The Peacocks will be looking to avenge their only Evo-Stik League defeat of the season when they travel to Yate Town tomorrow afternoon (10th February), kick-off 3.00pm. It was back in late September that Town were on the end of an unexpected 4-1 reverse at the Viridor Stadium but since then they have embarked on an 18 game unbeaten league run including 14 victories which now sees them nine points clear at the top of the table and with at least two games in hand on their nearest rivals. After losing to Bristol Manor Farm at the start of December, Yate went seven games undefeated which included wins over play-off chasers Bideford and Evesham until they were dismissed 6-2 at Salisbury last weekend. The Bluebells, who lie in 11th spot, will therefore have the incentive to bounce back tomorrow as they are still well in the hunt to claim a play-off place themselves.
Town have a couple of major doubts for tomorrow’s match. Ollie Chamberlain has a hamstring strain which was the reason he did not start the midweek game at Paulton while skipper Matt Wright is suffering from a groin strain. Chris McGrath is also away. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” It’s always a good, open game up at Yate due to the size of the pitch. With it being fairly local, hopefully our fans will turn up in numbers and make loads of noise like they did at places like Larkhall, Totton and Evesham over recent months and really roar the team on.”
The Peacocks hit back from a two goal deficit to draw 2-2 at Paulton Rovers in the Evo-Stik League yesterday evening (6th February). The result maintains Town's unbeaten record away from home this season and was testament to the spirit of a side which were not at their best in a game played in very testing conditions. The hosts made a bright start and took the lead after just six minutes when Josh Morgan-Williams was brought down in the area and Dale Evans scored the resultant penalty. Another former Peacock Omar Simpson then volleyed home a second goal for Paulton after 12 minutes, leaving Town with it all to do especially after a couple of great chances went begging. Town were on top playing down the slope in the second half and eventually pulled a goal back on 73 minutes when Keith Emmerson who had been pushed up front netted with a deflected left foot shot from 20 yards. Emmerson then equalised two minutes later, firing home at the far post after Shane White's mishit shot had rebounded off a defender to him. Despite constant pressure towards the end Town were unable to chisel out a winner but their point saw them extend their lead at the top of the table to nine points after Salisbury lost at Didcot. 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 viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson observed:" A good point gained in very tricky conditions tonight and another brilliant comeback. These lads really do not know when they’re beaten and their ability to fight to the end is magnificent as shown again tonight. We started badly particularly defensively and Paulton came out of the traps really fast and made things difficult for us. We gradually grew into the game and missed a couple of good chances in the first half that could have turned the game fully in our favour but playing down the slope second half we knew it would be a different game. Fair play to Keith, normally when you throw a centre back up front whilst chasing a game you are expecting them to score by perhaps getting on the end of headers but he showed how capable he is on the floor too with two good finishes to earn us a deserved point in a blood and guts game."
The Peacocks begin a run of four successive Tuesday night Evo-Stik League games with a trip to Paulton Rovers tomorrow evening (6th February), kick-off 7.30pm. Saturday’s win over Bishops Cleeve preserved Town’s eight point advantage at the top of the West Division table and they will hope to consolidate further with a positive result at Winterfield Road in a rearranged fixture which was postponed on Boxing Day due to a waterlogged pitch. Paulton lie in 16th spot, averaging a point a game from their 26 matches played to date. Similar to Town, they have also only played five games since Christmas which has seen them record just one victory, at AFC Totton, and three defeats. The return fixture at the Viridor Stadium ended in a 3-0 victory for the Peacocks on August Bank Holiday Monday.
Town name the same squad as Saturday with the addition of new signing Josh Nelmes and Exeter City youngster Joel Randall who is involved for the first time after being unavailable for the last two matches due to commitments with his parent club. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” It’s the start of an important week with two tricky away games that will certainly test us. Confidence and spirit is high though so we’re in a good place.”
Taunton supporters who are travelling to the game tomorrow evening should be aware that the A39 at Walton is closed for resurfacing works. A diversion is in place at the Pipers Inn junction which will bring you back onto the A39 to the north of Street.
As reported on our Social Media channels this evening, we are pleased to announce the signing of Josh Nelmes from Mangotsfield United. The 23 year old central defender previously spent several seasons at his home town club Cinderford Town who he captained and also helped win promotion to the Southern Premier two seasons ago. He joined Mangotsfield last September and has also had spells at Cheltenham Town and Lydney Town. Subject to paperwork being processed, he should be involved in our game at Paulton Rovers tomorrow evening. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” He’s a terrific out and out defender who was magnificent when Cinderford won the league two years ago. We have plenty of players in this position now but I am keen to move Shane (White) into midfield as we’re asking a lot of our midfield trio at the moment, especially with so many games coming up. Josh has been signed firstly because we like him and secondly to free up some other players that we may need to play elsewhere.”
The Peacocks extended their undefeated Evo-Stik League run to 17 games after beating Bishops Cleeve 4-0 at a chilly Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (3rd February). On another heavy pitch, Town did the necessary against the division's bottom side who rarely threatened. The hosts took the lead after 18 minutes when Matt Wright looped a header over Cleeve keeper Sam Gilder after Ryan Brett's corner had been flicked up. Wright was also involved in Town's second goal eight minutes before half time, being pulled down by Ben Tunnicliff to earn a penalty which Dan Sullivan comfortably despatched. The second half was only two minutes in when the Peacocks were awarded another spot kick when Wright was again hauled down and Sullivan duly scored his second and Town's third of the afternoon. Pierce Mitchell completed the scoring after 71 minutes, taking Matt Buse's pass in his stride before steering home past Gilder. Further chances for Town came either side of the final goal as they eased to victory over the visitors who finished the game with ten men after Joe Bates was sent off three minutes from time. The win keeps Town eight points clear at the top of the table as they hope to keep the momentum going when they go to Paulton Rovers on Tuesday evening. Match report can be viewed HERE and match highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE. Match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A convincing win on another heavy pitch. I think everyone involved in non-league football right now is fed up of the wet weather and just want the pitches to start drying out. We were functional without being particularly flamboyant in the first half today but what pleased me most is how we kept our foot on the pedal straight after half time whereas earlier in the season we often started the second period really badly and let teams back in the game. Second half attacking the slightly drier top end we played some good football and created a lot of chances. A good week with two home wins, plenty of goals, two good crowds and we now move on to two testing away games next week."
Reaction - goalkeeper Lloyd Irish, making his 250th Peacocks' appearance,said:" Another important three points for us against another potential banana skin. Against Shortwood we saw how easy it is to slip up against the hard working teams near the bottom of the league and if you don't take your chances it can get frustrating but Wrighty put in a great captain's performance yesterday and got us off the mark early. We've got a good team spirit now and although we haven't been at our best recently we've been getting good results and taking our chances as well as defending well and today was another example of that. Kev and Simon did a great job getting the game on again; hopefully the weather improves now as the heavy pitches must be taking it out of the outfield players' legs. It was nice for them to have a midweek break last week but as a keeper you don't feel the heavy pitch. Every game is important now and we've got to make sure we keep picking up the points to get us closer to where we want to be. It was nice to get a clean sheet on my 250th game too, although the most important thing is obviously getting the three points."
It’s top versus bottom in the Evo-Stik League tomorrow (3rd February) when the Peacocks welcome Bishops Cleeve to the Viridor Stadium, kick-off 3.00pm. Last weekend’s win over Didcot stretched Town’s lead at the summit to eight points with a minimum of two games in hand on all the top ten sides bar Bideford. Bishops Cleeve meanwhile have struggled this campaign, having won just three times in 25 league outings to leave them six points adrift at the bottom. However lowly Barnstaple’s win at 2nd placed Salisbury last Saturday demonstrated there are no certainties in this division. The Mitres have also shown improved form of late, two of their three wins this season coming last month with victories over Mangotsfield and Slimbridge and only losing to promotion chasers Bideford by a solitary last minute goal. Town won the corresponding fixture 3-1 at Kayte Lane in September so will be aiming to complete another league double.
The Peacocks name the same squad as last weekend, with Exeter City loanee Joel Randall again not available as he is playing for their Academy in an EFL Youth Cup semi-final against Oxford United. However he will be available going forward after tomorrow starting with Tuesday’s trip to Paulton Rovers. Brett Trowbridge has had a successful operation on his fractured eye socket he suffered in an accidental collision in the game at Mangotsfield last month. As a result he will not play again this season and we wish him a speedy and full recovery. Looking ahead to the Bishops Cleeve match, manager Leigh Robinson said:” Hopefully we can capitalise tomorrow on a good win last week and try to keep building our lead at the top. It’s one of those games where everyone will be expecting us to win but Bishops Cleeve have given us some good games in the last few season and are more than capable so we need to turn up with the same focus and determination as last week.”
A discounted admission fee of only £1 is on offer tomorrow for all NHS and Emergency Service staff who will just need to show their ID card at the turnstile.
It's now 16 Evo-Stik League games unbeaten for the Peacocks after they beat Didcot Town 3-1 at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (27th January). The win over the 4th placed Railwaymen stemmed from a burst of three Town goals in 16 first half minutes which effectively settled the contest on a heavy pitch which had been worked on all morning to ensure the game went ahead. Didcot started off the better side but it was Town who gradually got on top, with Ollie Chamberlain having a goal disallowed for offside before the deadlock was broken on 27 minutes when a break saw Chamberlain feed the ball onto Pierce Mitchell on the right side of the box and he fired a shot across Leigh Bedwell into the opposite corner. Dan Sullivan then flicked on a cross to Chamberlain who sidestepped a defender to steer home number two after 38 minutes and Sullivan himself got on the scoresheet two minutes before the break when Matt Wright's pass found him in space on the right and his drive past Bedwell replicated Mitchell's earlier strike. With play becoming scrappy at times, Sam Barder hit the outside of the post for the visitors after the break before they reduced the arrears with eight minutes remaining when George Reid slid into net Marlon Agyakwa's cross from close range. With results elsewhere being favourable, the Peacocks have now extended their lead at the top of the table to eight points with games in hand. Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE and match report can be viewed HERE. Match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be seen HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" It was a really good win in very tough conditions with the pitch being so heavy but Kev and Simon did great to even get the game on. You could see that we struggled to get going a bit in the first 20 minutes and not quite in our usual rhythm with the lack of games recently but once we scored we never looked back. The second half was maybe a bit more open than we would have liked and both teams could have had two or three more in the second half but I think a lot of that was due to the increased error count on the heavy pitch. A good job done and we look to keep pushing on to extend our lead as there's plenty of work to do yet."
After having their last two Evo-Stik League fixtures postponed due to waterlogged pitches, the Peacocks will hope to resume their campaign with the visit of Didcot Town to the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (27th January), kick-off 3.00pm. Despite their ten day break since winning 1-0 at Mangotsfield last week, Town still sit five points clear at the top of the table and with two games in hand over second placed Salisbury, but face a difficult match tomorrow in their continued pursuit of an automatic promotion spot. Since the Peacocks scorched to a 4-0 win in the reverse fixture in early November, Didcot have lost only once in twelve games, a run of form which has elevated them to fourth position. They come into the game after scoring six goals in their last two outings including a 2-0 victory over fellow high fliers Bristol Manor Farm last Saturday.
Shane White will finally hope to resume action for Town tomorrow following his three match ban while new signing Keith Emmerson is also in the squad along with Matt Buse who has recovered from a knock. Another recent new addition Joel Randall however has Exeter City commitments and is not available and Brett Trowbridge is likely to be out for the rest of the season as he faces an operation on a fractured eye socket. Ben Palmer has also left the Peacocks and signed for Bideford. We thank Ben for his efforts during his time at the club and wish him well for the future.
Although there are still some wet patches, the pitch is looking in better shape and has dried well today so all being well there should be no concerns over tomorrow’s game going ahead.
Rearranged dates have been fixed for Town’s three recent Evo-Stik League postponements. Wimborne Town will now come to the Viridor Stadium on Tuesday 13 February while Bideford will visit a week later on Tuesday 20 February. The Peacocks will then travel to Barnstaple Town on Tuesday 27 February, with all games kicking off at 7.45pm.
Following a meeting of the Southern League Board yesterday, Town have been expelled from the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup after failing to raise a side for the 3rd Round tie at Frome Town earlier this month.
The Peacocks face yet another fixture rearrangement after their Evo-Stik League game with Wimborne Town scheduled for this evening (23rd January) at the Viridor Stadium was called off following a pitch inspection this morning. Further rain during the early hours only compounded the waterlogging problem with the pitch already saturated in large areas, meaning the decision to postpone was a formality. This leaves three fixtures to be rescheduled, with new dates to be announced shortly for this match plus the home meeting with Bideford and the away game at Barnstaple Town.