With the first league game of the new campaign less than a fortnight away, three more players have committed to Town including two new signings. In addition to long serving centre half Owen Irish, striker Christian Boateng and defender Ed Palmer have both put pen to paper for the Peacocks. The 22 year old Boateng (pictured right) has featured as a trialist in all four of Town’s pre-season games to date, having recently moved to Bristol and having had previous Southern League experience with Bishops Cleeve. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” We’ve taken Christian on after a decent trial period. He is very much a work in progress and needs a bit of coaching but he is certainly a threat with his power and pace and will get better and better.”
Palmer, 24 (pictured left), meanwhile who can fulfil a centre half or holding midfielder role began his career with Torquay United before going on to join Weymouth in 2012. He then helped Tiverton Town to the play-offs in 2013-14 and after a brief return to Weymouth he signed for Truro City in October 2014 where he was a vital member of their play-off winning side. After leaving Truro early in 2015-16 he had spells at Bideford and Bodmin Town. Robinson continued:” Ed was brilliant in this league with Tiverton and then with Truro in the league above, helping them win the play-offs two years ago. He had a hard time last year after leaving Truro and lost his fitness a bit so we are working hard with him to get that right but as soon as we do, he’ll be a great asset.”
Jake Cox who had agreed terms with the club over the summer has now opted to join Western League side Bristol Manor Farm instead which will allow him to play more locally following the recent pregnancy of his partner.
The Peacocks maintained their unbeaten record in pre-season with a 1-1 draw at Western League side Street on Friday evening (22nd July). The game proved another good test for Town against a Street side who made a bright start, former Peacock Craig Herrod forcing Lloyd Irish to tip past the post early on. Adam Kelly volleyed just wide for the visitors who found themselves trailing after 41 minutes when another ex-Town player Josh Wadham broke free down the right before squaring to Herrod who picked his spot. Town came mightily close to equalising immediately after when a venomous strike from Brett Trowbridge crashed off the crossbar, with Owen Irish also striking the bar with the follow-up. Last season’s top scorer Jordan Rogers entered the fray for the second half and soon saw a shot saved before Steve Murray slotted wide from a good position for the hosts. Town drew level on the hour when Matt Wright notched his fourth goal of pre-season when he headed home a cross from Josh Searle. Despite further pressure Town couldn’t muster another goal and Lewis Tasker came close to snatching a winner for Street when his free kick whistled just past the post. Match summary can be viewed HERE and photos from assistant club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Friday’s draw followed three victories for Town from their pre-season schedule so far. They began with a 2-0 win at Willand Rovers on Tuesday 12th July, with Matt Wright opening the scoring on 51 minutes and Jordan Rogers firing home a 30 yarder to add a second on 62 minutes. Match summary can be viewed HERE. The Peacocks then secured a 2-1 win at Cheddar on Friday 15th July after going behind to an Adam Jones goal on 38 minutes. Wright headed home the leveller on 74 minutes and another Wright header secured victory with nine minutes remaining. Match summary can be viewed HERE and photos from assistant club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE. The Peacocks repeated this scoreline when they travelled to Cribbs on Tuesday 19th July. Josh Searle put Town ahead on 15 minutes and Callum Mooney quickly added a second two minutes later before Jake Hodgson got Cribbs on the scoresheet on the half hour. Match summary can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographer Tim Norbury can be viewed HERE.
Thanks to Martin Dongworth and Neil White for maintaining website content during the past two weeks.
The Southern League fixtures were published on Friday 15th July. The opening game sees us travel to Shortwood United on Saturday 6 August, the earliest ever start to competitive fixtures at this level – this is followed with home matches against new teams Barnstaple Town and Salisbury and a trip to Wimborne Town.
The FA Cup campaign actually commences with the Extra Preliminary Round on 6 August but we join in the Preliminary Round a fortnight later with a home tie against rivals Tiverton Town – we also have a home tie in the FA Trophy against Larkhall Athletic in October. The League Cup see us travel to Bideford, also in October but we have a bye in the First Round of the Somerset Premier Cup so we will be playing a Second Round tie in November.
Back to the League fixtures and the August Bank Holiday weekend sees us entertain Bridgwater Town on Saturday 27 August with a short trip to Tiverton the following Monday. The return fixture against Tiverton Town is on Boxing Day with Bideford providing our opposition the following Monday in North Devon – there are no fixtures on New Year’s Eve. Finally the Easter games are away to Bridgwater on the Saturday and home to Bideford on Easter Monday – we wind up the following Saturday with one of our longest trips, to Oxfordshire side North Leigh.
All fixtures have now been added to the site or alternativlely to download the fixture list click HERE
On Friday night (22 July) we travel to Street, kick off 7:30pm. This will be the fourth match running against teams in the Toolstation League and none of the other games have been easy.
Street finished seventh in the Premier Division last season and also reached the semi final of the Somerset Premier Cup where they lost 2-1 at home to Larkhall Athletic.
On Tuesday night (19 July) we make our first ever visit to Cribbs, kick off 7:45pm.
The Bristol outfit played in the Gloucestershire County League as Cribbs Friends Life but shortened their name when they were promoted to the Toolstation Western League in 2013. They are about to begin their second season in the Premier Division and made such an impression on the League that they were invited to stage the Les Phillips Cup Final two years ago, an unusual accolade for such a new club.
Cribbs are now managed by Tony Beecham, who had a short spell with the Peacocks a few seasons ago which included a spectacular goal at Bishops Cleeve in the Southern League Cup. Cribbs have made some impressive signings so we are in for a tough match.
Craig Veal returns to the squad after missing Friday’s match at Cheddar due to graduation but skipper Brett Trowbridge is to holiday and defender Matt Villis is doubtful due to a niggle picked up at Cheddar. There will also be a few triallists playing in the game.
Following our successful visit to Willand on Tuesday we now travel to Bowdens Park on Friday, kick off 7:45pm.
We travelled to Cheddar for a friendly way back in 1984 but in fact our reserves played them at about the same time in the Somerset Senior League and more recently our Under 18s played Cheddar in 2005.
The Cheesemen were promoted to the Toolstation Western League in 2012 and last season finished fifth in the First Division. There was talk a few years ago of the club being relocated to accommodate a supermarket but they are now staying put for the time being.
Taunton Town manager Leigh Robinson commented: “We are looking forward to our visit to Cheddar after an enjoyable run out at Willand on Tuesday. Certainly on the ball I never ask or expect too much from the players at the first friendly as it’s more an exercise of getting the rust off after 3 months without a game but we were pleasantly surprised with what the players produced on the night. Hopefully we can take everything one step further forward on Friday in terms of fitness and cohesion.
We are likely to field the same team as Tuesday as there are no injuries or unavailablilities. There are likely to be less trialists as we look to build up the minutes on the pitch for the first team”.
The Peacocks commence their pre-season schedule tomorrow evening (12th July) when they make the short journey to Willand Rovers, kick-off 7.45pm. It is a safe bet that the Devon side have been one of our most common friendly opponents in recent seasons – indeed we first played there under the management of Keith Bowker when Willand were in the Devon and Exeter League. They were one of the founder clubs of the Devon League in 1992 which in 2007 merged with the South Western League to form the South West Peninsula League. After many successful years in the Devon League Willand joined the Western League in 2001 and were promoted to the Premier Division in 2004 where they have played ever since.
The club was managed for many years by former Taunton Town Under 18 player Clive Jones who is now on charge at Wellington – the present manager is Russell Jee who has put together a useful side which will no doubt give us a competitive game. Willand won the Les Phillips Cup in for the second time in 2015 and went to last season’s final at Welton Rovers as holders but were beaten 2-1 by Division One side Hengrove Athletic. They finished sixth in the Premier Division last season.
Following the departure of several players during the close season this will be the first opportunity for fans to see the new Town signings in action. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” As always at this time off year, everyone is really looking forward to the friendlies starting rather than constant training. Tomorrow we will have plenty of first team players involved but also many trialists who we will give a run out to at some point so there will be plenty of chopping and changing as we look to finalise the squad in the next two weeks. As per normal, we won’t be concerned with results in pre-season. As we have experienced players at this level, everyone knows what to expect come 6th August so we’ll use pre-season to get the new players to gel on and off the pitch and get the system nailed down.”
With preparations for the new season gathering pace, Chairman Kevin Sturmey and Manager Leigh Robinson both caught up with us for a Q & A session. To read about their thoughts for 2016-17, please click HERE for the Chairman's outlook and HERE for the Manager's views.
The draws for the FA competitions had a very familiar look about them when they were issued today (8th July). In the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, Town will entertain old rivals Tiverton Town at the Viridor Stadium on Saturday 20th August, with the victors having to wait to find out their next opponents as the draw has not yet been made for the following round. The Peacocks will also host opposition from the South and West Division of the Southern League in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy in the shape of Larkhall Athletic who visit on Saturday 8th October. The winners of this tie will have home advantage in the 1st Round Qualifying on Saturday 29th October against either Slimbridge or Swindon Supermarine (two more sides from our division!) Taunton Town Under 18’s did not enjoy the luck of a home draw but instead will have to travel to either Radstock Town or Brislington in the 1st Round Qualifying of the FA Youth Cup during week commencing 19th September.
Town have fixed up another friendly ahead of the new season which begins in four weeks’ time. Peninsula League champions Bodmin Town will travel to the Viridor Stadium on Friday 29th July, kick-off 7.45pm. The game will be the Peacocks’ second home warm-up game, coming on the heels of their meeting with an Exeter City XI three days earlier. It is hoped to arrange one more home friendly in the week before the big kick off on 6th August.