The Peacocks travel to Bideford tomorrow night in the newly named BigFreeBet Cup.
The injured list shows no sign of easing with Omar Simpson, Arran Pugh, Owen Irish , Joe Charles, Mark Preece, Ben Palmer and Pierce Mitchell all unavailable. In addition Shane White and Brett Trowbridge are both serving one match bans following recent bookings and skipper Matt Wright and assistant manager Michael Meaker are both away due to work commitments and new signing Dan Sullivan is on holiday.
Matt Villis and Chris McGrath are both set to play a part after injury and Matt Trump, Tom Stone and Shaun Anthony will all play subject to registration formalities being completed in time.
Peacocks manager Leigh Robinson is not impressed with the scheduling of this fixture: “ To be perfectly honest this game comes at the worst possible time for both clubs with the FA Trophy on Saturday but we have to get on with it. We will be without numerous players but it gives other people a chance to come in and show what they can do and also boost the match fitness of some of our players who have either been on the sidelines or generally need the minutes to get up to speed. Of course we'd like to progress in the competition but the priority tomorrow night will be coming home with no injuries ahead of Saturday.”
Town bounced back from their midweek setback to record a 1-0 Evo-Stik League victory over North Leigh at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (30th September). It was a far more solid performance from the Peacocks as they withstood yet more defensive injuries to come out on top in a game of few chances. The only goal of the match came on 14 minutes following a fine save from North Leigh keeper Manny Agboola to deny Matt Wright's header. Two more corners followed and from the second Wright was pushed over in the box and Ben Adelsbury drilled home the penalty convincingly into the top corner. Les Afful then had a second goal disallowed for offside while Lloyd Irish was out quickly at the opposite end to block George Seacole as the half ended in Town's favour. Ryan Brett was unlucky not to extend the lead after the break when his header from Ross Staley's cross hit the underside of the bar but the visitors also threatened when Harlie Price's header was cleared off the line by Afful. The Peacocks could have settled the nerves of the 430 crowd, the highest attendance so far this season, five minutes from time when they were awarded a second penalty after Omar Simpson had been brought down by Agboola. However Adelsbury ballooned the spot kick high over the bar but Town had done enough to claim the points and return to the top of the table following Bristol Manor Farm's defeat to Evesham. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE. Match highlights can also be viewed on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" Fair play to the players for putting together a really good win in difficult circumstances. We were under pressure after midweek, lost another centre back within 15 minutes, had Mark Preece playing through the pain barrier and generally had lots of square pegs in round holes so we're delighted to get the win. People were very quick to jump on our backs after one bad result which happens to all teams at all levels of sport but we showed plenty of character today to respond and we now need to patch up some injuries, put the league to bed for a fortnight and try to win a tough FA Trophy tie next weekend against a good Totton side who narrowly lost here two weeks ago."
Reaction - Ross Staley said:" I think it was an excellent win and thoroughly deserved. The lads all put a lot of effort in to make sure we got a good result after Tuesday's game and as a bonus we are now top of the table again. I know we still have more to come as a team and hopefully we can now push on and reach our full potential!"
After Tuesday’s shock to the system, the Peacocks will be hoping to get back on track in the Evo-Stik League when North Leigh visit the Viridor Stadium tomorrow (30th September), kick-off 3.00pm. The unexpectedly heavy midweek defeat to Yate saw Town surrender their unbeaten start to the league campaign, a result which allowed Bristol Manor Farm to regain top spot on goal difference after their thrashing of Bishops Cleeve. Second placed Town know they can ill afford a repeat of the shoddy defensive display they put in against Yate when they take on the Millers tomorrow who have tended to prove awkward customers over recent seasons. They currently lie in 11th spot after a mixed bag of results so far, having lost to AFC Totton and Shortwood in their last two games but having also beaten Salisbury and drawn with Swindon Supermarine earlier in the season.
Injury problems remain for Town who will again be missing Matt Villis, Owen Irish, Chris McGrath and Joe Charles tomorrow, along with Pierce Mitchell who is absent due to a family bereavement. Welcome news for the Peacocks as Ben Palmer is likely to return after missing the Yate game because of a groin strain.
The Peacocks' unbeaten Evo-Stik League record was emphatically ended when Yate Town triumphed 4-1 at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (26th September). The match seemed to be going to script early on with top of the table Town starting off well against the lowly Bluebells who had yet to win a game this season, Matt Wright heading against the post from a Shane White corner. However the visitors scored with their first chance after 14 minutes when Cameron Ebbutt converted a cross from Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist. As the half progressed the Peacocks initial promise evaporated but they improved again after the break, with Wright being denied by Harvey Rivers from close range. The equaliser arrived on 62 minutes when Mark Preece headed in White's corner but within five minutes Yate had regained the lead courtesy of Ebbutt who took advantage of dithering at the back to slot past Lloyd Irish. Ebbutt missed another great chance when through on goal but claimed his hat trick on 79 minutes when he was gifted the ball from Ryan Brett's back pass and this time made no mistake. The Peacocks huffed and puffed trying to salvage something but a very poor night at the office was capped off a minute from time when Ebbutt lifted a pass over the defence for Leigh-Gilchrist to finish into the far corner. Match report can be viewed HERE while match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE. Goal highlights can also be seen on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" Obviously a very disappointing night and a shock to the system. I can't say that we played terribly as I thought going forward we played pretty well but made horrendous defensive errors that will always cost you games. It's not hard to see why we're struggling defensively, we've got four defenders in the stand injured and even the three we do have are playing with niggles so we've not been able to build up and sort our defensive understanding or cohesion but that doesn't forgive the errors that we made. Going forward we showed good intent and forced Yate into a hell of a lot of last ditch defending which they did remarkably well and of course they took their chances well. We'll go away, lick our wounds and look to improve on Saturday."
Reaction - skipper Matt Wright remarked:" A disappointing result in a game where we started off so bright but goals change games. It completely took the stuffing out of us. Fair play to them, they blocked our shots and defended in numbers but we've got to realise that teams are going to raise their game against us this year, and sit in and counter which Yate did very well. A massive game on Saturday now against North Leigh in which we need to show a reaction. We owe the fans and management a performance and I fully believe that we can and start a run off again."
The Peacocks will hope to make full use of two Evo-Stik League home games in the coming week beginning with the visit of Yate Town to the Viridor Stadium tomorrow evening (26th September), kick-off 7.45pm. Saturday’s win at Bishops Cleeve lifted Town to the summit of the West Division table after gaining maximum points from six of their opening seven fixtures and being one of only two unbeaten sides remaining alongside Swindon Supermarine. Yate meanwhile are languishing one place off the bottom of the table after picking up just three points from their first seven games courtesy of a draw at Kidlington on the opening day and then home points against Mangotsfield and Barnstaple.
The quartet of players who missed the weekend trip to Gloucestershire are again all missing through injury, namely Owen Irish, Matt Villis, Joe Charles and Chris McGrath. Ben Palmer has also joined the list and is very doubtful with a groin strain. New centre back Mark Preece is in line for his home debut. Coach Rob Dray commented:” Saturday was job done, ticking off another awkward game at a difficult place to go. We were professional on Saturday, put the game to bed and gave everybody game time. Tomorrow will be different as Yate are very much in a false position and will climb the table soon enough but hopefully not after tomorrow night! The management buzzwords at the moment are tempo, energy and workrate as we are fully aware that we are a target in every game we play. Our emphasis is on the fundamentals as technically we know we are better than last season but currently we’ll tick one game off at a time, not getting too high as no medals are dished out in September and at the same time not too low as we’re not going to win 5-0 every game!”
The Peacocks are now one of only two unbeaten sides in the Evo-Stik League West Division following their 3-1 win at Bishops Cleeve this afternoon (23rd September). Although not always convincing, it proved a comfortable win for Town who were on top early on, with Ollie Chamberlain driving a shot off the face of the bar. Despite their position at the bottom of the table, Lloyd Irish was called into action several times during the first half, saving efforts from Jack Sklenar and Elliot Kennedy while Cleeve keeper Lewis Clayton foiled Omar Simpson. However Clayton could do nothing about Town's opener on 39 minutes when a Shane White corner wasn't cleared and Simpson was on hand to help in an 18 yard Ben Adelsbury strike. Pierce Mitchell crashed a rocket off the post seconds before the half time whistle but a second goal wasn't long in coming, Simpson again scoring from close range three minutes into the second half after a header from debutant Mark Preece had been blocked. An innocuous back pass from Jacob Sloggett was then missed by Clayton who tried to recover but the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line to Cleeve's anger, handing Town a 3-0 advantage on 54 minutes. The Peacocks threatened to extend their lead but it was Cleeve who had the last word, a poor defensive header from Mitchell going straight to the unmarked Joe Bates who lobbed over Irish with three minutes remaining. With Bristol Manor Farm losing at Slimbridge, Town now sit on top of the table as they look to keep the momentum going on Tuesday when they entertain Yate Town. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A good win and a case of job done at a place where it can be so easy to slip up if you don't turn up with the right attitude. We looked dangerous early on but couldn't find the breakthrough and then lost our way for the rest of the half barring the last five minutes when we scored. After half time we picked it up, the attacking intent was a lot better and we were able to build a lead and see the game out. Plenty of positives today, Mark Preece looked fully in control on his debut and Omar carried on with his great start. I also thought Ollie Chamberlain was fantastic all round today. There's still room for improvement in the type of goals that we seem to be giving away and with our final ball but overall a good day's work and we move on to two home games next week."
Reaction - debutant centre half Mark Preece said": I thought it was a case of job done, the most important thing was picking up three points. As for my first game for the club it was a nice one to come into, we had plenty of possession and in the end a comfortable win. I was very impressed with the boys, I know it wasn't probably the best performance but sometimes these places are not the easiest to come to. I thought on the whole we did a professional job although it was a shame to let in the late goal as it was a poor one to concede. We will have a look back over the goal and analyse where it developed from so we can work on cutting these soft goals out. We have games coming thick and fast now so the main focus is looking ahead to Yate, making sure we recover properly and prepare right as another three points is vital."
Town are on the road tomorrow (23rd September) as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the Evo-Stik League season with a trip to Bishops Cleeve, kick-off 3.00pm. Three wins from three at the Viridor Stadium have been complemented by two away victories, with the only points dropped at Kidlington a fortnight ago when the hosts scored a last minute equaliser, which sees the Peacocks in second spot on goal difference behind Bristol Manor Farm. The Mitres in comparison have endured a poor campaign so far, sitting at the bottom of the table after failing to pick up a single point from their five fixtures to date. AFC Totton and Cinderford Town have both left Kayte Lane with maximum points but Cleeve will be well rested, having not played for two weeks since their loss at Paulton Rovers.
Manager Leigh Robinson again has injury absentees for the journey to Gloucestershire, with Matt Villis, Owen Irish, Chris McGrath and Joe Charles all missing. Striker Olly Mehew meanwhile has returned to Forest Green Rovers after his loan spell was cut short. New defensive signing Mark Preece is in the squad though whilst Ollie Chamberlain is now fit after he played no part in last weekend’s win over Totton. The Peacocks boss commented:” Bishops Cleeve is never an easy place to go and it’s always a competitive game there. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off last week and if we apply ourselves properly we’ll be confident of picking up a decent result.”
The Peacocks are pleased to confirm their second new acquisition in 24 hours after agreeing terms with Dan Sullivan from Tavistock. The 23 year old forward (pictured) really impressed for the Lambs when they knocked Town out of the FA Cup earlier this month and he has already scored ten goals in eleven starts for the Peninsula League club this season. He came up through the youth ranks at Torquay United and made several League appearances for the Gulls before moving on to Truro City and then Bodmin Town until joining Tavistock over the summer.
Speaking on www.tavistockfc.com, Sullivan remarked:” I am really looking forward to the move, playing at a higher level and challenging myself, it’s another stepping stone forward.” Town boss Leigh Robinson said:” Dan was fantastic against us in the FA Cup and ticked so many boxes that we were really keen to get him in. He’s incredibly fit, mobile, very rarely gives the ball away and scores goals too so he’ll complement the other forwards we have perfectly. He’s not available until 10th October due to holiday which we knew about but we’ll look forward to getting him involved in the Somerset Premier Cup tie or should the FA Trophy match v Totton go to a replay.”
As reported on the club’s Twitter account earlier today (21st September), we are pleased to announce the signing of Mark Preece. The 30 year old central defender (pictured) has a vast range of experience at higher league clubs, coming through the youth system at Bristol Rovers before going on to play for Forest Green Rovers, Mansfield Town, Bath City and Chippenham Town amongst others. He signed for Hereford in November 2016 and played against the Peacocks in both Evo-Stik League fixtures last season when the Bulls went on to clinch the South and West Division title. Although he had featured in the opening five games of Hereford’s 2017-18 campaign, it was agreed upon his departure from Edgar Street a fortnight ago after a house move further away from Hereford had made travelling to games and training more difficult.
Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” It’s great to be able to welcome Mark to the club. Sometimes you get lucky when the right player becomes available at the right time and this is one of those occasions. We’ve struggled with defensive injuries all season and we heard Mark had recently left Hereford due to work and travelling commitments meaning he couldn’t commit to them and was available. He’s been there and done it in terms of this division last season and will give us valuable experience and leadership at the back.”
An understrength Town made it three Evo-Stik League wins out of three at the Viridor Stadium when they defeated AFC Totton 2-1 yesterday afternoon (16th September). Victory maintained the Peacocks unbeaten start in the League and was built on a confident first half display which saw them make the breakthrough after 14 minutes, Matt Wright notching his sixth goal of the season when his back header from Pierce Mitchell's long throw-in arced over Totton keeper Shane Murphy. Omar Simpson blasted a decent opportunity over and also stung the hands of Murphy with a forceful drive from the edge of the box whilst Lloyd Irish kept his side's lead intact at the break when he foiled Craig Feeney in a one-on-one. The second half became scrappier, with the Stags equalising on 60 minutes when Feeney raced on to Tobi Adekunle's long punt upfield to lob over the advancing Irish. The Peacocks though restored their lead ten minutes later when Wright latched on to Shane White's ball and was brought down as he tried to round Murphy. Ben Adelsbury kept his nerve to drill home the penalty which concluded the scoring and kept Town in second spot. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE. Goal highlights from the game can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" A good win today in the circumstances. With so many defensive injuries and a threadbare bench the three points would have been welcome however they came along this afternoon, but I thought we played some good football and looked much more dangerous going forward than in previous weeks, particularly in the first half. Totton are a good side this year which, like last week at Kidlington, shows the increase in the overall strength of the division this year which looks like it's going to make it extremely competitive. A really good home debut from Omar today who we were really pleased with. He looked pacy and incisive which we've lacked and caused problems all afternoon. He's still settling in so hopefully we'll see even more from him once he's built up an understanding with the rest of the lads."
Reaction - centre half Arran Pugh commented:" Today felt like a really important win after the disappointment of the last three games; losing in the FA Cup and then conceding a late equaliser against Kidlington last week. Totton were a decent team and a good test for us but the boys played really well in the new formation and we played some great passing football today, especially in the first half. Wrighty is scoring a lot of goals at the moment which is great to see and I thought Les and Omar linked up with him well to provide an attacking threat. We were disappointed to concede a poor goal defensively and had Lloyd to thank for a great save in the first half but the boys showed great character to come back and get the winning goal. We also defended really well in the last 15 minutes under a fair bit of pressure and never really looked like conceding a second which was a real positive and was down to the fact that the whole team dug in and defended together. We look like we will score goals in every game so if we can continue to stay solid and defend as a team I'm sure we can keep ourselves at the top end of the table which is where we all want to be."