Town will have to do it all again with Tiverton Town after the sides battled to a 4-4 draw in the FA Cup Preliminary Round at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (20th August). The Peacocks were pegged back on three occasions in an astonishing game, going ahead as early as the fifth minute when Jordan Rogers converted a penalty following a Steve Kingdon handball but conceding an equaliser to Levi Landricombe who clipped home a Nick Hurst cross seven minutes later. Owen Irish headed the hosts back in front (as pictured) on 24 minutes from a peach of a cross from new signing Pierce Mitchell and things looked rosy for Town when former player Ben Mammola headed into his own net from Matt Wright's centre three minutes later to make it 3-1. However Landricombe appeared to handle as he ran free to pull one back on 36 minutes but no disputing his hat trick strike on 42 minutes, a well-crafted free kick to bring the teams level. Adam Kelly then fired the Peacocks back in front two minutes into first half stoppage time after latching onto an Ollie Chamberlain pass before Tiverton's Rob Norrish was sent off for bringing Kelly down just on the half time whistle, concluding a breathtaking 45 minutes. Town had a few chances to put the tie beyond Tiverton's reach after the break, the best opportunity falling to Wright who blasted over an inviting target, before Hurst rifled home a superb long distance leveller in off the post with twenty minutes remaining. Tiverton might even have snatched a late winner when Tom Bath's shot cannoned off the crossbar but it ended all square and a replay at Ladysmead on Tuesday evening. 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 commented:" A pretty incredible game. I can't remember either keeper making a save and it ends up 4-4. First half we played well but gave bad goals away although fair play to the lad for a great hat trick. Being a goal up and a man up in the second half we should have done better but against the wind we struggled to get out and tired a bit. They scored the most brilliant goal out of nowhere to equalise and from there on it petered out somewhat. We had a couple of moments to put the game to bed at the start of the second half but failed to do so and in cup ties you are always open to something extraordinary like their equaliser. We're frustrated more than disappointed though. We have another crack at it on Tuesday but we have to stop giving soft goals away which has been one of the negatives of the season so far."
The Peacocks have signed Pierce Mitchell from Frome Town ahead of their FA Cup Preliminary Round derby with Tiverton Town at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow (20th August), kick-off 3.00pm. The 20 year old right back or right sided central defender is eligible for the game tomorrow against the Devonians and has ample experience of playing at a higher level. After completing a two year scholarship with Bristol City he went on to join Bristol Rovers for 2014-15, during which time he had loan spells at Bath City and Weston-super-Mare. Mitchell (pictured) then went on to join Truro City last season and played in both FA Cup matches against Town in September before he signed for Frome in the summer but only made one substitute appearance whilst there. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It’s great to have Pierce on board. He had a good season in the National League South last year in a team that had a great winning mentality so we’re hoping he’ll bring that to us. The squad has been stretched since the start of the season with quite a few unavailabilities so we’re delighted to strengthen the squad and also with a player of good pedigree.”
Although the FA Cup encounter tomorrow hardly scores points for adding variety to either side’s fixture list, the tie is sure to be keenly contested for the chance to scoop the tidy sum of £1,925 prize money and to host Cinderford Town in the 1st Qualifying Round on 3rd September. Apart from those considerations, there are also the added ingredients from a fan’s perspective of the historic local rivalry between the clubs and the volume of players involved tomorrow who have featured for both teams. Tiverton have a number of ex-Peacock players in their side, seven of whom were in the starting line-up for the midweek game at home to Yate Town, whilst Town also include several former Tivvy players in their squad for the game which, in the event of a draw, will be settled by a replay at Ladysmead on Tuesday evening. The Peacocks will be missing Matt Villis who completes his three game suspension while summer signings Ryan Batley and Christian Boateng are still away and James Regan is unavailable due to cricketing commitments.
The Peacocks' up and down start to their Evo-Stik League season continued when they were beaten 2-1 at Wimborne Town yesterday evening (16th August). Both teams enjoyed early attempts at goal via Luke Holmes and Jordan Rogers, with Paddy Hester's free kick then being well saved by Lloyd Irish. Wimborne made the breakthrough on 21 minutes, Toby Holmes sprinting free onto his sibling's through ball to find the corner of Irish's net before Wimborne keeper Pat O'Flaherty parried Josh Searle's shot to prevent a quick Town response. The end to end play continued for the rest of the half but frustratingly Town could not make the most of their openings to draw level. The Peacocks suffered a major setback on 63 minutes when Callum Martindale was shown his second yellow card of the night in controversial circumstances and the sense of injustice deepened two minutes later when Toby Holmes added his and Wimborne's second goal of the evening after firing home from a Luke Holmes pass. Matt Wright (pictured) scored his fourth goal in four games to give Town hope after 82 minutes but disappontingly time ran out and left the Peacocks to focus on this Saturday's FA Cup meeting with Tiverton Town at the Viridor Stadium. Match report can be viewed HERE but unfortunately neither of our club photographers were able to attend the game so no match photos currently available.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" We've come away really frustrated as it seemed to be a night where nothing went our way. In an even first half we created more chances but went in at 1-0 down as we weren't clinical enough in the box and gave away a bad goal. In the second half we were just starting to build some momentum when the crazy red card happened which has effectively decided the game. We're losing the game and therefore desperate to get it restarted from their free kick...two balls came onto the pitch three times in a row. Three times our lads have kicked them back off but Callum was deemed to have kicked his off 'too hard' and got a second yellow. Ed Palmer and Lloyd Irish did the same thing after the red card but nothing was done which was my massive complaint. They scored as we were trying to reorganise with ten men but from there I thought we showed great character in dragging ourselves back into the game and on another night could have pinched an equaliser. Things didn't go our way tonight but I saw enough in our team to suggest we'll be more than ok."
It’s the first Evo-Stik League midweek away trip of the season for the Peacocks tomorrow evening (16th August) when they travel to Wimborne Town, kick-off 7.45pm. Town will be aiming to build on their 3-1 victory over Salisbury on Saturday which gave them two wins from their opening three fixtures and leave them in fourth spot. The Dorset outfit have also amassed six points from their first three outings, recording a 4-1 win over Bishops Cleeve and then a 1-0 success at Paulton Rovers. However their unbeaten start was ended on Saturday with a 2-0 defeat at Evesham United so they will be keen to make amends tomorrow against Town who fought out a 2-2 draw at the Cuthbury last season, fighting back from a two goal deficit to salvage a point. The Peacocks squad remains unchanged from the weekend bar the addition of James Regan to the travelling party and the absence of assistant manager Michael Meaker on jury duty. Matt Villis sits out the second of his three game suspension whilst Ryan Batley and Christian Boateng are still away.
After tomorrow’s match, Town will focus on this weekend’s FA Cup Preliminary round tie with Tiverton Town at the Viridor Stadium. In the draw for the 1st Qualifying Round released today, the winners of this tie will host Southern Premier Cinderford Town on Saturday 3rd September.
Town responded to their midweek setback by storming to a 3-1 win over Salisbury at a very warm Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (13th August). It was a well-earned victory for the Peacocks over the division's newcomers and one of the predicted promotion favourites in front of a crowd just shy of 400. Playing against his former club, Adam Kelly proved a thorn in Salisbury's side, coming close with two attempts in the opening stages. Ollie Chamberlain then released Kelly down the right but from his low cross Jordan Rogers blazed over with the goal beckoning. Town finally made the breakthrough after 31 minutes when Matt Wright scored his third goal of the campaign, heading a long clearance from Owen Irish over the advancing Britt. Into the second half, Chamberlain drifted an effort narrowly over and Kelly rifled into the side netting before the visitors drew level on 56 minutes through Tommy Wright who headed home Lewis Benson's corner from close range. Lloyd Irish then pouched a shot from Wright following a thrilling run from the Whites striker before Town regained the lead on 67 minutes when a cross from Rogers was flicked on to Kelly who planted a composed finish past Britt. Salisbury pressure caused some nervy moments for Town as Brandon Mundy and Justin Bennett weren't far off before Mundy blasted well over when well placed. After home frontman Wright had seen a goal disallowed, Craig Veal rounded off the scoring six minutes into stoppage time, chipping over Britt (as pictured) who had seen his goal kick returned by Callum Martindale. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - coach Rob Dray commented:" In all, apart from a last minute goal and a needless red card, we've had a good first week. Things change quickly at this time of the year and yesterday was a quick and good reaction from Tuesday. We showed strong character to beat a side with good resources who will no doubt be in the shakedown, new lads are starting to gel and we did the basics better than they did. Defensively the lads put their bodies on the line which is very important as I believe we will score goals with the options we have in the last third, so in all a good day but it counts for nothing if we can't be professional at Wimborne on Tuesday night and follow up yesterday with another solid performance."
Manager Leigh Robinson said:" “It was a great result, especially after such a disappointment on Tuesday. I thought that, other than maybe a short spell at the start of the second half, we definitely deserved to win the game and created an awful lot of good chances. We should perhaps have finished those chances better, but it was a very welcome three points and now we move on to a hard game on Tuesday night at Wimborne. We had so many chances leading up to their equaliser which was a blow as I think it was one of their first efforts on goal. But the lads responded well at that point and their heads didn’t go down. We asked for a big response after Tuesday and that’s what we got.”
Town will look to get Tuesday night’s result out of their system when they host Salisbury in the Evo-Stik League tomorrow afternoon (13th August), kick-off 3.00pm. The Wiltshire newcomers progressed to the Evo-Stik League after securing the Wessex League title last season and have enjoyed a similar start to the Peacocks, winning their opener but then coming unstuck in midweek. Last Saturday they recorded a 1-0 victory over Evesham United but despite taking the lead were then defeated 4-2 at Winchester City on Wednesday evening. Town meanwhile will be aiming to bounce back after their lacklustre midweek outing against Barnstaple Town.
Salisbury, who are managed by former Birmingham, Leicester and Portsmouth striker Steve Claridge, are a reformed club, having emerged from the ashes of Conference side Salisbury City who were forced to fold due to debt in 2014. Town have crossed swords with the old version of Salisbury on a number of occasions over the years, the most recent being an FA Cup tie in 2003 which the Whites won 4-1 at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium. The scene is set though for a much closer game tomorrow at the Viridor Stadium, with a good crowd anticipated buoyed by the visitors’ sizeable travelling support. Owen Irish is back in the squad after returning from holiday but fellow centre half Matt Villis begins a suspension for his dismissal at Shortwood.
Town got off to a poor start in their home Evo-Stik League season when they lost 1-0 to Barnstaple Town yesterday evening (9th August). The Peacocks were a shadow of the side that won their opening game so convincingly at the weekend and very nearly found themselves trailing in the first minute, Ryan Turner getting to the ball just before Lloyd Irish but lobbing wide of the post. Town's best opening came via Adam Kelly's volley which was saved by Barum keeper Steve Oliver, however it was the visitors who again came close when Jack Jenkins' free kick found its way to the unmarked Niall Heeney at the far post but his effort was blocked. Although having more of the possession after the break, the Peacocks still laboured to create much, the best build-up of the night ending with Kelly firing just over. A Jordan Rogers shot from a narrow angle was headed off the line by Aaron Harper-Penman, with the game seemingly petering out to a stalemate. However a late spurt from Barnstaple saw Irish save from Scott Sharp and then moments later came the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Sharp got free down the right and when his slanted ball across goal wasn't held, fellow sub Dave Pearse gratefully slotted home to cap off an extremely disappointing night at the Viridor Stadium. Match report can be viewed HERE follow while photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A very disappointing and disjointed performance tonight, and the complete opposite to Saturday which has left us scratching our heads a bit. Losing the game was a bit of a kick in the teeth but I don't think we did enough to win it. Credit to Barnstaple though, they defended very well and we gifted them a goal with a catalogue of errors in the last minute which summed up the night really. This is a new team that like anyone will make mistakes and have to experience highs and lows to learn and grow. Hopefully tonight we got a stark reminder of what's required and can move on."
Following Saturday’s terrific opening day win at Shortwood United, the Peacocks now look forward to their first home Evo-Stik League game of the campaign against Barnstaple Town tomorrow evening (9th August), kick-off 7.45pm. The North Devon side, which includes former Town striker James Blake in their ranks, are appearing at Southern League level for the first time, having been promoted after finishing as runners-up in the Western League last season. They began their new experience with a 1-1 draw at home to Yate Town at the weekend. Town still have absentees for tomorrow’s encounter, with Owen Irish and Ryan Batley both on holiday and Christian Boateng away due to a bereavement but James Regan is added to the squad after missing the Shortwood fixture because of cricketing commitments. There is also the possibility of a new signing being involved against Barum but this is very much dependent upon paperwork being processed in time. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It’ll be a tough test tomorrow as Barnstaple will have good momentum after two successive promotions and a decent start at the weekend. That said, we were excellent on Saturday and our players will have gained a lot of confidence from it so if we can channel that in the right way and the crowd get behind us, we’re well capable of picking up another result.”
Town got their Evo-Stik League season off to a successful start with an excellent 3-0 victory at Shortwood United yesterday afternoon (6th August). There was no doubting that the Peacocks thoroughly deserved maximum points following a strong overall display although it took them some time to get firing in the hot afternoon sun. Lloyd Irish made a brilliant tip over save from Nick Peare's drive but generally Town's defence coped well with the home attack. Taunton took the lead on 22 minutes when Callum Martindale's free kick was lofted overhead by Jordan Rogers at the near post and Matt Wright was on hand to power home a header. Shortwood keeper Rhys Lovett made a double block from Rogers and Adam Kelly to keep the score to 1-0 at the break but Town didn't dally in doubling their advantage two minutes into the second half. Irish's long goal kick was controlled by Rogers and Wright took the ball to slot into the left-hand corner of Lovett's net. Shortwood then enjoyed a spell of pressure but it was Town who sealed the points after 61 minutes when Jordan Rogers robbed Nick Hancock on the left and fired home convincingly from a narrow angle. Lovett felt the full force of Wright's volley to stop another goal before Town were reduced to ten men after 74 minutes when Matt Villis was red carded for kicking out. Irish held shots from Jake Lee and Peare as the hosts tried to salvage something but the Peacocks saw out the game without too much ado. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from one of our club photographers Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" It was a really good team performance and a good way to kick things off. With five debutants, away at a tough venue and on a seriously hot afternoon, you'd take any sort of win but to score three and keep a clean sheet was extra pleasing. It's only the first game so absolutely no reason to get carried away but when this team hits top fitness and gels a bit more, we saw today that there is real potential there."
It’s now time to knuckle down and get serious for Town as they commence their Evo-Stik League campaign for 2016-17 with a visit to Shortwood United tomorrow afternoon (6th August), kick-off 3.00pm. A summer of comings and goings at the Viridor Stadium has left the Peacocks with a markedly changed squad for the trip to Gloucestershire, with a number of new faces set to make their debuts at Meadowbank, the hosts’ ground perched on the hill above Nailsworth. Striker Matt Wright, midfielders Adam Kelly and Matt Buse, centre half Ed Palmer and full back Callum Martindale are all in the travelling party along with defender Tom Stone from the Under 18 side who fills in after impressing in the friendly at Shepton Mallet on Monday. However Owen Irish and new signing Ryan Batley are both on holiday, James Regan is contracted to play cricket until the end of August and summer striker recruit Christian Boateng is missing due to a family bereavement.
Having reached the play-offs in the past two seasons, expectation may be high again of a similar achievement this time round or even better but Town’s 15th successive year in the South and West Division or its equivalent is shaping up to be one of the most difficult yet. Apart from consistent challengers such as Evesham United, North Leigh and Tiverton Town, other clubs including Mangotsfield United and Wimborne Town have strengthened whilst the division will also have a more local flavour with relegated Bideford and Paulton Rovers also staking their claim to a quick return to the Premier. The biggest threat though is being touted as coming from phoenix clubs Hereford and Salisbury who have both been promoted to the Southern League and have the infrastructure and fan base to continue their success this season. It will therefore take a massive effort from Town to emulate the feats of last term. Tomorrow’s opponents Shortwood can also be regarded as one of the leading pack of contenders after finishing in 7th last season and have achieved top 10 finishes in three of the four years they have been in the League. Honours were shared in 2015-16, with Shortwood winning at the Viridor and Town snatching a dramatic away victory well into stoppage time in April, the first occasion they had won there in four visits. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” It’s a tricky opening fixture as Shortwood is always a tough place to win. Perennially they are a really committed and hard working side and will have the advantage of having most of their team from last season still there whereas we are introducing many new players and trying to get them to gel. However, the pitch is normally good there in early season so if we play to our maximum we’re confident of getting a result.”