Job done ☑ Another professional performance guided the Peacocks to their 10th successive League victory at a blustery Cygnet Health Care Stadium. Facing the conditions in the first half, Town still managed to hold the advantage at the break before quickly adding a second and although the Greens reduced the arrears, a special from Ross Stearn confirmed an impressive 13th home success from 15 games.
A couple of team tweaks from the previous outing against Swindon Supermarine were implemented as the Peacocks looked to gain recompense for their 2-0 reverse in North London earlier in the season, Dan Sullivan and Jared Lewington replacing Joe Budd and Prince Henry. However much of the early possession went the visitors’ way as they won two corners which came to nothing. The hosts saw their first glimpse of goalmouth action on the quarter hour when Jay Foulston’s free kick was cleared to Lloyd James who picked out Stearn in the box, but his effort had the sting taken out of it by a defender and rolled timidly to keeper Ethan Wady.
Will Buse made the first real save of the contest when he dived to parry a 25 yard strike from Eren Kinali, the clearance falling to Christian Smith who fired high and wide. Goalscoring opportunities though tended to remain few and far between for both sides. Hendon, with the wind in their favour, found some of their forward passes overhit while Town were struggling to generate fluency against the elements before an opening goal after 32 minutes finally brought the game to life. Stearn found Zac Smith out wide on the right and his cross to the far post was met by Foulston’s volley which Wady could only partially block as the ball found the corner of the net.
James’ cross was cleared as far as Foulston who drilled a right-footer over the bar while Lewington’s header was bread and butter for Wady to collect as the home side warmed to the task while Smith wasn’t too far away when he fired another long range shot wide for the Greens. The wind had died down when the teams re-emerged for the second half and within five minutes the Peacocks had doubled their lead. They had come mightily close already two minutes in when a long kick downfield from Buse reached Sullivan who was unlucky to see his half volley from the corner of the six yard box stroke the face of the crossbar. A goal wasn’t long in coming though, a James corner on 49 minutes squeezing past the near post and Jake Wannell stooping to steer the ball over the line from close range amidst a cluster of bodies.
Hendon were still not out of the game though, with some tidy approach play needing the Town defence to remain ever vigilant. Liam Brooks square pass teed up Kinali for a shot which Buse safely gathered while another dangerous Kinali run was eventually snuffed out. A Town break saw Sullivan feed Smith whose strike was deflected narrowly over before the visitors gave themselves hope with a goal after 63 minutes. Tafari Moore made ground to find Hamza Semakula on the edge of the box and although it appeared at first that Buse had leaped to turn the shot over, it was insufficient to stop the ball hitting the net.
Both sides traded long range strikes, Sullivan for Taunton, and Smith for the visitors, but both failed to find the target before Lewington got clear on the left but neither Stearn or Sullivan could get a shot away. A fantastic goal from Stearn then settled any nerves on 69 minutes. Wannell’s deep free kick was nodded into the middle by Nick Grimes to find Stearn who chested down and took a touch before delivering a perfectly executed bicycle kick into the opposite corner.
A rock solid Town defence continued to rebuff any attacks although the Greens thought they had reduced the deficit with just under 15 minutes left on the clock when Kinali’s cross was touched in by Joe White via the post, however an assistant’s flag abruptly cut short their celebration. The match drifted towards its conclusion with both teams using all three substitutions. Joe Guest, as dependable as ever, released one of Town’s subs Prince Henry but Quba Gordon was quick to intervene at the expense of a corner. That aside there was little else of note in the final stages as the Peacocks secured another priceless win towards their relentless pursuit of promotion.
Taunton: Will Buse, Jay Foulston, Ben Adelsbury, Nick Grimes (captain), Jake Wannell, Lloyd James, Dan Sullivan (Prince Henry 78), Joe Guest, Ross Stearn (Joe Budd 86), Zac Smith, Jared Lewington (Toby Holmes 68). Unused subs: Ross Staley, Ioan Richards
Hendon: Ethan Wady, Joshua Okotcha, Tafari Moore, Matt Hall, Christian Smith (Anis Nuur 77), Quba Gordon, Jayden Clarke, Hamza Semakula, Joe White, Liam Brooks (captain) (Luca Allinson 86), Eren Kinali (Hani Berchiche 86). Unused subs: Sam Corcoran, Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway
Referee: Samuel Fudge (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Paul Collier (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Ali Hajiali (Bristol)
“It was very hard to defend, the back five were outstanding today…” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Albert Goodman MOM
Lloyd James receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Lee Gibbs and his son Rory from Matchball Sponsor Gibbs Glazing