something from if we’re to keep up our push to finish as high as possible.” Ed Palmer serves the final game of his three match suspension while the only injury doubt apart from longer term absentee Craig Duff is Ross Staley who will have a fitness test on a slight hamstring strain.
The Peacocks made it six Evo-Stik League wins on the bounce with a very comfortable 3-0 victory over Wantage Town at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (28th February). Town were in control from start to finish against their lowly visitors in a game completely spoilt by strong winds which made fluent football virtually impossible. Matt Wright headed an early chance wide before forcing Wantage keeper Ed Cavanagh to tip over his 20 yard strike. From the resultant Ross Staley corner Town grabbed the lead, the ball falling for Ben Palmer (pictured) to volley home from six yards after 18 minutes. Staley then crashed a shot off the crossbar and Cavanagh fumbled a Shane White corner onto the same piece of woodwork with Lloyd Irish a virtual spectator as the first half ended. The Peacocks deservedly extended their lead twelve minutes into the second period when Staley's corner from the right flashed across goal and was tucked home at the far post by Wright. Craig Veal fired wide after one of the best moves of the game before he created the final goal on 82 minutes, his shot being saved but retrieving the ball to square across to Staley who stretched out his leg to steer into an unguarded net. The win keeps Town in third spot and they will hope to continue their fine run when they visit Winchester City on Saturday. 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:" Unfortunately it was another game completely ruined as a spectacle by the very strong wind but we were comfortable enough and got the job done. We were far better against the wind which tells you how difficult it was to play with it as any ball forward was out of play in no time. It's been brilliant to have nearly 800 people in total through the gate on Saturday and tonight against two of the lower sides in the league, there are clubs in the leagues above that don't get that so we're really appreciative of the support at the moment but hopefully next time we're at home conditions will allow us to put on a better show and demonstrate what we're really capable of."
Town will strive to make full use of another Evo-Stik League game in hand when they entertain Wantage Town at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow evening (28th February), kick-off 7.45pm. The original fixture fell victim to a frozen pitch last month so tomorrow’s rearranged match gives the Peacocks an opportunity to put further daylight between themselves and the play-off pack whilst also closing the gap with 2nd placed Tiverton albeit possibly just for 24 hours as they visit Slimbridge on Wednesday evening. Town will be chasing another League double after securing their record Southern League away victory in December when they routed Wantage 9-0 at Alfredian Park courtesy of hat tricks from Owen Irish and Ross Staley plus a Craig Duff double and a Matt Wright header. Duff is still not ready to return to action following a hamstring injury while Ed Palmer sits out the second game of his three match ban tomorrow. Shane White though returns after serving his one game suspension for his dismissal at Slimbridge. Since suffering that defeat to the Peacocks, Wantage have continued to find it hard going, picking up just four points from ten matches to leave them one place off the bottom and facing relegation unless they can find an upturn in their fortunes so Town will need to ensure it doesn’t start at the Viridor tomorrow evening.
The Peacocks registered their fifth consecutive Evo-Stik League victory after they beat Yate Town 2-0 at a blustery Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (25th February). In a steady rather than spectacular performance, Jordan Rogers scored both goals before the break to seal the all-important three points and secure the league double over the opposition. A scrappy start saw Rogers and Matt Wright try their luck whilst a Matt Villis header forced a tip over save from Harvey Rivers before Town got the breakthrough they wanted after 24 minutes when a Matt Buse corner from the left was met by Rogers (pictured celebrating) at the near post and his header hit the net via a deflection off a defender's shoulder. Wright put his diving header from Ross Staley's cross over the bar and a number of half chances followed until Town added a second six minutes before the break, a powerful break from Ollie Chamberlain finding Pierce Mitchell out on the right and from his curling cross Rogers was on hand at the back post to convert. Town continued to boss the second half but the final touch proved elusive. Staley, Owen Irish and Rogers all came close before Yate had their best spell in the latter stages and Jack Camm lobbed against the bar. Town had done enough though and remain in third place ahead of another game at the Viridor on Tuesday evening when Wantage Town are the visitors. Match report can be viewed HERE while match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE and goal highlights can be viewed on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" The archetypal ugly win today. We never really got going and in fairness that's the worst we've played for a while. I don't think the conditions helped as strong wind often ruins games. We got the job done though which is all that matters in the current situation but we'll need to pick it up as of Tuesday as you can't play to the level we did today and keep winning. That said, I'm sure today was a bit of a one-off and I have every faith that the players will come out and perform better in our two remaining games this week as they were pretty gutted after the match which shows just how high their standards are."
Two successive home games against sides in the bottom five present the Peacocks with an ideal opportunity to reinforce their Evo-Stik League play-off claims starting with the visit of Yate Town to the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (25th February), kick-off 3.00pm. Four wins on the spin have lifted Town up to third place and they will be focused on another maximum point return tomorrow against the Bluebells who they beat 5-1 at Lodge Road in October, coming back from a goal down thanks to braces from Shane White and Matt Wright and one from Craig Veal. Since that meeting Yate have accumulated just 10 points from 17 league matches, having not won in their last 13 outings since overcoming Didcot 3-2 at the beginning of December. This form has seen them slip down to 18th spot but they seem unlikely to be dragged into a relegation fight given the current predicament of the bottom two teams Wantage and Bridgwater. Manager Leigh Robinson is hoping for another successful Saturday at the Viridor, remarking:” Everyone is feeling good at the moment and we’re on another decent run so hopefully we can continue that tomorrow. A few lads had a rest during the week so energy levels should be high in front of what we hope will be another really good Saturday crowd which we’ve enjoyed since the FA Cup run.”
The Peacocks will be missing both Ed Palmer and Shane White tomorrow through suspension. Palmer begins a three game ban for amassing 15 bookings this season whilst White must sit out one game following his dismissal at Slimbridge last Saturday after a highly controversial second booking for taking a free kick too quickly. Unfortunately there is no right of appeal for yellow cards even if it results in a sending off but given the match referee’s discussion with manager Robinson and Chairman Kevin Sturmey after last weekend’s game it had been hoped that the ban might have been overturned. However a bad taste has been left in the mouth. The Town boss continued:” The referee admitted to me and our Chairman in the presence of witnesses that he had made a mistake in booking Shane a second time and that he would state this in his match report which may have helped get that booking rescinded. His report though mentioned nothing about this so we are obviously very disappointed to say the least.”
The Peacocks have been drawn away to Western League side Keynsham Town in the Semi-Final of the Somerset Premier Cup. The tie will be played on Tuesday 28th March, kick-off 7.45pm.