Following the penalty shoot-out win at Odd Down in the previous round, the Peacocks have been drawn at home to Western League side Clevedon Town in the quarter finals of the Somerset Premier Cup. The tie against our former Evo-Stik League rivals will be played at the Viridor Stadium on Tuesday 21st February. Meanwhile dates have been fixed for Town’s two outstanding Evo-Stik League fixtures. We will travel to Bishops Cleeve on Tuesday 7th February and then host Wimborne Town a week later on Tuesday 14th February.
Town returned to the Viridor Stadium after a month's absence with a fine 2-1 win over Evesham United yesterday afternoon (3rd December). The victory ended the visitors' 12 game unbeaten run and came courtesy of Matt Wright's double strike. After Lance Smith had rifled an early shot just wide, Town responded with the opening goal after 13 minutes when Wright headed in a Ross Staley free kick. Wright forced Robins' keeper Kevin Sawyer to tip over an inswinging cross and Shane White's drive missed the target as Town bossed the match into the second half and eventually added a second goal on 53 minutes when Pierce Mitchell's centre found Craig Veal who set up Wright to curl a neat finish inside Sawyer's right hand post. Ed Palmer and Wright again came close before Lloyd Irish denied Adam Mann. Paul Fahy reduced the arrears against the run of play with a snapshot from 20 yards after 75 minutes which was the catalyst for late Evesham pressure but Town stood firm to secure the points. 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 remarked:" It was a good result and an excellent team performance. We were pretty dominant for 75 minutes but 2-0 is such a tricky scoreline as showed again when Evesham got a goal out of nowhere and we're left soaking up pressure for the remainder of the game but we deserved the win I thought. Plenty of positives today including Ben Palmer who was excellent on his full debut, Alex Hoyle who probably had his best game so far for the club and Wrighty's finishes were clinical too. We've done really well this week to pick up two wins after the cup exits and hopefully we can keep this momentum going on Tuesday and beyond."
The Peacocks end a run of six successive away games when they host Evesham United in the Evo-Stik League this afternoon (3rd December), kick-off 3.00pm. The Viridor Stadium hasn’t hosted a match since the memorable FA Cup tie against Barrow nearly a month ago and Town could hardly have chosen a more difficult fixture with which to resume home action. Evesham are currently on an 11 game winning streak in the league and will set a new club record should they emerge with the three points today. This form has seen them rise to second place in the table and with the Robins also possessing the division’s leading scorer in Lance Smith it will undoubtedly be a stiff task for Town who returned to winning ways in midweek when they secured a 1-0 win at Barnstaple. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” Evesham are undoubtedly one of the better sides in the division so we know it’s a really tough game today. They are on a terrific run and will be full of confidence so we’ll need to be at our absolute best. We had a good win in the week but hoping for better footballing conditions today, the first home game since Barrow which seems like an eternity ago.” Pierce Mitchell is back in the squad for the first time since suffering a hamstring pull at Bishops Cleeve three weeks ago whilst Craig Duff who missed the Barnstaple game due to a knock and Ed Palmer who has now finished his course both also return. Ollie Chamberlain however is absent through injury and Adam Kelly has been released. We thank him for his efforts whilst at the club and wish him well for the future.
If you were one of the 2,297 people who attended our FA Cup 1st Round Proper tie with Barrow at the Viridor Stadium last month and you still possess the ticket, then you have a chance to win a prize in a free draw! Just bring along your ticket to either this Saturday's game with Evesham United or next Tuesday's match against Paulton Rovers and hand it in at the turnstile. Please make sure your name is written on the ticket which can be returned to the holder if required once the draw has taken place.
The Peacocks got back on track in the Evo-Stik League when they gained a 1-0 victory at Barnstaple Town yesterday evening (29th November). Despite not being at their best, Town did more than enough to win at a freezing Mill Road and thereby gain revenge for the home defeat to the North Devon side in August. Adam Kelly missed a good chance to score early on when he lobbed wide of the target while Lloyd Irish touched a shot from ex-Peacock James Blake wide but opportunities were limited for both teams during a rather stop-start first half. Good work from Ross Staley saw Craig Veal's attempt cleared off the line as the second half got underway before Town grabbed the only goal of the contest after 55 minutes. Kelly's corner found Owen Irish on the far post and his header back into the centre was nodded home by Veal from close range (as pictured). Kelly curled a shot against the post and Veal headed just wide as Town looked to stretch their lead, with the hosts rarely threatening apart from a Liam Gregory run. Veal put another header wide with time nearly up while Lloyd Irish made his most telling contribution of the evening on the whistle when he clutched a Kyle Paine strike on his line, ensuring Town returned with maximum points which saw them climb four places up the table. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Colin Andrews can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson commented:" It was an important win in very tricky conditions. The pitch was rapidly frosting over which made it very bobbly and difficult for both teams to play any decent football. It was by no means a slick performance but we showed plenty of grit and desire to battle through after a tough game on Saturday and in what is not an easy place to go to in Barnstaple."
The Peacocks return to Evo-Stik League duty when they travel to Barnstaple Town tomorrow evening (29th November), kick-off 7.45pm. Cup action has dominated Town’s agenda over recent weeks but now they can fully focus on accumulating league points and climbing the table starting with the trip to North Devon. Barum will be seeking the double, having sneaked a 1-0 win deep into injury time at the Viridor Stadium in Town’s first home game of the season back in August. That fixture was Barnstaple’s first away game in their debut Southern League campaign which sees them currently sitting in 19th spot, one place below Town who have fallen way behind with their schedule due to their cup commitments. Town’s last league outing at Salisbury didn’t go to plan but with Barnstaple having lost their last three games, the Peacocks will hope to get back on track at Mill Road tomorrow. Town will have a new face in the squad after signing Ben Palmer (pictured) from neighbours Bridgwater Town. Ben, aged 24, can operate on the left of defence or midfield and is the son of former Peacocks reserve goalkeeper John. He played local football at Bishops Lydeard before joining Bridgwater last season. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” We’re pleased to have Ben on board. We were impressed with him earlier in the season and he ticks all the boxes really. A local, young, hungry lad with plenty of scope to improve further plus we need strengthening on the left after Callum’s departure and ongoing issues with Ryan’s work commitments.” Ben’s namesake Ed misses the match, his final absence due to the course he is attending, while Pierce Mitchell is not fit to return and Craig Duff picked up a tight hamstring at Chelmsford on Saturday so also misses out. Matt Wright and Adam Kelly however both return to the squad after serving their one match suspensions.
Town's interest in FA competitions is finally over for 2016-17 after they lost 1-0 at Chelmsford City in the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round yesterday afternoon (26th November). Playing their 15th cup tie of the season, it was a valiant effort by the Peacocks who looked all set to bring the National League South side back to the Viridor Stadium for a midweek replay until the hosts poached the winner one minute from time. The first half saw limited openings in front of goal at either end as Town matched the Essex side. Ross Staley had Town's best chance when he connected with an Ed Palmer free kick but Clarets keeper Ross Fitzsimons tipped wide while Lloyd Irish was rarely called upon apart from coming quickly off his line to block Elliott Buchanan. Chelmsford began to assert themselves more after the break but chances remained few. Shane White's strike was held by Fitzsimons at his near post whilst Town's defence repelled any threat from the home side, some timely challenges preventing potential damage. Lloyd Irish foiled Shaun Jeffers as the minutes ticked away but in the 89th minutes Town's hopes of earning a second crack were shattered when a long throw from the left by Chris Bush fell amongst a crowd of players and Anthony Church reacted to rifle the ball into the roof of the net and take his side into the First Round Proper. The Peacocks meanwhile can reflect on a breathtaking season in the FA knockouts before resuming their Evo-Stik League campaign at Barnstaple Town on Tuesday. Match report can be viewed HERE and match photos from club photographer Tim Norbury can be viewed HERE. Match photos from Martin Bamforth can be viewed HERE.
Reaction - manager Leigh Robinson remarked:" We're obviously disappointed to lose to such a late goal after fighting so hard to earn a replay which we probably would have merited but I can't fault the players today or throughout our two cup runs as they have given absolutely everything. It was a scrappy game played on one of the smallest pitches we have ever come across which meant chances for both sides were rare as space was very limited. Chelmsford are unbeaten in their league at home this season and play the home pitch very well whilst we struggled to create clear cut opportunities. On reflection though we have played four ties against National League South sides and only conceded two goals which is a hell of an effort but we must now take this much pride in our league defending, something we've struggled with so far this season."
Following various discussions, we can announce that the structure of youth and development football is changing at the club. In a meeting with our Under 18 players and their parents yesterday evening (24th November), the situation of the Club's membership of the Somerset Floodlight Youth League and the Executive Board's recommendation for us to withdraw from the competition was discussed. Subsequently we have tendered our resignation from the League and our youth side will be incorporated into a Development Squad which the club believe is a better long term option to develop players rather than be age restricted to under 18's. We are delighted to announce that our former player and manager Paul West has accepted the invitation to become Development Coach and will be supported by the first team football management and other staff. A full news release will be issued in due course.
Town face another long trip when they travel to Chelmsford City in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy tomorrow (26th November), kick-off 3.00pm. Eleven days after their expedition to Barrow, the Peacocks tackle a 430 mile round trip to Essex looking to cause another upset against a National League outfit. During their epic FA Cup run, Town disposed of two of Chelmsford’s league colleagues in the shape of Hampton & Richmond Borough and Hemel Hempstead Town and will hope to make it a hat trick of victories at the Melbourne Community Stadium tomorrow. However the magnitude of the task is evident, with seventh placed City being undefeated in the league at home this season and boasting an average home crowd of 918, the second highest in the division. Recent form in the National League has been rather sedate, with four draws and a defeat from their last five fixtures although they found their shooting boots in midweek when they won 7-1 at Barking in the Essex Senior Cup. The Peacocks have crossed paths with Chelmsford previously - in 1973 Town lost 4-0 in an FA Trophy replay following a 1-1 draw at the Viridor Stadium whilst the two were also rivals in the Southern League Division One South for two seasons from 1977 to 1979. Town did not lose to the Clarets in their four league meetings, winning and drawing the home fixtures while triumphing in both the away games at their former New Writtle Street Ground which they vacated in 1997.
If Town are to win through tomorrow and add another £4,000 to their FA prize pot, they will have to do it the hard way. Matt Wright picked up his fifth booking of the season at Salisbury last Saturday and is therefore suspended for one game along with Adam Kelly whose one match ban is carried over to tomorrow after the Wimborne game on Tuesday was postponed. Pierce Mitchell is not yet fit to return following his hamstring injury whilst Ryan Batley is unavailable due to work commitments. Manager Leigh Robinson is well aware of the job facing his team. “It’s a tough challenge tomorrow”, he remarked, “but cup football has been our forte this year. To get into the First Round Proper of both the FA Cup and FA Trophy in the same season would be a phenomenal achievement. We’re a bit understrength but have good replacements to come in and crucially will be looking for a far better defensive display than last Saturday.” Town have not reached the 1st Round Proper of the FA Trophy since January 1982 when they ousted Mangotsfield United, Saltash United and Frome Town to earn a tie with Hendon who triumphed comfortably. In 2004 when the Qualifying stages were not active, Town also progressed through three rounds to reach the 3rd Round before bowing out at Worthing.
The Peacocks lost their first match to the weather this season when the game with Wimborne Town scheduled for this evening (22nd November) was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. An 11.30am inspection this morning of the Viridor Stadium pitch, the bottom corner of which resembled a lake yesterday, revealed areas of standing water and with rain continuing to fall there was no option other than to call the match off. A rescheduled date for the fixture will be announced shortly. Meanwhile the rearranged game at Bishops Cleeve on 10th January will have to be rescheduled again due to Cleeve’s involvement in the Southern League Cup that week.