The Peacocks are in BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup action tomorrow evening (10th January) when they travel to Frome Town, kick-off 7.45pm. The Southern League cup competition is now at the 3rd Round stage, with Town having beaten Bideford on penalties and then Barnstaple Town to progress this far. Premier Division Frome are lying in 11th place at present and have experienced some up and down results in recent weeks, with a win often followed by a defeat and vice versa. Their most recent outing saw them win 2-1 at Biggleswade Town on Saturday. As has been the case this season, the Peacocks will field a development side, with several changes from the team that made it 13 league games unbeaten at the weekend with victory at AFC Totton.
The Peacocks scooped their third Team of the Month award this season for the Evo-Stik League South, West Division when they were named as the winners for December today. The accolade is given to the club with the best average points during the month and with Town winning five of their six fixtures in December and drawing the other, their record saw them come out on top again to add to the monthly awards already won for August and October. Congratulations to all the players and management!
The Peacocks returned to Evo-Stik League action after a fortnight's break with a resounding 4-0 victory at AFC Totton this afternoon (6th January). Town never looked back after taking the lead on nine minutes when Ross Staley flicked Dan Sullivan's cross past Shane Murphy and Staley then added a second ten minutes before half time, steering home Matt Buse's cross from the right. The contest was effectively over six minutes into the second half after Town had fired in two further goals. Ollie Chamberlain's effort fell for Matt Wright to convert from close range on 47 minutes and Staley notched his hat trick four minutes later when he tucked in Sullivan's centre. Match highlights can be viewed on Peacocks TV HERE and match report can be viewed HERE. Unfortunately neither of our club photographers were able to attend the game although match photos can be found on AFC Totton's club photographer Keith Fuller's site HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" A really good win in the circumstances, having not played for two weeks which is most unusual to us. Massive credit to the players who didn’t let it affect them and came out looking as sharp as ever. Football matches are won in both penalty areas, we were brilliant at that today and played some good football at times too on a heavy pitch. A really good all-round team performance and plenty of good individual ones too but for me Ryan Brett was ridiculously good today and controlled the game with his passing, pressing and decision making. We’re looking good now with a strong team today and two excellent players still to come back in from suspension so hopefully the competition for places added to the huge will to win that we have will see us continue to accumulate points and keep inching towards success."
Reaction - hat trick man Ross Staley said:" It was a great victory after what seemed like a long break. For some it was a well needed rest which showed yesterday. It was a great all-round team performance, our shape was amazing, we looked sharp and also had some really nice passages of play against a good side. Of course I was pleased to get three goals which is a good achievement for me at wingback but the most important thing is another three points and one game closer to promotion."
After a weather-enforced break of two weeks, the Peacocks will hope to return to Evo-Stik League action with a trip to AFC Totton tomorrow (6th January), kick-off 3.00pm. Town last played two days before Christmas when they edged a narrow win over Cirencester to keep their healthy lead at the top of the table. Since then successive games against Paulton Rovers and Bideford have been rained off which has allowed second placed Salisbury to close the gap to seven points, although Town have games in hand on them plus all the leading pack. It promises to be another tough encounter tomorrow following three tight games between the sides already this season. The Peacocks will be seeking a league double after a 2-1 victory over the Stags at the Viridor Stadium in September while the teams also met in the Buildbase FA Trophy several weeks later which saw Town win through 2-1 in a replay at the Testwood Stadium courtesy of a Ross Staley goal in extra time. Totton are sitting in 7th spot and have suffered only one defeat in their last ten league games, a Boxing Day reverse to Salisbury which was only their second league loss on home soil this season.
Ben Adelsbury and Shane White both miss tomorrow’s fixture due to suspension following their red cards against Cirencester but Ollie Chamberlain returns after serving his one game ban. New signings Toby Down and Craig Veal are also in the squad. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” We’re expecting a tough game at Totton. We’ve had three close games against them so we know what they can do. The players are desperate to get playing again after this enforced break and hopefully we can get a result at a place that has been a good hunting ground for us over the last few years.”
The Totton pitch is currently playable but will be assessed again first thing in the morning in the event of any further rain. Any announcements will be made on our usual SM channels.
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.