The Peacocks continue their Emirates FA Cup campaign when they travel to Tavistock for a 1st Round Qualifying tie tomorrow (2nd September), kick-off 3.00pm. A 3-0 victory over Larkhall Athletic a fortnight ago steered Town through the Preliminary Round, a game which has been sandwiched by four Evo-Stik League wins to leave Town with a 100% record so far this season. Tomorrow’s tie is a real banana skin though against the current Peninsula League champions who are also undefeated so far, having beaten Shepton Mallet and Shaftesbury to reach this stage in the competition whilst racking up 24 goals from four Peninsula League fixtures. Resounding victories over Falmouth and Witheridge were followed by a 3-0 win at Bodmin last weekend before the Lambs dropped their first points of the season and conceded their first league goals when drawing 3-3 with Launceston on Wednesday evening. The sides have met twice before in the competition, the Devon club winning a home tie 7-2 in the 1948-49 season while the Peacocks edged through 2-1 in the Preliminary Round seven years ago.
Town will not have a full complement available tomorrow. Chris McGrath remains on the injured list along with Joe Charles who has missed the last two games due to a knee strain while Matt Villis is suspended for one match following his sending off at Shortwood last weekend. Loan striker Olly Mehew though has been given permission to play in the competition by his parent club Forest Green Rovers so is in the squad. Assistant manager Michael Meaker commented:” We’re looking forward to the game tomorrow. It’s been an excellent start from the boys and we still haven’t been playing to the level we know we can but still been winning. We have a fantastic bunch of lads here this season who are all in it together and pure winners, the atmosphere in the changing rooms and training has been spot on. Let’s hope we can get fired up for tomorrow’s game and have another great FA Cup run this year.”
Town secured their fourth win from as many Evo-Stik League games when they beat Paulton Rovers 3-0 at a sun-drenched Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (28th August). The victory keeps the Peacocks 100% record intact and maintains their position at the top of the West Division table. Although not up to full speed, it proved a comfortable win for Town who bossed the first half. They had already come close through Matt Wright and Ryan Brett before the deadlock was broken on 26 minutes when Ollie Chamberlain was brought down by Joshua Cann and Les Afful drilled home the penalty. The lead was doubled a minute into first half stoppage time when Lloyd Irish's long free kick wasn't cleared and Afful laid the ball back to Chamberlain who swept home a lovely finish from the edge of the box. Ben Adelsbury rattled the post with a free kick moments into the second half and Lewis Powell later headed against the bar while Lloyd Irish had a quiet afternoon in the home goal as the heat began to take its toll on both sides. Loan striker Olly Mehew then wrapped the points up eight minutes from time, cutting in to beat the defence and rifle a fine strike into the roof of the net from 18 yards. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" Another solid win on a really hot day which made it difficult for both teams. We defended really well again, Lloyd was rarely called upon and we took our chances when they came along despite not being at our best going forward. It's been a good month which we can put to bed now. I still think there is much more to come from this team and we have more gears to use if we need to. Despite the results I wouldn't say we've played brilliantly this month or been especially easy on the eye but we've been very effective in picking up results and controlling games and this is what it's going to be about this year. We all know we can still improve as a team and we'll be working hard in September to make sure this happens."
Reaction - Man of the Match and scorer of the second goal Ollie Chamberlain said:" The boys knew that coming into today's game was going to be difficult as it was a tough test on Saturday with the heat and finishing with 10 men, but I think we played well considering today's conditions. We made a couple of changes from Saturday which had a positive impact, as we started the game well and deservedly got the first goal through Les with a well taken penalty. I think after that we became a bit sloppy and didn't keep the pressure on them as we should have, but saying that we were able to get the second goal at a crucial time. With the two goal cushion, we wanted to control the game a bit more in the second half but with Saturday taking a lot out of us and the heat today, I think we started to flag a little which kept them in the game. With Olly getting the 3rd with a well taken finish we were then able to see the game out comfortably. It wasn't the prettiest of games but we were able to get the three points we deserved to maintain our 100% start, so overall we are pleased."
It’s two Evo-Stik League games in two days for the Peacocks when they entertain Paulton Rovers at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (28th August), kick-off 3.00pm. As a result of Saturday’s victory at Shortwood , Town are the only side in the West Division with a 100% record after the opening three fixtures and they will be out to prolong that sequence against their old rivals tomorrow. However Paulton have hit some early season form since suffering a home defeat to Slimbridge on the opening day, a creditable draw at fancied Salisbury followed by an FA Cup win at Portland and then victory over Evesham.
The Peacocks name the same squad that travelled to Shortwood with the exception of Joe Charles who tweaked his knee in the warm-up so Ben Palmer may step in for his first involvement of the season on his way back from injury. Coach Rob Dray commented:” It will be another hard game tomorrow and in quick succession after Saturday so our strength in depth in the squad will need to kick in. Paulton have had some decent results so we are aware how difficult it will be. The management and players realise how much of a target we have become in a short period of time which in itself provides another set of problems, more mentally than anything else. Saturday was another example of a great away win, played well in periods but then made it hard for ourselves by not finishing teams off when we have them in deep water. All said we have defended well consistently and will always look dangerous in the final third with the quality we have so all positives. The league has thrown some random results out already and we all realise how important consistency is going to be this year.”
Town maintained their winning start to the season with a 2-1 Evo-Stik League victory at Shortwood United yesterday afternoon (26th August). It turned out to be a far from straightforward three points for the Peacocks who were quick out the blocks, grabbing an early lead after just seven minutes when Lewis Powell received a Pierce Mitchell pass inside the box and turned to fire goalwards where Ryan Brett was on hand to convert from close range. Town could have had the game sewn up by the break as they remained well on top. Matt Wright missed two good chances with Ross Staley the provider on each occasion whilst Lewis Powell had his penalty saved by Harry Pickering after Staley had been brought down seven minutes before the break. The Peacocks doubled their lead three minutes into the second half when Wright challenged Pickering for Brett's cross and the loose ball was poked home by Mitchell. The momentum of the game changed with just under twenty minutes left when Matt Villis was red carded as last man after being adjudged to have caught Levi Cox who stepped up to slot home the resultant penalty. Shortwood pressed forward in search of an equaliser but Town thankfully held firm to secure the points and climb to the top of the table. Match report can be viewed HERE and photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson said:" In many ways yesterday was an example of just how unpredictable football at this level can be. We were fully in control for an hour, created numerous wonderful chances but couldn't quite put the game to bed with a third goal. Then the red card happens and a game that we were so comfortable in turns out to be a real battle for the last 20 minutes. However it was another useful win and a much better performance on the ball than the last two games, particularly in the first half."
Reaction - Man of the Match and scorer of the first goal Ryan Brett commented:" I thought we played some good football yesterday for the first 30 minutes on a very dry pitch making it difficult to move the ball quickly but we dug in until half time and came out and got a well deserved second. Obviously after the sending off, the game became a case of shutting up shop and being hard to break down, and everyone including the subs who came on put in a massive shift to take all three points home. I'd also like to wish Joe a speedy recovery and all the lads are right behind him."
As reported on our Twitter account earlier today, we are pleased to announce the loan signing of Olly Mehew from Forest Green Rovers. The 19 year old striker (right) has joined the Peacocks until 3rd January 2018 and goes straight into the squad for the Evo-Stik League trip to Shortwood United tomorrow (26th August), kick-off 3.00pm. Olly was on Blackburn Rovers’ books before joining Bristol Rovers where he went on to have loan spells at Mangotsfield United and Shortwood United. He signed for Forest Green Rovers in June 2016 and has since been out on loan at Mangotsfield twice, Salisbury and Cirencester before making his Forest Green debut as a substitute in their final league fixture of last season at York City. Manager Leigh Robinson commented:” It’s great to have Olly on board with us for a while. We’ve played against him a few times in the past and he’s always really impressed us with his pace and incisiveness so he’ll certainly give us a different dimension.”
As for tomorrow, the Peacocks will be aiming to maintain their 100% start to the season. Successive wins over Cirencester and Mangotsfield have got Town’s league campaign off to a good start which was followed by last Saturday’s victory against Larkhall Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup. Early season form would indicate Town have a chance of making it four from four tomorrow as their hosts have had a mixed start to the campaign, going down to a 4-2 home defeat to Winchester City on the opening day before recovering to gain a point from a 3-3 draw at Bristol Manor Farm. However they were then turfed out the Emirates FA Cup by South Midlands League side Colney Heath so will be anxious to get back on track against the Peacocks.
Manager Leigh Robinson again names an unchanged squad with the addition of Olly Mehew, with Ben Palmer and Chris McGrath still remaining on the injured list. The Town boss continued:” It’s notoriously a tricky place to go and hard to know what to expect this year as they have had such a turnover of players. We’re in good spirits though after the first fortnight and confidence is good so hopefully we can go and pick up a positive result to keep it going.”
Shortwood are issuing an online programme this season instead of a printed one. The link to the programme can be found HERE.
We are pleased to welcome two new Directors whose position on the club’s Board was ratified at last month’s AGM. Giuseppe Fraschini has joined as Marketing & Communications Director while Dominic Stead will become Community Director.
Fraschini (left), who is a Junior Cabinet Minister on Somerset County Council, will manage the development of the club’s marketing and social media platforms and has already rebranded and relocated the Club Shop at the Viridor Stadium. He commented:” I'm absolutely delighted and I want to thank the board and members for their trust they have placed in me. I've been coming down to watch the Peacocks since I was child and now to be part of the club and help it grow is a really exciting opportunity. We have a very special club, with big plans, great people and a bright future ahead.”
Stead (right) meanwhile who has a background in international property and client management will have the remit of forming and strengthening links with relevant parties in Taunton Deane to assist in moving the club forward. He remarked: “I am delighted and excited at the same time to be involved with Taunton Town FC as it begins its climb up the leagues. A key area will be growing the club in the community and beginning to look at how to improve the facilities and the ground to make sure the club is valued and needed. I am pleased to join the board to help Taunton Town achieve their long term plans.”
Chairman Kevin Sturmey added: “I’m delighted to welcome both Zeppi and Dominic to the Board who both have skill sets we will need moving forward. We have ambitions and plans for the future and need to make sure both the football side and business side of the club work in harmony. With the JPL teams starting as well, these are very exciting times at the Viridor Stadium on and off the pitch."
The Peacocks' run of ten successive home draws in the Emirates FA Cup finally came to an end today (21st August) when they were drawn away to Tavistock in the 1st Qualifying Round which will take place on Saturday 2nd September. It's a very tricky tie for Town as Tavistock are the current Peninsula League Premier Division champions and have started this season with a bang, scoring 18 goals in winning their opening two league fixtures plus progress over two games in the FA Cup including Saturday's 2-1 victory over Shaftesbury. Town have visited Langsford Park previously, winning 2-1 in a Preliminary Round tie seven years ago.
Town kicked off their Emirates FA Cup campaign with a 3-0 Preliminary Round victory over Larkhall Athletic at the Viridor Stadium yesterday afternoon (19th August). Although the scoreline was convincing, the Peacocks' performance was not against their Evo-Stik League rivals. A scrappy opening saw Ryan Brett fire wide for Town before a decent move down the right saw Matt Wright head home from a Shane White cross after 17 minutes for the opening goal. Larkhall had Josh Egan sent off for a challenge on Wright minutes later but Town struggled to stamp any authority against the ten men. The game went flat for long spells until Pierce Mitchell made it 2-0 on 69 minutes when he connected with White's drive into the box to tuck past Shaun Semmens. The visitors rarely looked likely to mount a comeback and Ben Adelsbury rounded off a poor quality game by curling home a free kick two minutes from time from just outside the box. The win secures Town £1,925 prize money and puts them into the draw for the 1st Round Qualifying which will be available from around 1pm on Monday 21st August. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographers Tim Norbury and Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE and HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson observed:" Through to the next round and prize money in the bank which is the main thing but we were all very disappointed in our display today on the ball. We gave it away far too often, wanted far too much time on it and generally executed badly. In hindsight the sending off probably didn't help us as we looked better against eleven men and perhaps took our foot off the gas against ten which wasn't good to see. On the positive side we defended our box well and Lloyd didn't have a save to make. We've won two home games this week without playing well but winiing is a habit and being able to win whilst not playing well is a good sign moving forwards."
Reaction - Man of the Match and final goalscorer Ben Adelsbury commented:" A win in the FA Cup is always sweet as it keeps the dream alive for another round. The game today wasn't easy, especially when they went down to ten men as they worked hard, and at times we found it difficult to use our extra man advantage. However to score three goals and keep a clean sheet was a great result for us and keeps our winning momentum rolling into next week's league game."
It’s home advantage again for the Peacocks who are in Emirates FA Cup action against divisional rivals Larkhall Athletic at the Viridor Stadium tomorrow afternoon (19th August), kick-off 3.00pm. Town were last drawn away in the FA Cup in September 2014 when they lost at Paulton Rovers and since then they have enjoyed nine successive home ties including six in their fantastic run to the First Round Proper last season. Tomorrow’s Preliminary Round game will make it ten as they look to embark on another run in the famous competition but it is shaping up to be a difficult afternoon with Larkhall unbeaten in their opening two league fixtures. They were two goals up on Evesham United in their opening game last weekend before being pegged back to a 2-2 draw and then registered a convincing 3-0 victory at Barnstaple Town on Tuesday night whilst Town were grinding out a win over Mangotsfield United. The Larks will also have an added incentive to banish the memories from their visits to the Viridor last season when they shipped 16 goals, losing 6-2 in an FA Trophy tie and then 10-2 in the League game. The winners of tomorrow's tie will earn £1,925 in prize money.
The Peacocks will take confidence after winning both their opening matches, especially on Tuesday when they were far from their best, and again name an unchanged squad from midweek. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” It’s FA cup day and this will undoubtedly generate increased excitement after last year’s exploits. Tomorrow will be tough though as Larkhall have started the season well and will be confident so we need to be fully prepared for a battle against a side with plenty of experience at our level.”
One player not featuring tomorrow is Craig Duff who has left the club and signed for Bideford. We thank Craig for his efforts whilst with us and wish him good luck. Robinson continued:”Craig wants to play every single game and we can't promise this whereas Bideford did so we were happy to waive the 7 days, allowing him to go there early. People might say it leaves us light up front but firstly Craig is not a really a striker, more of a forward, and in the summer we made the decision initially to go with Wrighty and Lewis as our out-and-out strikers, knowing that we have a number of players who can play off a striker should one be unavailable such as Ollie, Les, Joe and Ryan Brett. We are looking for another striker to complement Wrighty and Lewis but there are certain attributes in a striker that we are looking for which we couldn’t find in the summer. We won’t go out and sign a player for the sake of it and be left with a player that we don’t want so I prefer to stay patient knowing that we still have many good attacking options at the club already.”
Head Groundsman and Chairman Kevin Sturmey travelled to St George’s Park along with Assistant Groundsman Simon Best for the Groundsman of the Year Awards yesterday (16th August) but despite not winning, he was awarded a very creditable third place in the Evo-Stik League South. It is the fourth successive year that Kevin has been nominated in the awards, having won the overall accolade for the Southern League in 2014 and 2015 as well as winning the national award for Steps 3 and 4 in 2014 and finishing runner-up a year later. Last year he was highly commended (which he also received in 2012) but finished in the top three this time around, the Southern League award being won by Mark Savage of Salisbury with Hereford’s Ben Bowen in second place. Sturmey commented:” To achieve 3rd place has to be seen as a success behind two huge clubs with much more resources and of course pitches laid to Football League standard whereas ours is built on a rubbish tip! All I have ever tried to do is produce the best surface possible based on the weather conditions and while awards are nice, the best prize for me is to see the team win and the club to keep improving on and off the pitch. This award would not have been achieved without the help and support of my assistant Simon Best who has the same high standards I try to achieve and we will both keep trying to produce the best pitch we can for every match."