Town completed their pre-season schedule of friendlies with a 4-0 victory at Bovey Tracey yesterday evening (8th August). Several chances had gone begging for the Peacocks in the first half before Lewis Powell broke the deadlock five minutes before the break, turning in the box to fire home off a defender after Matt Wright had flicked on Lloyd Irish's free kick downfield. Arran Pugh's header hit the crossbar when play resumed after the break but a second goal soon arrived on 49 minutes through Ross Staley who collected the ball to drive home a 25 yard shot. Town continued to create openings and added a third on 75 minutes when Powell scored a penalty after he had been hauled down by the home keeper. Matt Wright rounded off the scoring five minutes from time when he headed home Ollie Chamberlain's right wing cross. Match report can be viewed HERE. Neither of our club photographers were able to attend the game but some photos are available on supporter Martin Bamforth's site HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" A satisfactory night's work in terms of getting a few goals on the board and a clean sheet with a pretty bare squad on the night due to injury and unavailability. Arguably we should have scored more with better finishing but I'd much rather save a bit of that for Saturday when it really matters. Personally I'm pleased that the friendlies are now done and we can look forward to the proper games and I'm sure the players are too."
The Peacocks finish their pre-season campaign with a trip to Bovey Tracey tomorrow evening (8th August), kick-off 7.45pm. The meeting will be Town’s seventh warm-up match and gives them a final opportunity of doing any fine tuning in a game situation ahead of their Evo-Stik League opener at Cirencester Town this Saturday. Town have lost four of their six friendlies played including their most recent outing against Bristol City but the display last Friday was positive and they will hope to build on that in tomorrow’s game against the Peninsula League Division One East side. It will be Town’s third visit to Mill Marsh Park in recent years, having played there in pre-season games in 2012 and 2014, winning on both occasions 6-0 and 3-0 respectively.
Town will not have a full complement available for the game. Chris McGrath and Ben Palmer remain on the injured list while Pierce Mitchell has work commitments. Matt Villis and Ollie Chamberlain both return to the squad though after being rested for the Bristol City match with niggles.
A first half penalty was sufficient for a Bristol City XI to gain a 1-0 victory over the Peacocks in their final home friendly yesterday evening (4th August). It was a much improved performance from Town in a game in which both sides played some attractive football although clearcut chances remained elusive until the visitors took the lead after 27 minutes when Arran Pugh tripped Diego de Girolamo and the City striker got to his feet to convert the spot kick. City had several more attempts before the break but Town enjoyed an upturn in the second half as they pressurised the Robins' defence. Ryan Brett had a goal disallowed while a series of corners failed to yield an equaliser Town's efforts deserved. Town now have one more warm-up game at Bovey Tracey on Tuesday before the big Evo-Stik League kick off at Cirencester Town next 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:" I thought it was a really good game to watch and a brilliant test for our lads who I thought acquitted themselves magnificently. City played a really strong side which made it a good occasion and passed the ball really well. Whilst in these games it's mainly all about survival, we were determined to show our own ability on the ball when we had it and I thought the players did that and on another night we might have nicked a goal or two as we had some decent half chances. Defensively I was happy with our efforts; to not concede from open play to such a strong team shows really good application and concentration. As a team and as individuals we gained an awful lot from last night so big thanks to Lee Johnson for coming down with the side that he did, particularly on the eve of their first league game."
It’s the final home pre-season friendly for the Peacocks when they entertain a Bristol City XI tomorrow evening (4th August), kick-off 7.45pm. With the Robins commencing their Championship campaign against Barnsley on Saturday, the team that travels to the Viridor Stadium will be based on their Under 23 squad which will still provide a challenging evening for Town who have so far won just once in their five friendlies, a 3-1 victory at Willand last Friday. Town's most recent outing saw them lose at Bridgwater on Tuesday while the Robins U23 side were in action the following evening when they beat the Peacocks’ opening day opponents Cirencester Town in the final of the Gloucestershire Cup.
Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It’ll be a really tough test tomorrow as City U23’s have had some good results this pre-season and scored plenty of goals but it’s a fitness and footballing test that I’m sure everyone will be keen to meet head on.” Ben Palmer and Chris McGrath remain on the injured list while Matt Villis is also rested as a precaution due to a minor back strain. In addition the fitness of Owen Irish and Ollie Chamberlain will have to be assessed as both have niggles and could be doubtful.
In the third of our catch-ups ahead of the new season, tauntontown.com spoke to Lloyd Irish.
Since goalkeeper Lloyd Irish made his debut for the Peacocks back in 2008, he has gone on to play more than 200 games for the club in two spells. Season 2016-17 was certainly one to remember for the popular keeper, sharing in the success of the team but also memorable on a personal level after he won the Players’ Player of the Year award for the second time in a row plus coming out on top of the terrace poll to win Supporters’ Player of the Year. To cap it all, Irish was ever-present between the sticks for the second successive season, an achievement which gives him great satisfaction. He remarked:” It's something I'm very proud of. I've not actually missed a game since I came back to Taunton in November 2014 so it's probably 150 games I'd say so I'd love to keep that going for as long as possible. It can be hard to get motivated for fixtures such as Bideford away in the League Cup last season but the fact that the youth lads are there to try and impress means it's not fair to just not show interest. I enjoy the Somerset Cup because it means a lot to the supporters and it's a good chance to win some silverware.”
With new faces on board at the Viridor Stadium, Irish is optimistic about the new campaign. “The squad this season is even stronger than last”, he said, “all of the new lads have strengthened the squad and added something to the dressing room. We had a team bonding day recently and they'll all fit in nicely here. We all like a laugh and so do they and the fact that they already know some of the squad from Truro is great.”
The Peacocks’ FA Cup success last year coupled with the disappointment in the play-offs drives Irish’s ambitions for the upcoming season. He revealed:” I guess my personal hopes will be the same as for the team really as we all play for one reason and that's to be successful, you can't be successful without the other 15 lads but ultimately we have to get promoted this year. The club is going in the right direction behind the scenes and so it's time for us to step up and do it on the pitch. We have been unlucky the past few seasons but with the league structure this season and the squad we have, anything but promotion is a definite fail. It would be incredible to repeat our FA Cup journey though, that's something I'll remember for the rest of my life and it was great to give the supporters those memories too. I'd like to also wish Matt Wright good luck in his first season as captain. From what I've seen in pre-season I know he will do a great job!”
What about his long term plans? “I'd love to finish my career at Taunton Town,” Lloyd remarked, “ I still have 10 years left if I can keep myself in good shape and make sure I'm still enjoying it then there's no reason it's not possible. I'm very lucky to have such a great goalkeeper coach in Paul Edwards and training is always fun. Eddie’s now a good friend of mine too. As a club there is no reason why we can't fly through the leagues, but it's one step at a time. Let's start with promotion this year, and go from there. We're very fortunate to have such loyal supporters and they also deserve this. It would be great to keep the attendances rising too."
Another viewpoint will be coming soon.
The Peacocks suffered their third pre-season defeat with a 2-1 reverse at Bridgwater Town yesterday evening (1st August). Both sides had sights of goal in the early stages but it was the hosts who made a breakthrough after 16 minutes, defensive sloppiness enabling Mark Armstrong to get free in the box and Syd Camper was on the end of his cross to convert from close range. Town were soon back on terms four minutes later through Ben Adelsbury who curled home a great free kick from the edge of the area (as pictured), leaving the game all square at the break. The deciding goal came five minutes into the second half after Lloyd Irish had upended Camper in the box and Callum Ham steered home the penalty. Hardly any chances of note were created at either end for the rest of the game which became increasingly ill-tempered. The Peacocks now have two friendlies left in which to get their act together starting with Friday's game against Bristol City. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" We picked this game as we wanted to play a match in less than ideal conditions and as far removed from a nice comfy home game as possible and that's what we got. I thought we struggled badly on the pitch which made passing or running with the ball really tricky but we're going to come across that during the season so whilst we need to improve in such conditions, it was useful to get that experience. I'm not concerned by the result as we would have done things a whole lot differently in terms of personnel and formation if it was a game we had to win and certainly wouldn't have got caught on the ball twice for the goals but it's pre-season and all part of learning before the real stuff starts."
Town continue their pre-season schedule with a visit to neighbours Bridgwater Town tomorrow evening (1st August), kick-off 7.45pm. The game will be the Peacocks’ fifth friendly of the summer and follows their 3-1 victory at Willand Rovers last Friday, their first win in pre-season. The Robins will begin life in the Western League this coming season after relegation from the Southern League and have already played seven warm-up games ahead of their opening fixture at home to Keynsham Town this weekend in the FA Cup. They have had a mixed bag of results in the friendlies, their most recent ending in a 2-1 defeat at Chard Town on Saturday.
The Peacocks will be strengthened by the return of several players who missed the Willand outing including centre half Owen Irish who has yet to feature in pre-season due to a broken toe. Lewis Powell, Matt Wright and Pierce Mitchell are also back in the squad. However Ben Palmer and Chris McGrath are both still out injured. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” We’re back up to a more normal complement of players tomorrow and going into the final three friendlies it’s the time where the fight for places starts to kick in. Many of the lads will feel much better after 90 minutes at Willand on Friday so we’re looking for quite a few to push on from here starting tomorrow night.”
The draw for the 1st Round of the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup (Southern League Cup) was released today and the Peacocks were handed a repeat of the tie they faced at the same stage last year with a trip to divisional rivals Bideford. The game is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 3rd October, kick-off 7.45pm.
In the second of our features ahead of the new season, tauntontown.com spoke to new signing Ryan Brett.
The capture of Ryan Brett amongst others over the summer reaffirmed the Peacocks’ intentions to make it fourth time lucky this season and finally secure promotion to the Premier Division after three successive setbacks in the play-offs. The left-sided defender/midfielder has accumulated a good deal of higher league experience at both Salisbury City where he helped them win promotion to the Conference National and at his most recent club Truro City. So far he’s liked what he’s seen at the Viridor Stadium. “’I feel like I’ve settled in really well at the club”, he commented. “The lads have been great as well as the management. It always helps when you know some of the lads really well too. There are no bad eggs in the group which will certainly help during the course of the season.”
Given his footballing CV, it might have been expected the 26 year old would have opted to join a club higher up the non-league system after leaving Truro but he has no doubts about his decision and believes his previous experience will come in useful in the months ahead, continuing:” I came to watch the FA Cup game against Barrow last season and was impressed with the whole set up, the pitch, the fans and the general feel about the place. It showed the potential the club has. I want to be part of that and that’s why I came to Taunton Town FC rather than take up offers from a slightly higher level. I do feel my experience from playing in the National League and gaining promotions from the Conference South & Southern League will help the side on certain occasions during the season, we want to be up there challenging. There will be stumbling blocks along the way, it’s a long season, but that’s where I hope my experience and the other experienced lads will show their true capabilities.”
With the new season less than a fortnight away, Brett is hopeful of a successful campaign for both the team and him, saying: “I have set myself personal targets for the season which I won’t say just yet as the main aim for me at the moment is to get a good pre-season under my belt, that’s my sole focus. My aim for the forthcoming season is for us to be right up there competing at the top end of the table come April next year. We’ll do this with hard work, patience, penetration and a great team spirit which is evident already. I can’t wait for the season to start, Up The Peacocks!!’’
Views from another one of Town’s squad will be coming soon.
Congratulations go to our Print and Design Partner Carly Press who won first prize in our annual Sponsors Draw held during the interval of last Tuesday’s friendly with Weymouth. The winning numbers were pulled out of the hat by Taunton Town Supporter of the Year Greg Galpin and the Chelston-based company were the first number drawn out, meaning they will have their logo on the front of the first team home shirt for 2017-18. Another existing club sponsor Invest Southwest was drawn out second and will have their logo on the back of the home shirt. The remaining prizes were won by Tolchard Drinks, Taunton Vale Healthcare and Coomber Security. We would like to congratulate all prize winners and gratefully thank all entrants to the draw, all of whom will receive a transferable season ticket for the upcoming season.