Five weeks to go in this intriguing Southern League season and the Peacocks took another big step towards potential glory with a vital win over promotion rivals Chesham. The final scoreline though does not really reflect the afternoon’s events as Town will know they played a get out of jail free card against their Buckinghamshire visitors who deserved some reward from the game on the balance of play. However, games aren’t won on possession or attractive football as the Peacocks again found a way to record their 15th win in 17 competitive matches.
Head of Football Rob Dray named an unchanged starting line-up from the previous weekend against then leaders Hayes & Yeading when his side had been unlucky not to win but it proved a different affair on a sunny afternoon at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium. The tone was set straight from the kick-off when Jay Foulston’s pass was intercepted, freeing Conrad Lucan to run on and launch a shot just over the bar. Town then won their first corner from which Chesham broke, Zak Joseph releasing Francis Jno-Baptiste, but Will Buse was out quickly to gather. Buse was forced to turn Lewis Rolfe’s strike wide at his near post as the visitors continued their good start and from the resultant corner Lucan volleyed over while a poor pass gave Jno-Baptiste a shooting opportunity which was held by Buse.
Despite their promising start, the visitors found themselves trailing after 17 minutes with Town scoring from their first attempt on goal. Ross Stearn was fouled on the left and from Lloyd James’ free kick Ben Adelsbury’s header hit the turf and bounced over the dive of Generals’ keeper Sam, Beasant, son of former Wimbledon shotstopper Dave. The lead was short-lived though as Chesham drew level within the minute, breaking from the resumption for Joseph to feed Rolfe on the left and from his cross Bradley Clayton swept his finish inside Buse’s right-hand post.
A timely intervention by a Chesham defender then blocked off a Stearn effort after Joe Guest had chested down Joe Budd’s delivery while Beasant watched Zac Smith’s header from the left bounce into the side netting, but it was the visitors who were looking the more cohesive side going forward despite having to make two substitutions during the first half. Clayton curled a free kick narrowly over the bar and Buse easily held a low shot from Alison Ferreira De Paiva as the Generals ended the opening period on top.
Any notions that the windy conditions might have favoured Chesham in the first half and Town would prosper more after the break were soon dispelled. An early Foulston corner was cleared as far as Budd whose strike was saved by Beasant, but it was Chesham again who began better as they buzzed around the Taunton box, Clayton’s neatly improvised half volley just clearing the bar and landing on the roof of the net. The best run of the game from a Town man then led to the controversial goal which regained the lead for the hosts on 64 minutes, Smith producing a superb burst in from the left before he was felled just outside the box. Stearn hit the free kick well, but Beasant was equal to it as he palmed the ball away for a corner which Foulston sent deep and when it was recycled back in by Smith from the left, Nick Grimes’ looping header was blocked as it looked to be sneaking in. Adelsbury’s follow-up header was directed towards the corner and despite Ferreira De Paiva’s attempt to keep it out and the protests from the Chesham team, the officials ruled it had crossed the line.
New signing Harry Warwick immediately replaced Toby Holmes, however Chesham, fuelled by their perceived injustice, renewed their pressure on the Peacocks’ goal. Rolfe picked out Lucan in space in the middle and Buse did well to turn aside his shot for a corner which Town struggled to clear, the danger ending when Clayton planted his header wide of the target from Ronny Mfinda’s cross. The Peacocks came close to adding daylight to their lead, Stearn putting Warwick in the clear, but Beasant did well to touch the low effort past the post.
Chesham upped the ante further as the game entered the final stages, introducing long throws from Jordan Gibbons into their artillery. Clayton miskicked from a decent position and then a Gibbons’ throw was flicked on, Buse managing to clutch Jno-Baptiste’s header as Town dug in defensively. Adelsbury had another header safely collected by Beasant as the game entered stoppage time, with Chesham keeping up the pressure. Mark Kirby couldn’t get enough power on his header to trouble Buse and nerves jangled a bit more as added time was extended following treatment for Grimes. 98 minutes had elapsed when Town made sure. Beasant ventured upfield for a last ditch corner and when Guest headed clear, Warwick was onto the ball, showing great pace and skill to beat one man and find Stearn in the centre who calmly sidestepped Joshua Bohui to fire into the open net.
Not a great performance but a great result against a strong side and one of their rivals for honours. Hopefully, the winning mentality will endure for the remaining seven massive games.
Taunton: Will Buse, Joe Budd, Jay Foulston, Ben Adelsbury, Nick Grimes (captain) (Ioan Richards 90+5), Lloyd James, Toby Holmes (Harry Warwick 66), Joe Guest, Ross Stearn, Zac Smith, Jared Lewington (Gethyn Hill 86). Unused subs: Ross Staley, Connor Sidley-Adams
Chesham: Sam Beasant, Jeanmal Prosper (Alison Ferreira De Paiva 30), Lewis Rolfe, Mark Kirby, Eoin Casey, Roddy Collins, Bradley Clayton, Jordan Gibbons, Zak Joseph (Ronny Mfinda 20) (Joshua Bohui 80) , Francis Jno-Baptiste, Conrad Lucan. Unused subs: Steve Brown, Kieran Murphy
Referee: James Gould (Plymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Lee Roberts (Plymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Alan Bassett (Plymouth)
“It’s a massive massive win, in the context of the league, in context of the games to go….” watch the Match Reaction from Rob Dray and Michael Meaker 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 Coach Gareth Parsons and representatives of Matchday Mascots Tone Youth Under 8’s