A second successive away victory on a 3G pitch cemented the Peacocks’ promotion credentials as they inflicted the Ram’s first home defeat at Holloways Park in six games. The win was anchored on a superb defensive performance which ensured that Dan Sullivan’s goal just before the interval was sufficient to claim another three points on the road.
Zac Smith and Jay Foulston both returned to the visitors’ side and with Jared Lewington not fit, Dan Sullivan partnered Gethyn Hill up front with Ross Stearn just in behind, and it was Stearn who posted the first effort of the game after two minutes with a shot from distance that flew narrowly wide as Town enjoyed a brisk start. Sullivan then battled well to win the ball and find Hill who steered wide of the target while Joe Guest’s cross reached Sullivan who chested down to volley inches wide of the far post from the right side of the box.
Beaconsfield withstood Town’s early flurry to start launching their own attacks. Dan Bradshaw stretched but failed to connect with Ryan De Havilland’s ball in from the left and Nathan Minhas saw a strike deflect over before Will Buse was called into action for the first time, diving to palm away Kaine Kennedy-Sinclair’s shot from 20 yards. Callum Webb then surged forward to curl an effort wide of the post. Town knew they had a job on their hands against an impressive Rams side who were looking to make amends for their 7-1 defeat earlier in the campaign at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium, and the Peacocks’ cause was not helped just before the half hour when Smith had to go off with a muscle strain, Joe Budd coming on to replace.
The home side continued to knock on the door, Kennedy-Sinclair getting past his man but seeing his shot blocked and another break ending with Nathan Minhas crossing to brother Aaron who fired high over the top. An eventful five minutes before half time turned out to settle the outcome of the game. Stearn broke through the middle after 42 minutes, but keeper Ryan Hall was equal to the strike as he dived to push aside before a free kick from Bradshaw at the opposite end was safely clutched by Buse. With 45 on the clock, the decisive moment arrived, and it stemmed from a mistake. Keeper Hall’s short goal kick went astray as his intended target Keano Robinson slipped over, allowing Stearn to take control, reach the edge of the box and slip a pass to Sullivan on the right who dinked a neat finish into the far corner to the delight of the travelling faithful.
The goal was just the tonic Town needed as they knew they would face more of the same from the Rams in the second half but also knowing they had the forward power to add to their tally which they came close to with their opening attack when play resumed, Hill’s backheel finding Sullivan who fired over the angle from the left side of the area. The injury curse then reared its ugly head again when Foulston collided with an opposing forward and had to be substituted by Ross Staley.
With half an hour to go Town ideally needed a second to steady the nerves and weren’t far off when Ollie Chamberlain won the ball on the right to dart forward and drill a shot just over the bar. Beaconsfield’s strong frontline meanwhile continued to cause problems. Oliver Sprague’s scooped free kick downfield found Nathan Minhas who did well to control and flash a deflected shot across the face of goal while a long punt from Luke Neville, who received an award for club appearances before kick-off, found Aaron Minhas but Buse was there to touch away his shot from 15 yards.
Town’s efforts on the counter were often well-executed but just missed that finishing touch to kill the game off. Budd and Stearn linked up well to win a corner which was punched clear by Hall while Sullivan’s cross carried too much pace for Hill to connect. Aaron Minhas fired a shot wide as the hosts kept plugging away but could not breach a herculean defence, and in the final ten minutes the best opportunities went the Peacocks’ way. Budd sent a snapshot wide of the far post, Hill snatched at Guest’s knockdown to fire too high, and then a great cross from Hill was nodded down by Guest but Holmes couldn’t get a shot away from close range. Town had to see out eight minutes of stoppage time which they did without too many concerns to claim a fifth consecutive League victory and extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to a dozen games as they now look forward to two home games on proper grass.
Taunton: Will Buse, Jay Foulston (Ross Staley 58), Ben Adelsbury, Nick Grimes (captain), Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Dan Sullivan, Joe Guest, Ross Stearn (Toby Holmes 77), Gethyn Hill, Zac Smith (Joe Budd 27). Unused subs: Ioan Richards, Connor Sidley-Adams
Beaconsfield: Ryan Hall, Callum Webb, Oliver Sprague, Keano Robinson, Luke Neville (Bajram Pashaj 79), Ryan De Havilland, Dan Bradshaw, Jordan Ajanlekoko (Dylan Kearney 85), Nathan Minhas, Aaron Minhas, Kaine Kennedy-Sinclair (Olly McCoy 72). Unused subs: Jordan Aghatise, James Clark
Referee: Daniel Simpson (West Drayton)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jonathan Was (West Drayton)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Thomas Healy (London)
“We had to do an awful lot of defending today, the back five were absolutely superb…” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match Highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Albert Goodman MOM
Ben Adelsbury receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Peacocks supporter Dave Webster