Toby Holmes scored a priceless winner six minutes from time to keep the Peacock’s promotion dream very much alive on a sunny spring afternoon at Privett Park. The win will go down as one of the most satisfying of the season, with Town struggling to make up the numbers against a Borough side still eyeing that final spot in the play-offs and the first half played out against that backdrop but the second half was a different story when the visitors might have won more comfortably had they capitalised on a number of chances.
Already missing a number of the squad for various reasons, preparation was disrupted further when striker Jared Lewington pulled out with Covid on the morning of the game, leaving Town with just two fit outfield players on the bench and the early signs indicated it would be a hard afternoon on the south coast. Rory Williams fired an early strike just over from 30 yards and then Luke Hallett ghosted on to the end of a Williams’ free kick but could only chest the ball straight to Will Buse in the Town goal.
Billie Busari then made ground in from the right to see his shot deflect narrowly wide as the hosts dominated possession in the first quarter of the contest before there was yet more upheaval to the Town team when Joe Budd had to go off with a dead leg to be replaced by Ross Staley. The visitors produced little up front until 26 minutes in when Lloyd James’ threaded a pass into the path of Gethyn Hill, but Hallett managed to block the effort with his leg.
A dangerous Williams’ free kick from the left was then glanced on by Dan Wooden with the ball deflecting safely to Buse before the Peacocks came close to opening the scoring on 34 minutes when Ben Adelsbury’s header found the inside of the post from a Jay Foulston corner, with Town unable to force the ball over the line amidst a crowd of bodies in the ensuing melee. Gosport broke away from this to earn a Williams free kick which deflected wide while Wooden failed to make the most of it when he appeared to be through after a defensive slip. Bradley Tarbuck’s cross was then volleyed well over the top by Matt Briggs as the first 45 minutes concluded with Borough having the better of it overall.
The second half opened with Gosport on the front foot, Tarbuck running from the centre circle to test Buse with a shot from just outside the box, the loose ball falling to Wooden, but Buse was there again to deny him from a narrow angle. The woodwork came to Town’s rescue five minutes in when Tarbuck’s header from a Williams cross hit the base of the post while Harry Kavanagh’s ball into the middle saw Buse unable to claim but Adelsbury was on hand to clear as Borough clearly demonstrated their intent to remain in the play-off mix. However a great chance came and went for the Peacocks to relieve the pressure with a goal at the other end, Joe Guest hooking a pass out to Staley on the left and his cross was guided the wrong side of the post by the oncoming Hill.
The Peacocks were now looking a far more menacing prospect and began to look the likelier side to break the deadlock. Holmes got clear down the left to see his effort clawed wide by Ellis Grant while the Town striker beat a defender on the opposite side and was poised to create more havoc but was crowded out by the home defence. A spell of Gosport pressure saw Wooden miss the target by inches with a clever volley from Kavanagh’s cross, however the clearer opportunities were falling Town’s way. Hill glanced a header wide from Guest’s cross and a lovely pass from James found Holmes in space on the right side of the area, but Grant stood firm to block the shot. Another gilt-edged chance was missed when James’ long pass picked out Staley on the penalty spot, Grant getting down well to turn the shot wide.
With Town now on top, the momentum was towards the Borough goal. Holmes cut in to see his shot blocked, with follow-ups from Guest and Holmes again also suffering the same fate before another ball into the box reached Holmes whose attempt lacked sufficient power to really trouble Grant.
With news filtering through of scores elsewhere, the importance of a goal could not be underestimated but were those missed chances going to haunt the Peacocks? Thankfully not! Urged on by the travelling fans, the Peacocks notched the winner after 84 minutes. Hill flicked a pass to Adelsbury down the right and from his low driven cross Holmes was on hand to steer home from close range to spark joyous scenes.
The Peacocks navigated seven minutes of stoppage time without too much ado to secure a terrific win and their 5th League game without defeat, a result which lifts them up to second spot. Six games to go and Town’s destiny is in their own hands!
Taunton: Will Buse, Joe Budd (Ross Staley 17), Jay Foulston, Ben Adelsbury, Nick Grimes (captain), Lloyd James, Toby Holmes (Harry Warwick 89), Joe Guest, Gethyn Hill, Zac Smith, Ioan Richards. Unused subs: Jake Wannell, Connor Sidley-Adams
Gosport: Ellis Grant, Elliot Wheeler, Rory Williams, Mike Carter (captain) (Siriqui Dembele 83), Ryan Woodford, Matt Briggs, Bradley Tarbuck, Harvey Rew, Dan Wooden, Billie Busari (Harry Kavanagh 45), Luke Hallett (Josh Huggins 88). Unused subs: Seokjae Lee, Rafiq Khaleel
Referee: Alex James (Warrington)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Nigel Whitfield (Ferndown)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Catalin Tanase (Portsmouth)
” We stuck to the task and I think that was really important today….” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Match photos from guest photographer Debbie Gould an be viewed HERE
Albert Goodman MOM
Gethyn Hill receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from young Peacock supporters Logan and Ella Smith along with Club Mascot Wordsworth