As reported on our Social Media channels earlier today, we are pleased to announce the arrival of two new signings to the Viridor Stadium. Striker Craig Veal and defender Toby Down have joined the Peacocks and would have both been eligible to play in today’s scheduled fixture with Bideford had it beaten the weather. The 27 year old Veal is back for his third spell with Town, having originally played for the Peacocks for two and a half years from 2009 until 2012. Spells followed at Bridgwater Town, Willand Rovers and Bideford before he returned to the Viridor in the summer of 2015 for a further two seasons until leaving for Bideford last summer. 20 year old Down, the son of former Peacocks favourite Ian, has signed permanently from Exeter City where he earnt a full time contract after coming up through the Academy. He can play at centre half but can also adapt to a midfield or left back role, and has spent loan periods at both Dorchester Town and Weymouth where he has spent the first half of this season.
Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” We’re delighted to welcome Vealy and Toby to the club. We’ve had our eyes for a while on freshening the squad for the new year and I’m so pleased to do it with such quality players. Craig is obviously well known to us and the fans and we feel is more suited to this team than when he was with us before and Toby comes to us after a fantastic upbringing at Exeter and Weymouth desperate to prove himself further which I’m sure he will.”
The Peacocks were left without a game on New Year's Day after their scheduled home match against Bideford was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. A 9.00am pitch inspection at the Viridor Stadium confirmed there was no chance of the game going ahead with areas of standing water on the surface and with more rain forecast during the morning. The squad were instead called in for a training session on a local 3G pitch ahead of their next game on Saturday when they travel to AFC Totton. A new date for the Bideford fixture will be announced shortly. Meanwhile the away game at Paulton Rovers which fell victim to the weather on Boxing Day has been rearranged for Tuesday 6th February, kick-off 7.30pm.
The Peacocks will be hoping to beat the weather as they kick off 2018 with a home Evo-Stik League game against Bideford on New Year’s Day, kick-off 3.00pm. Town’s win over Cirencester two days before Christmas kept them well clear at the top of the West Division table but Boxing Day’s trip to Paulton Rovers fell foul of a waterlogged pitch which allowed several of the chasing pack to gain back some ground. Going into the New Year though, Town’s position could hardly be better, nine points clear at the summit and with three games in hand on Bristol Manor Farm who moved up to second courtesy of their win over Paulton yesterday.
Prospects for tomorrow’s fixture at the Viridor Stadium taking place are not looking promising though and a pitch inspection has been arranged for 9.00am in the morning. Chairman and Head Groundsman Kevin Sturmey commented:”Unfortunately, just as the pitch started to dry yesterday, more heavy rain came in overnight again and we have been left with standing water in several areas and the bottom third of the pitch is holding water as it naturally finds the lowest levels. There is very little we can do and while we have had people offering to help which is great, it will do more damage than good if we go on it today. A 9am inspection has been arranged for New Year’s Day but at this stage the chance of playing is pretty remote unless we get no rain whatsoever, 60mph winds and hot sun. Miracles can happen so start saying your prayers Peacocks fans! It's really frustrating as the pitch was in great condition and looks fine from a distance but the five games in 16 days before Christmas have created worn areas which will not be easy to drain and repair until we have a spell of dry weather. We had the pitch verti-drained after the Cinderford match (12th December) but the match against Bognor really caused a lot of problems as the pitch was wrecked afterwards and while we managed to get the pitch in pretty good shape for Cirencester, we were always forcing nature and you can't keep doing that.”
If the game gets the green light, the Peacocks will be hoping to carry on from where they left off in 2017 against the North Devon side who have they already faced once this season, winning on penalties in the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup in early October. Bideford currently lie in ninth spot and are one of a number of clubs well in the hunt for a Play-Off place although December has not proved a particularly fruitful month, with a defeat and three draws from their four games.
Subject to paperwork being processed, Town hope to include two new signings for tomorrow’s match. Shane White begins a three game suspension following his red card against Cirencester while Ben Adelsbury is also banned for one match after he was sent off in the same game. However Ollie Chamberlain is back in the squad after serving his one game ban for his dismissal against Bognor Regis. Striker Omar Simpson meanwhile has left the club and re-signed for Paulton Rovers. We thank Omar for his efforts whilst with us and wish him well for the future.
The Peacocks maintained their twelve point lead at the top of the Evo-Stik League table following a scrappy 2-1 win over Cirencester Town at the Viridor Stadium this afternoon (23rd December). It was far from straightforward for Town who made a great start, building a two goal lead inside the opening quarter hour, but then seemed to lose their way and in the end had to dig in to see out victory after having two men sent off. Dan Sullivan collected Les Afful's flick to drive into the far corner after six minutes to put Town ahead and then Sullivan repaid the compliment, setting up Afful to double the tally nine minutes later. Cirencester were soon back in it on 20 minutes after a defensive slip, Henry Spalding finding Ben Whitehead whose powerful drive could only be helped into the net by Lloyd Irish before Aidan Bennett came close to equalising before the break when he curled narrowly wide. Chances were relatively few in the second half as Town were reduced to nine men in the final 16 minutes. Ben Adelsbury received a second yellow and was dismissed followed by a high challenge from Shane White which produced a straight red seven minutes from time. Whitehead then fired a presentable opportunity over in stoppage time as Town held on to claim victory. Match report can be viewed HERE and match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE. Match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be seen HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" A crazy game of football. You could never have guessed after 20 minutes after looking so dominant that the game would pan out like that but we dug deep in the second half to secure the points. After 10 games we had 25 points which we thought was a really good start so the aim was to get to 50 points after 20 games. That at the time I thought was a tough ask but we've managed to get to 51 which is an amazing effort from the players. We can now draw a line under that and deal with the next 10 games to see if we can keep pushing ahead."
The Peacocks will be seeking to maintain or extend their twelve point buffer at the top of the Evo-Stik League West Division when they host Cirencester Town tomorrow afternoon (23rd December), kick-off 3.00pm. Town have gone eleven league games without defeat and will be eyeing making it a dozen against the Gloucestershire side tomorrow when victory will secure the first double of the season after the Peacocks won 2-0 at the Corinium Stadium on the opening day of the campaign. Cirencester sit in 15th spot and have won three of their 10 away fixtures to date but Town can afford no complacency, the Centurions having comfortably won their last two matches in which Ben Whitehead has scored five goals to put him second in the divisional scoring charts. Dan Sullivan returns for the Peacocks after missing last weekend’s encounter with Bognor Regis.
To help Peacock fans get in the festive mood, admission prices are being reduced for this Saturday’s Evo-Stik League game against Cirencester Town at the Viridor Stadium. Adult charges are being cut from £8 to £5, Concessions from £6 to £3 and Under 19’s from £3 to £1, with Under 14’s free as always. Full season ticket holders will also be able to claim a free copy of the matchday programme from the Club Shop which also has a sale on!
And if anyone is still struggling to buy a Christmas present for a football fan, then look no further! Half season tickets will be available from Saturday which entitles the holder to free admission to the Peacocks’ remaining home games in the Evo-Stik League beginning with the New Year’s Day clash with Bideford. The price for a half season ticket for adults is £64, £48 for Concessions and £24 for Under 19’s. Tickets can be ordered using the application form HERE which can be brought to the ground along with cash or cheque. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
The Evo-Stik League game with Wimborne Town due to have been played at the Viridor Stadium this evening (19th December) was postponed this morning following a pitch inspection. Several areas of the pitch were deemed unfit for play due to a combination of recent rain, overnight frosts and the impact of the weekend game with Bognor Regis. The Wimborne fixture has now been rearranged for Tuesday 23rd January.
The Peacocks resume their Evo-Stik League campaign when Wimborne Town visit the Viridor Stadium tomorrow evening (19th December), kick-off 7.45pm. However the fixture is in serious doubt following the rains and frost of the past week and a pitch inspection will be held in the morning to determine whether the game can go ahead. Chairman and Head Groundsman Kevin Sturmey has provided the following update:"We have arranged a 9am inspection for Tuesday and I would rate the chances as no better than 50/50. We had to force nature last week and use Profile (drainage granules) and sand to soak up water to get Saturday's game on and the pitch has cut up really badly in the wetter areas. Ideally we needed 3 dry days after Saturday with no frost before we could attempt to get the tractor and quadraplay (repairs and tidies the pitch after every game) on it. Unfortunately, we had rain on Sunday and then a frost overnight again so we need to let the pitch dry naturally otherwise Saturday would also be in doubt with any rain. Six games in 16 days was always going to be tough and after the -4 frost last Monday and rain during the Cinderford game it couldn't have been a worse scenario. Without a verti-drain (10 inch spikes over the whole pitch) on Wednesday, Saturday would never have been played; as many people saw we couldn't mark the pitch until Saturday morning as it was still too wet on Friday. We managed to get it on just, but it now means we need more repair time than normal and weather in our favour for more than three days and can not force nature all the time."
Should the match survive, Town will welcome back Dan Sullivan who missed the FA Trophy clash with Bognor Regis on Saturday. Wimborne will provide stiff opposition as Town continue their pursuit of promotion, currently sitting in 5th spot and having won the Team of the Month award for November after four straight victories including an 8-1 romp at Slimbridge but they suffered defeat on Saturday to Didcot, their first reverse in seven league outings.
The Peacocks were denied a history-making 2nd Round Proper appearance in the Buildbase FA Trophy when they suffered a 4-1 defeat to Bognor Regis Town at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (16th December). The scoreline was harsh on Town who were well in the tie until the final ten minutes when the visitors scored three times. The game swung from end to end during the first half although clear opportunities were scarce. Lloyd Irish saved well from Calvin Davies while Dan Lincoln turned aside a Pierce Mitchell drive before the hosts took the lead seven minutes prior to the break, Matt Wright setting up Les Afful to run through and skilfully fire home. Afful and Omar Simpson came close as the Peacocks made a good start to the second half but after Irish had denied Ibra Sekajja in a one-on-one, the Rocks equalised after 57 minutes when Ben Swallow headed in at the near post from Jimmy Muitt’s cross. Both sides continued to have openings, Chad Field missing the best opportunity for the visitors when he shot wide of the target, before Bognor nosed in front nine minutes from time when Sekajja rifled past Irish from the right side of the box after a slick build-up. Ollie Chamberlain was deemed to have been the last man after a challenge on Sekajja and was sent off five minutes from time and Bognor capitalised. Swallow converted Sekajja’s cross on 86 minutes to make it 3-1 and Doug Tuck had acres of space to drill home a 25 yard shot a minute into stoppage time to seal Bognor's passage and leave Town to concentrate on their League campaign. Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE and match report can be viewed HERE while match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked;" We gave it a really good go today but unfortunately came up short. Probably the key part of the game was the first 15 minutes of the second half when we were on top, had a couple of good chances to go 2-0 up but didn’t take them. We then conceded a bad goal from our own corner and from there the game changed as it became extremely open. Being honest, we did gamble more at 1-1 than we normally would have in a cup tie as we were keen to avoid a replay due to further fixture congestion as well as some of the squad being unable to travel long distances midweek. This led to Bognor scoring a second and from there we were wide open on the counter attack whilst down to 10 men which they exploited well. I think 4-1 was a pretty unfair reflection of the game, we were better than that but there is no doubt Bognor were far more clinical on the day. Another great cup run for us though and thoroughly enjoyable for everyone at the club. We can, of course, now concentrate on trying to get promotion which was always priority number one this year."
History is in the offing at the Viridor Stadium when the Peacocks welcome Bognor Regis Town in the 1st Round Proper of the Buildbase FA Trophy tomorrow afternoon (16th December), kick-off 3.00pm. Taunton have reached this stage of the competition (the last 64) twice before in their history, firstly in 1981-82 when they bowed out 5-1 against Hendon and again in the 2003-04 campaign when they lost 3-0 at Worthing in a Third Round encounter in a season when there were no qualifying rounds. Therefore a win tomorrow over the National League South side would signal the furthest Town have ever advanced in the FA Trophy.
They go into the tie on a wave of confidence after a run of eleven league games without defeat and victory over another National League South outfit Concord Rangers in the previous round. However the Peacocks know they will again have to pull out the stops to cause another shock against their higher ranked opponents to secure the £6,000 prize money on offer. Bognor were promoted to the National League for this season after winning the Isthmian Premier Play-Off but have not enjoyed the best of fortunes so far, currently lying one place off the bottom of the table. They have gained just a solitary league win away from home this term, a 2-1 success at St Albans in mid-November which has been followed by two draws and a defeat. However these stats will count for nothing tomorrow when Town know they will have to raise their game significantly from the midweek display against Cinderford to have any chance of progressing. The Rocks of course were fairly recent visitors to the Viridor, coming west two seasons ago for another FA Trophy clash. Despite an early Josh Klein-Davies goal, the Peacocks finished up being well beaten by a 4-1 margin, the start of a run which saw Bognor reach the semi-finals of the competition.
Striker Dan Sullivan is unfortunately missing tomorrow as he is attending a wedding, otherwise the squad remains unchanged from Tuesday. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow and the chance to create another bit of history by reaching the second round of this competition. Over the last year and a bit we’ve done really well in these fixtures as the underdog and hopefully that can continue tomorrow whilst understanding that we’re up against another really good side.”