In the second of our features ahead of the new season, tauntontown.com spoke to new signing Ryan Brett.
The capture of Ryan Brett amongst others over the summer reaffirmed the Peacocks’ intentions to make it fourth time lucky this season and finally secure promotion to the Premier Division after three successive setbacks in the play-offs. The left-sided defender/midfielder has accumulated a good deal of higher league experience at both Salisbury City where he helped them win promotion to the Conference National and at his most recent club Truro City. So far he’s liked what he’s seen at the Viridor Stadium. “’I feel like I’ve settled in really well at the club”, he commented. “The lads have been great as well as the management. It always helps when you know some of the lads really well too. There are no bad eggs in the group which will certainly help during the course of the season.”
Given his footballing CV, it might have been expected the 26 year old would have opted to join a club higher up the non-league system after leaving Truro but he has no doubts about his decision and believes his previous experience will come in useful in the months ahead, continuing:” I came to watch the FA Cup game against Barrow last season and was impressed with the whole set up, the pitch, the fans and the general feel about the place. It showed the potential the club has. I want to be part of that and that’s why I came to Taunton Town FC rather than take up offers from a slightly higher level. I do feel my experience from playing in the National League and gaining promotions from the Conference South & Southern League will help the side on certain occasions during the season, we want to be up there challenging. There will be stumbling blocks along the way, it’s a long season, but that’s where I hope my experience and the other experienced lads will show their true capabilities.”
With the new season less than a fortnight away, Brett is hopeful of a successful campaign for both the team and him, saying: “I have set myself personal targets for the season which I won’t say just yet as the main aim for me at the moment is to get a good pre-season under my belt, that’s my sole focus. My aim for the forthcoming season is for us to be right up there competing at the top end of the table come April next year. We’ll do this with hard work, patience, penetration and a great team spirit which is evident already. I can’t wait for the season to start, Up The Peacocks!!’’
Views from another one of Town’s squad will be coming soon.
Congratulations go to our Print and Design Partner Carly Press who won first prize in our annual Sponsors Draw held during the interval of last Tuesday’s friendly with Weymouth. The winning numbers were pulled out of the hat by Taunton Town Supporter of the Year Greg Galpin and the Chelston-based company were the first number drawn out, meaning they will have their logo on the front of the first team home shirt for 2017-18. Another existing club sponsor Invest Southwest was drawn out second and will have their logo on the back of the home shirt. The remaining prizes were won by Tolchard Drinks, Taunton Vale Healthcare and Coomber Security. We would like to congratulate all prize winners and gratefully thank all entrants to the draw, all of whom will receive a transferable season ticket for the upcoming season.
Town got off the mark in their pre-season friendlies with a 3-1 win at Willand Rovers yesterday evening (28th July). It proved a good workout for the Peacocks who saw Lloyd Irish pull off two good saves to keep the scoreline blank until the visitors went ahead on 27 minutes when Ben Adelsbury curled home a fine free kick after Ollie Chamberlain had been brought down. Town doubled their lead three minutes into the second half when Arran Pugh's header from a Shane White corner was cleared off the line and Les Afful lifted the ball home from close range. Irish made a superb double save to thwart James Blake and Bradley Ausden before the Peacocks added number three on 54 minutes through Ross Staley who stretched to head in Adelsbury's cross from the right. Willand pulled one back on 76 minutes when Luke Mortimer got on the end of a cross to score which proved the final goal of the night. Match report can be viewed HERE. Neither of our club photographers were able to attend the game but some photos are available on supporter Martin Bamforth's site HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" It was a good exercise last night and good to get 90 minutes into people with so many bodies missing. We played some nice football and passed it much better than Tuesday night which was pleasing. I thought we gave it away far too often in the final 15 minutes and made it a bit too open but in fairness that was probably a bit of tiredness with only three subs to make. Good for Les to get off the mark with a well-deserved goal and I also thought Craig Duff was very good. Big thanks to Willand for hosting us, always a nice place to go and a club full of good people."
The Peacocks play their first away friendly of pre-season when they make the short trip to Willand Rovers tomorrow evening (28th July), kick-off 7.30pm. After a draw and two defeats from their opening three friendlies at the Viridor Stadium, tomorrow will give Town further match practice ahead of the new campaign which starts in a little over a fortnight on Saturday 12th August. The Western League Premier Division side have so far beaten Plymouth Argyle U18’s and AEK Boco at Silver Street but lost 4-2 to Elmore in their most recent friendly on Monday evening.
Town take a depleted squad into Devon, with Lewis Powell and Matt Wright both away on holiday and Owen Irish, Chris McGrath and Ben Palmer all out injured. Assistant manager Michael Meaker is also away while centre half Matt Villis will also only be used in an emergency after three hard games in the past nine days. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” With so many players unavailable, we can’t look upon tomorrow as a pointer towards the season, more so a fitness exercise and the chance for people to play 90 minutes which doesn’t always happen in pre-season with juggling personnel around. With a bit of luck we’ll be back to full strength next week and start working towards a starting eleven for the beginning of the season.”
The Peacocks went down to a 1-0 defeat to Weymouth at the Viridor Stadium in their latest pre-season friendly yesterday evening (25th July). Town had the best of the opening quarter which had little in the way of chances before the visitors began to assert themselves, Lloyd Irish saving from Harry Baker and Charlie Davis to keep the scoreline blank. However the Town keeper was beaten four minutes from the interval when Davis drove home from just inside the box to give the Terras the lead. Ben Adelsbury was sent off for dissent on 57 minutes and Town's ten men never really threatened to get back on terms. Indeed Irish made further fine saves from Aaron Rodriguez and Baker to keep the score down as Town now prepare for their first away friendly at Willand Rovers on Friday evening. 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 commented:" It was a strange night in many ways. The first half was very closely matched with few chances for either team. At the start of the second half we raised the tempo and looked more of a threat but then the red card made the last half an hour a bit of a non-event for both teams. No problem with the decision, if Ben has sworn at the referee then he has to go but I think everyone in the ground, including the Weymouth lads, would have preferred it if a bit of common sense had prevailed and we just had to substitute him and kept it 11 v 11. We lacked a bit of quality on the ball tonight particularly in the final third but I'm not overly concerned about it at this stage as people are still finding their feet and we've played three good sides in the last seven days."
The Viridor Stadium hosts its third pre-season friendly tomorrow evening (25th July) when the Peacocks take on Weymouth, kick-off 7.45pm. Town have so far drawn with Bristol Rovers and lost to Exeter City in their warm-up schedule and will face another challenging game against their Southern Premier visitors who finished last season in 10th spot.
The Peacocks’ squad for the game will be missing Lewis Powell who is on holiday and the still injured Owen Irish while Ben Palmer is doubtful with an ankle injury. Arran Pugh though returns after being unavailable for the Exeter game because of work and Chris McGrath who also missed the same match is fit to play. Manager Leigh Robinson commented: “We’re hoping for another good run out tomorrow, hopefully in front of another decent pre-season crowd. Weymouth will of course be strong and have signed a number of young pros in the close season so unquestionably it will be a good test for us. We were happy with the first week in terms of fitness and attitude so hopefully now the rust has shaken off a bit we can produce a bit more on the ball.”
With the 2017-18 season just under three weeks away, tauntontown.com caught up with some of those at the club to gauge their thoughts. First up is new skipper Matt Wright....
When Matt Wright headed the Peacocks’ opening goal of the 2016-17 season at Shortwood last August it began a memorable first year at the Viridor Stadium for the 26 year old striker who had signed over the summer from Truro City. ‘Socky’ soon became a terrace favourite and ended the campaign as the second leading scorer with 28 goals in all competitions as Town enjoyed success on all fronts. “I have nothing but positives to say about the club that has warmly welcomed me from my first day” he remarked. “The club is run the way a club should be run and surrounded by people that love the club. I absolutely loved being a part of last season and the experience that we gained should bode well going into this year!”
Wright has an extra responsibility this coming season as he has replaced Brett Trowbridge as team captain but he is relishing the chance, commenting: “I’m over the moon to be appointed captain which is something that I never thought would happen in a million years if I'm honest. However I thoroughly enjoyed the few games that I was made captain last year and I'm excited about the new role next season. I have big boots to fill as Brett was fantastic and I learnt a lot from him!”
The Peacocks have recruited a number of new players over the summer including several of Wright’s former team mates at Truro. “I think the new players have settled in well”, Wright continued.” We have a great bunch of lads so I think that makes it a lot easier for new players coming in. I’m looking forward to seeing them blend into the squad during the friendlies and hopefully they help us go one step further than last year.”
Town have lost out in the Play-Offs for three years running and the new skipper is hungry to see the Peacocks take the step up for the first time in their history. “We have got to improve on last year”, he concluded. “ No excuses, we have a great squad, great management and great fans that follow us here, there and everywhere. They deserve the promotion and we will work extremely hard in fulfilling that objective. I firmly believe if the new lads blend in as well as we hope then we have a fantastic chance to do so. Goals wise for me, I'd be happy with 10 and promotion rather than 28 (same as last year) and no promotion so I’m just hoping to do my bit for the team and see where that gets us come the end of the season.”
Views from one of Town’s new recruits will be coming soon!
As previously announced on our Twitter account, we are pleased to report that former Exeter City player Joe Charles has become the Peacocks’ seventh signing of the summer. The 20 year old winger has impressed in Town’s first two friendlies on trial and signed for the club following Thursday’s match against his old team. He earnt a professional contract at Exeter in July 2015 after being a member of both Yeovil Town and Exeter City academies but unfortunately suffered a cruciate ligament injury and left Exeter at the end of last year. Town manager Leigh Robinson said:” Joe’s really impressed us in pre-season so it’s great to have him on board. He’s very quick and gives us an extra option up top or out wide. He’s coming back from a serious injury when was a pro at Exeter so we need to treat him carefully and build him up slowly for the first few weeks but no question he’ll be a real asset once he’s fully up to speed.”
A fantastic crowd of 1073 saw Town lose 3-0 in their second pre-season friendly to League Two side Exeter City at the Viridor Stadium yesterday evening (20th July). There was little incident in the early stages until Archie Collins hit the post for the visitors on the quarter hour mark, with the Grecians taking the lead four minutes later when a Lee Holmes corner was flicked on to find Tyler Harvey unmarked at the back post and he had time to control and rifle home a volley. Pierce Mitchell came close to a reply for the Peacocks but his header found the roof of the net as the visitors maintained their lead into the second half. Exeter doubled their tally on 71 minutes when Liam McAlinden took advantage of a stray back pass to run on and fire past Lloyd Irish. City came close on a couple more occasions but eventually rounded off the scoring four minutes from time when Ryan Brunt latched onto a pass over the top and found the net at the second attempt after Irish had saved the first shot. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HEREand HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" It might sound odd to say but it was a great night all round. We knew that we were in for the runaround with the strength of side that Exeter were bringing and that the job would be to contain them as best as possible and keep the scoreline respectable, particularly with the defensive options that we were missing. We gained a huge amount of fitness from last night and the younger players would have learnt a great deal from playing against such quality opposition. The other huge positive was the crowd, to have over 1000 people in for a friendly was brilliant for the club. Big thanks to Paul Tisdale and the Exeter boys for coming up for the game, a quality side, good bunch of lads and we hope this fixture can be a regular pre-season occurrence."
The Peacocks face a second Football League club in the space of two days when Exeter City visit the Viridor Stadium for a pre-season friendly tomorrow evening (20th July), kick-off 7.45pm. Town opened their schedule with a 2-2 draw against a Bristol Rovers side yesterday evening but will probably face a harder test tomorrow as the Grecians seem likely to be sending their first team squad. Exeter finished 5th in League Two last season and narrowly lost in the Play-Off Final for promotion so the game will prove a real challenge for Town's emerging side who featured six new signings plus two trialists in the Rovers match.
For tomorrow, Brett Trowbridge is back in the squad after returning from holiday but Owen Irish is still out due to a broken toe and Chris McGrath is doubtful with a calf injury. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" It should be a really good occasion as we think Exeter are bringing a very strong side and therefore it will be a huge test particularly after only 48 hours rest. This is what pre-season is all about though and without question at 9.30 tomorrow we'll have had a great workout to further boost the fitness levels."
Admission to the game is free for Taunton Town season ticket holders and Under 14’s while prices are £5 for adults, £3 concessions and £1 for Under 19’s.