After two successive Evo-Stik League draws, the Peacocks will be aiming to get the winning habit back when they travel to Barnstaple Town tomorrow evening (27th February), kick-off 7.45pm. Despite not losing, Town have gone off the boil in their last few matches, with the single point hauls from Bideford and North Leigh being the first time this season that they have played more than one league game without a victory. They will be hoping to put that right and extend their unbeaten league run to 23 games at Mill Road tomorrow against another side at the wrong end of the table. Although Barum occupy 21st spot though, they have lost only one of their last five league fixtures which has included a 1-0 win at second placed Salisbury and most recently a creditable 1-1 draw at Winchester on Saturday. After the disappointing display at North Leigh, Town will be well aware they need to up their game to maintain their healthy lead at the top of the table which could be stretched to 14 points with a win tomorrow. The Peacocks have already played Barnstaple twice this campaign, following up a 4-2 away win in the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup in November with a 3-0 victory at the Viridor Stadium in the league a month later.
Pierce Mitchell remains on the injured list so misses the trip and he has been joined by Keith Emmerson who sustained a foot injury in the North Leigh game. Tom Stone who is dual registered with Bridgwater has been drafted back into the squad as the Robins do not play until Thursday. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It’s another important game for us and it’s crucial that we react after Saturday. No doubt it’ll be freezing cold with the weather this week so we need to go and apply ourselves properly in order to be in with a shout of getting a good result.”
The Peacocks failed to win for the second successive game after they drew 1-1 at North Leigh in the Evo-Stik League yesterday afternoon (24th February). It was a substandard performance from Town against the struggling Millers who were forced to include several members of their development squad but still picked up their first point in seven games. Lloyd Irish denied George Seacole after he had run clear but Town got on top playing down the slope and took the lead on the quarter hour when Craig Veal latched onto a ricochet off Shane White to prod home past Ross Grimshaw. Further pressure yielded no more goals before Town had a let-off just before half time when Seacole's header hit the bar. Matt Wright fired a decent chance over before the hosts drew level after 56 minutes when Declan Sheppard slotted past Irish following poor defending from a corner. Grimshaw spilled Ryan Brett's shot onto a post and Wright's header came back off the bar from Veal's cross as Town pressed to try and retake the lead but sadly their attacks lacked any punch and precision and they had to settle for a point. With Salisbury winning at Bishops Cleeve, the Peacocks' lead at the top has been reduced to eleven points so they will hope to get back on track when they travel to Barnstaple Town on Tuesday evening. Match report can be viewed HERE and match highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE while match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" It won't seem like it on the face of it but that was our worst league result of the season today. We were wasteful in front of goal, failed to connect with a ridiculous amount of crosses and set pieces and conceded a really bad goal too. Just as on Tuesday night we didn't get the crucial second goal whilst on top and again it has cost us. Again like Tuesday the woodwork wasn't our friend and we've been a bit unlucky in that regard but with the pressure we had we should have wrapped this game up easily. A really frustrating day and we must rediscover our sharpness in front of goal soon as it's held us back for a few weeks now, not just today."
Town will be aiming for an improved display when they make the journey to North Leigh tomorrow (24th February), kick-off 3.00pm. A below-par performance in midweek saw them drop points to Bideford which stretched the Peacocks’ unbeaten run to 21 games and opened up a 13 point lead over second placed Salisbury with equal games now played. Tomorrow’s trip to Oxfordshire gives Town the opportunity to maintain their healthy advantage against a side who find themselves at the wrong end of the table. In recent seasons North Leigh have challenged for the play-offs but this time around they are struggling in 19th spot after a terrible run of form which has seen them pick up only one point from their last ten fixtures, a home draw with Slimbridge in their opening game of the year. Since then they have lost six on the spin, their most recent outing ending in a 5-0 defeat at Wimborne last Saturday. However Town will have to reverse the trend of the past three seasons when they have suffered defeats at Eynsham Park.
The Peacocks won the meeting between the sides earlier in the campaign courtesy of a Ben Adelsbury penalty at the Viridor Stadium and he will be back in the reckoning tomorrow after sitting on the bench in midweek due to an ankle problem. Les Afful also returns to the squad after being away in midweek but Pierce Mitchell is still out with a groin strain while centre half Tom Stone is playing a few games for Bridgwater Town but is on 24 hour recall. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” I’ve never had an easy game against North Leigh and tomorrow will be no different. However if we click going forward which we haven’t done really in the last two games we’ll be confident of getting a result and hopefully another step towards the end of season goal.”
The Peacocks are now 21 Evo-Stik League games unbeaten following their 1-1 draw with Bideford at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (20th February). However, the result was disappointing from Town's perspective given the number of opportunities not taken in front of goal while also hitting the wood work twice. The evening started off well, with Craig Veal and Keith Emmerson both coming close before Dan Sullivan got on the end of Veal's flick to lob over Steve Oliver to put Town ahead after 18 minutes. Matt Wright's header then crashed off the post and Shane White had a goal disallowed as the hosts deservedly led at the break despite not being at their best. Wright saw another header hit the bar while White and Sullivan both missed chances and they were made to rue that wastefulness when the visitors were gifted a way back into the game when Lloyd Irish brought down Kevin Squire and Ben Seymour fired home the penalty after 68 minutes. Neither side showed sufficient quality to conjure up a winner, leaving it all square and extending the Peacocks' lead at the top to 13 points ahead of Saturday's trip to North Leigh. Match report can be viewed HERE and match highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE while match photos from Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - with manager Leigh Robinson suffering from tonsillitis and watching from the terraces, coach Rob Dray commented: "Another good point gained last night against a good Bideford side who will be in the play-off shake up. The squad kicked in a bit with Benno and Pierce injured and Les away in what was essentially a derby while there is a lot of familiarity on both sides which in itself makes it even more competitive. The boys were very disappointed afterwards,with Wrizz hitting the bar twice and another huge penalty shout not given. We all felt with the amount of those chances that we should have done better but sometimes we won’t be able to win every game we play, other teams will always raise their game when they come to the Viridor against the league leaders in front of a proper crowd on a proper surface! And as for the refereeing display last night , that’s enough said about that ..... So 21 unbeaten, four points from six against two of the better sides and if as a management team we are honest we were not at our best, but these lads dig deep with the pressure and expectation of winning every game which in itself is a different challenge. Support has been phenomenal again and Kev and Si have prepared another great surface for us. On to the next one, keep ticking them off to where we want to be in a few weeks time".
With only two other top ten teams active in midweek, the Peacocks will hope to take advantage and further extend their lead at the summit of the Evo-Stik League table when they host Bideford at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow evening (20th February), kick-off 7.45pm. Saturday’s win over Swindon Supermarine was Town’s 20th consecutive league game undefeated and they will be in no mood to see their run ended with the visit of the Robins tomorrow, a fixture which was originally scheduled for New Year’s Day until falling foul of a waterlogged pitch. Although lying in 11th place, Bideford will provide stiff opposition as they have played fewer matches than any other side in the league and with their games in hand are in a position to challenge for at least a play-off spot. Their six game unbeaten run in the league came to an end at the weekend when they lost 2-1 at Cirencester so they will be keen to bounce back and try to end Town’s successful streak.
The Peacocks will be forced into making changes as Pierce Mitchell is out with a groin strain he suffered in the Supermarine game while Saturday’s Man of the Match Ben Adelsbury is very doubtful with an ankle injury. Les Afful is also missing as he is away. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It should be a decent game tomorrow and a big test for us. Bideford have plenty of good players and lots of know-how while both sets of players know each other really well.”
A second half strike from Matt Buse was sufficient to steer the Peacocks to a 1-0 Evo-Stik League victory over Swindon Supermarine yesterday afternoon (17th February). It proved a hard-fought win for Town against tricky opponents as they racked up their 20th successive league game without defeat. There were few opportunities at either end in a goalless first half. Ollie Chamberlain's effort from Joel Randall's cross was chalked out as it was deemed the ball had gone out and Dan Sullivan volleyed over for Town while Supermarine's Callum Parsons prodded a chance wide just before the break. Chamberlain hit the bar when play resumed and Josh Hill pulled off a fine save to keep out Ben Adelsbury’s free kick as Town pressed for the breakthrough which eventually came after 74 minutes when Buse fired in at the near post from Sullivan’s cross. Lloyd Irish tipped over an inswinging Michael Hopkins free kick as the visitors upped the pressure in search of an equaliser but the Peacocks held firm for another important win which maintained their 12 point lead at the summit. Match report can be viewed HERE and match highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE while match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" Not pretty but a great win nonetheless. The ability of this team to find a way to get over the line in games is remarkable and that was evident again today. It wasn't the prettiest or most exciting of games, two good teams cancelling each other out somewhat, but when the chance came we took it to earn another valuable three points. Great support today from another really good-sized crowd and hopefully that will keep building in the next two months."
After the Wimborne wash-out in midweek, the Peacocks will hope for better luck when they entertain Swindon Supermarine in the Evo-Stik League tomorrow afternoon (17th February), kick-off 3.00pm. Goals from Matt Wright, Ollie Chamberlain and Dan Sullivan steered Town to a 3-2 victory in the earlier fixture between the sides at the Webbswood Stadium in October, a second successive league win at the time which has since snowballed into a 19 game unbeaten run and generated a 12 point advantage at the top of the table. Matches against Supermarine tend to be testing though and tomorrow’s meeting promises to be no different with the 9th placed Swindon outfit amongst a batch of clubs chasing a play-off place, and with only three points separating themselves and the six teams above them they will be on the hunt for a positive result. A somewhat heavy reverse at home to Bideford last month has been followed by a four game spell unbeaten for Supermarine who have picked up points against promotion rivals Bristol Manor Farm, Evesham and Didcot whilst winning at North Leigh.
The Peacocks name an unchanged squad from last weekend’s game at Yate. Although the Viridor Stadium pitch is still quite wet, it has been sanded today and as long as the weather forecast is accurate there should be no issues about tomorrow’s game going ahead.
The weather put paid yet again to the Peacocks' Evo-Stik League game with Wimborne Town this evening (13th February). Overnight rain which continued into this morning left 90% of the Viridor Stadium pitch waterlogged and an inspection at lunchtime confirmed the inevitable which was the case across the league with nine of the ten scheduled games postponed. A new date for this fixture will be announced shortly while Town will hope for better weather in the next few days to allow Saturday's home game with Swindon Supermarine to go ahead.
Hopefully it will be fourth time lucky when the Peacocks entertain Wimborne Town at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow evening (13th February), kick-off 7.45pm. The fixture has so far been postponed on three occasions, the first due to Town’s involvement in the Buildbase FA Trophy while the other two were down to a waterlogged pitch. The weekend win at Yate Town saw the Peacocks extend their lead at the top of the table to twelve points and with Salisbury not playing in midweek, they have the opportunity to build the buffer further tomorrow. However it promises to be another testing encounter as the Dorset club sit in 8th spot and are among a host of clubs in contention for at least a play-off place. After suffering three successive defeats at the start of the year, they have bounced back with two wins and a draw from their last three matches, with two very late goals from Bideford only denying them a third win. The Magpies also possess Toby Holmes who lies second in the divisional scoring charts so Town will need to be on their game to achieve a positive result. Confidence is high in the Peacock camp though after a run of 19 league games without defeat and they again name the same squad that were on duty at Yate on Saturday.
A weather warning has been issued for overnight, with several hours of heavy rain forecast followed by a dry day. Although the pitch has been sanded today, there are still some wet areas so there will be a precautionary check tomorrow morning.
First half goals from Craig Veal and Shane White steered the Peacocks to a solid 2-0 Evo-Stik League victory at Yate Town yesterday afternoon (10th February). Apart from being Town's 19th consecutive league game without defeat, the win also maintained their superb unbeaten record on the road this season in all competitions. A drizzly day at Lodge Road saw the visitors take an 11th minute lead when Shane White headed goalwards from Ryan Brett's corner and the ball hit the net via Craig Veal. White was unlucky not to extend Town's lead when he had another header from a Brett flag kick deflect onto the bar off Yate defender Matt Tanner but there was no mistake three minutes before the interval when Town added a second following neat play down the right, Dan Sullivan crossing for White to fire a fantastic volley over Harvey Rivers from the edge of the box. The second half was somewhat uneventful as Town remained relatively untroubled, Rivers making a terrific reaction save to prevent Veal from adding a third while Lloyd Irish was not really tested at the other end. With Salisbury's game postponed, the Peacocks now sit 12 points clear at the top of the table which they will hope to consolidate when Wimborne Town visit the Viridor Stadium on Tuesday evening. Match highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE while match report can be seen HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" Another good away win to continue our excellent away record. It was a pretty forgettable game with few chances but I thought we were always in control. As Yate are so far the only team to beat us in the league we were determined to have the final word and in actual fact we owe them a lot of thanks as them beating us in September is the best thing that happened to us. Pleased enough to have got four points from two tricky away games this week especially as today basically became a game in hand. Another big step forwards and hopefully more to come in the rest of this busy month."