As reported on our Social Media channels yesterday, we are pleased to welcome Keith Emmerson to the club. The vastly experienced and versatile 34 year old, who is in the Armed Forces, can play in defence and midfield and joins Town from Farnborough following his departure from the Southern Premier club last week. He spent several years at Poole Town where he helped the Dorset side win the South & West Division title in 2012-13, playing in both games against the Peacocks that season, and has also played for the Army team as well as several other clubs including Sherborne Town and Camberley Town. Emmerson will be involved in tomorrow’s game at Barnstaple.
Photo courtesy of Don Blandford.
Town got back to winning ways in the Evo-Stik League when they beat Mangotsfield United 1-0 yesterday evening (16th January). The victory stretches the Peacocks' advantage at the top of the West Division table to eight points over second placed Salisbury with a game in hand. After a positive start, Town notched the only goal of the evening after 12 minutes when Dan Sullivan's half volley hit the top corner over a stranded George Dorrington. Over the remainder of the game Town had a number of opportunities to increase their tally, with Chris McGrath's header hitting the crossbar, but Dorrington and the home defence stood firm. Match report can be viewed HERE and match highlights on Peacocks TV can be viewed HERE. Unfortunately neither of our club photographers were able to attend the game
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A good three points in a pretty forgettable game in tricky conditions is probably the best way to sum it up. We knew it would be a bit of a battle but we applied ourselves pretty well throughout and really should have scored more than once but for some good saves from their keeper and some excellent last ditch defending. However it came three points was a must tonight after a bit of a slip on Saturday (despite the excellent comeback) plus the fact it was a game in hand."
Town will hope to bounce back from Saturday’s below par performance when they travel to Mangotsfield United for another Evo-Stik League game tomorrow evening (16th January), kick-off 7.45pm. The Peacocks looked to be heading for a surprise defeat against Shortwood at the weekend when they found themselves 3-0 down with less than 15 minutes to play but they kept plugging away to salvage a point in a thrilling final few minutes. That result coupled with Salisbury’s win over North Leigh saw Town’s cushion cut to five points at the top but they still have two games in hand and will be eager to capitalise on one of them tomorrow in a fixture which has been rescheduled from its original date last month due to the Peacocks’ involvement in the FA Trophy.
Mangotsfield lie in a rather unfamiliar position, currently occupying 19th spot following a run of only three wins from their last 15 league outings. Their most recent two games highlights their inconsistency, a 2-1 victory over third placed Bristol Manor Farm followed by a 4-0 thumping at bottom side Bishops Cleeve on Saturday. Shane White sits out the final game of his three match ban while Ross Staley plays his last game before going to Australia to coach and play for eight months.
The Peacocks fought back from a seemingly irretrievable position to draw 3-3 with Shortwood United in the Evo-Stik League yesterday afternoon (13th January). All had appeared lost after an ineffective Town found themselves 3-0 down with less than 15 minutes to play but they turned the game around to eventually draw level well into injury time. Uncharacteristically shoddy defending saw Jordan Morris cut through to fire the visitors in front after 14 minutes but Town nearly equalised immediately when Ollie Chamberlain's shot hit the bar. More poor defending allowed Morris to square the ball to Joe White to tap into an open goal on 28 minutes to give Shortwood a two goal lead at the break. Despite dominating possession in the second half Town lacked any cutting edge and when Will Hawes turned to shoot home inside the post for Shortwood's third on 76 minutes it looked curtains for the Peacocks. However Ross Staley pulled one back two minutes later with a floated cross-shot in from the right before Dan Sullivan netted from close range a minute from time to reduce the deficit further. A penalty was then awarded for a Rich Thwaite handball five minutes into stoppage time and after the Shortwood defender had been sent off, Sullivan kept his cool to fire home the spot kick and rescue a point. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Tim Norbury can be viewed HERE. Match highlights can also be seen on Peacocks TV HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:"A crazy game of football but a thrilling finish for the people watching. To be honest for most of the game we were well below our best. We defended horribly for their three goals and were very wasteful in front of goal, missing the target on numerous occasions which is most unlike us. Fair play to the players though. To show that never say die attitude at 3-0 down with 12 mins to go and nick a point is a hell of an effort and shows what a great group we have. However we must improve significantly on that display on Tuesday and moving forwards, as being that flimsy in both boxes as we were for 80 minutes will always cost any team points."
The Peacocks seek to maintain their cushion at the top of the Evo-Stik League table when they entertain Shortwood United at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (13th January), kick-off 3.00pm. Last weekend’s win at AFC Totton secured Town’s 13th league game without defeat and ensured their seven point advantage over second spot remained and they will hope for another three point haul tomorrow against 18th place Shortwood who they beat 2-1 in the return fixture back in August courtesy of goals from Ryan Brett and Pierce Mitchell.
Shortwood come into the game looking to bounce back from their 6-1 pounding at Cirencester in midweek, their seventh league game without a win since beating Swindon Supermarine in early December. Town will have Ben Adelsbury available after serving his one game ban but Shane White remains suspended for another two matches. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” Hopefully tomorrow we can follow up on a good win at Totton last week. Shortwood were good against us earlier in the season though and we found home games against similar placed teams Cinderford and Cirencester very trick recently so we know we need to get to a good level of performance to win.”
The Peacocks regretfully had to withdraw from their BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup game at Frome Town this evening (10th January) due to being unable to raise a side. After attempts to secure a sufficient number of players to play had failed, opponents Frome and the Southern League were informed that we would not be able to fulfil tonight's fixture. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:" It's unfortunate that we had to pull out of tonight but completely unavoidable. We have numerous first team players either ill, injured or working away. In addition to this, many of the development players that we have used in previous rounds aren't available due to similar issues, and with the game being on a Wednesday and not a Tuesday, we can't use players from the local colleges as per previous rounds as they have Wednesday afternoon matches. I refuse to put out a side lacking in numbers which could make the game a farce and subsequently risk the fitness of our few remaining first team players in more important games to come. We wish to apologise to Frome and all concerned but we had no choice and wish them the best in the next round."
The Peacocks are in BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup action tomorrow evening (10th January) when they travel to Frome Town, kick-off 7.45pm. The Southern League cup competition is now at the 3rd Round stage, with Town having beaten Bideford on penalties and then Barnstaple Town to progress this far. Premier Division Frome are lying in 11th place at present and have experienced some up and down results in recent weeks, with a win often followed by a defeat and vice versa. Their most recent outing saw them win 2-1 at Biggleswade Town on Saturday. As has been the case this season, the Peacocks will field a development side, with several changes from the team that made it 13 league games unbeaten at the weekend with victory at AFC Totton.
The Peacocks scooped their third Team of the Month award this season for the Evo-Stik League South, West Division when they were named as the winners for December today. The accolade is given to the club with the best average points during the month and with Town winning five of their six fixtures in December and drawing the other, their record saw them come out on top again to add to the monthly awards already won for August and October. Congratulations to all the players and management!
The Peacocks returned to Evo-Stik League action after a fortnight's break with a resounding 4-0 victory at AFC Totton this afternoon (6th January). Town never looked back after taking the lead on nine minutes when Ross Staley flicked Dan Sullivan's cross past Shane Murphy and Staley then added a second ten minutes before half time, steering home Matt Buse's cross from the right. The contest was effectively over six minutes into the second half after Town had fired in two further goals. Ollie Chamberlain's effort fell for Matt Wright to convert from close range on 47 minutes and Staley notched his hat trick four minutes later when he tucked in Sullivan's centre. Match highlights can be viewed on Peacocks TV HERE and match report can be viewed HERE. Unfortunately neither of our club photographers were able to attend the game although match photos can be found on AFC Totton's club photographer Keith Fuller's site HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A really good win in the circumstances, having not played for two weeks which is most unusual to us. Massive credit to the players who didn’t let it affect them and came out looking as sharp as ever. Football matches are won in both penalty areas, we were brilliant at that today and played some good football at times too on a heavy pitch. A really good all-round team performance and plenty of good individual ones too but for me Ryan Brett was ridiculously good today and controlled the game with his passing, pressing and decision making. We’re looking good now with a strong team today and two excellent players still to come back in from suspension so hopefully the competition for places added to the huge will to win that we have will see us continue to accumulate points and keep inching towards success."
Reaction - hat trick man Ross Staley said:" It was a great victory after what seemed like a long break. For some it was a well needed rest which showed yesterday. It was a great all-round team performance, our shape was amazing, we looked sharp and also had some really nice passages of play against a good side. Of course I was pleased to get three goals which is a good achievement for me at wingback but the most important thing is another three points and one game closer to promotion."
After a weather-enforced break of two weeks, the Peacocks will hope to return to Evo-Stik League action with a trip to AFC Totton tomorrow (6th January), kick-off 3.00pm. Town last played two days before Christmas when they edged a narrow win over Cirencester to keep their healthy lead at the top of the table. Since then successive games against Paulton Rovers and Bideford have been rained off which has allowed second placed Salisbury to close the gap to seven points, although Town have games in hand on them plus all the leading pack. It promises to be another tough encounter tomorrow following three tight games between the sides already this season. The Peacocks will be seeking a league double after a 2-1 victory over the Stags at the Viridor Stadium in September while the teams also met in the Buildbase FA Trophy several weeks later which saw Town win through 2-1 in a replay at the Testwood Stadium courtesy of a Ross Staley goal in extra time. Totton are sitting in 7th spot and have suffered only one defeat in their last ten league games, a Boxing Day reverse to Salisbury which was only their second league loss on home soil this season.
Ben Adelsbury and Shane White both miss tomorrow’s fixture due to suspension following their red cards against Cirencester but Ollie Chamberlain returns after serving his one game ban. New signings Toby Down and Craig Veal are also in the squad. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” We’re expecting a tough game at Totton. We’ve had three close games against them so we know what they can do. The players are desperate to get playing again after this enforced break and hopefully we can get a result at a place that has been a good hunting ground for us over the last few years.”
The Totton pitch is currently playable but will be assessed again first thing in the morning in the event of any further rain. Any announcements will be made on our usual SM channels.