Jared Lewington’s 10th goal of the season proved sufficient to maintain the Peacock’s unbeaten run as they claimed the League double over the Magpies. Dorchester had proved a difficult nut to crack earlier in the season when Town scraped through with a 2-1 win and the contest at the Avenue Stadium was no different, Lewington’s header being the reward for some excellent football in the first half before the hosts clawed themselves back into the game after the break when the Peacocks had to show their defensive mettle.
With defender Jake Wannell ruled out with a hand injury, the side had to be shuffled following Monday’s win over Tiverton, with Zac Smith stepping back into the team on the right. A wet afternoon did not deter a sizeable travelling support from making the journey into Dorset and they saw their team make a confident start on the 3G pitch. Ross Stearn’s cross was deflected to Magpies’ keeper Jack Bycroft before the first opening came after three minutes, Chamberlain crossing from the left to find Lewington who glanced a header wide of the target.
The first home foray saw Will Buse claim a Tiago Sa cross, but it was the visitors who were looking much the better side going forward. After Chamberlain had a low shot from the edge of the box held by Bycroft, the Magpies’ keeper was beaten after 17 minutes when the Peacocks scored what proved to be the winner. A break down the right saw Zac Smith curl in an enticing cross which Lewington skilfully headed across Bycroft into the far corner.
Town were spraying the ball around nicely with Lloyd James instrumental in the middle and it was from his cross that Town came close again, the ball reaching Chamberlain whose strike from the left took a deflection and Bycroft tipped over. Another Chamberlain centre across goal couldn’t pick out a teammate while James had an effort blocked before the only real moment of concern for Town in the opening period came just past the half hour mark when Olaf Koszela got clear from the middle and despite rounding Buse, the Peacocks’ custodian managed to intervene and claim the ball. A brief flurry from the home side before the interval led to Koszela’s shot being blocked by Jay Foulston but Town were well worth their lead at the break.
The visitors were forced to make a change ahead of the action resuming, birthday boy Gethyn Hill coming on for Toby Holmes who had seemed to jar his ankle on the plastic surface towards the end of the first half. Town’s goalscorer Lewington soon followed with a knock, and he was replaced by Dan Sullivan whose first contribution was a goalbound shot which deflected for a throw-in. Chamberlain, who had a fine game on the flank, also fired in an effort which went wide while a good build-up on the left ended with Stearn’s strike from the edge of the box, but the effort proved a routine stop for Bycroft. Stearn did have the ball in the net soon after, latching onto Chamberlain’s lofted pass, but the flag was already raised for offside.
Town made their third and final substitution when Joe Budd replaced Stearn and he was soon involved, having a low shot held by Bycroft after the ball had fallen loose from Chamberlain’s cross. Dorchester though were having more possession as the half progressed and with only a single goal advantage there was always a chance for the hosts but the Town defence were more than equal to what they had to offer. Pressure from the Magpies saw Alfie Stanley neatly turn on the edge of the area and curl a shot narrowly past the post and Buse then easily held a strike from Tom Purrington. At the opposite end, the Peacocks couldn’t engineer a second to make the game safe, Nick Grimes heading wide from a James free kick.
There were some nervy moments as the final minutes ticked away, Chamberlain receiving the only booking of the game, but the free kick came to nothing, before six minutes of stoppage time were signalled. Quite where that amount of added time came from is a mystery and tempers became more heated two minutes into stoppage when Joe Guest’s pass over the top found Sullivan whose drive from 16 yards was clearly palmed over the top by keeper Bycroft. Referee Clinton mystifyingly awarded a goal kick instead, angering fans, players, and management alike which culminated in Rob Dray and Jared Lewington being sent from the bench. Buse had to make one final save, clutching a Koszela shot from the edge of the box but the Peacocks had done enough to chalk off another win and keep their interest very much alive in 6th spot.
Taunton: Will Buse, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Toby Holmes (Gethyn Hill 45), Joe Guest, Ross Stearn (Joe Budd 67), Zac Smith, Jared Lewington (Dan Sullivan 51), Ioan Richards. Unused subs: Ben Adelsbury, Ross Staley
Dorchester: Jack Bycroft, Oakley Hanger, Tiago Sa, Tom Soares, Ashley Wells, Callum Buckley (captain), Tom Purrington, Charlie Gunson (Alfie Stanley 45), Olaf Koszela, Sam Bayston (Billy Stedman 62), Billy Lowes (Josh Bertie 79). Unused subs: Ashley Guppy, Connor Callow
Referee: Niall Clinton (Poole)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Antony Smith (Christchurch)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Alex Rush-Fear (Bournemouth)
“I was really really pleased with the lads today….” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Match photos from club photographer Ashely Harris can be viewed HERE
Albert Goodman MOM
Lloyd James receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from representatives of Ruishton Under 9’s who were Matchday Mascots for the Wimborne Town game