What an afternoon at Imber Court as the Peacocks took another massive step towards Step 2 football with a vital win over their promotion rivals. Encouraged by a passionate travelling support, Town managed to recover from falling behind with only twenty minutes or so left to record their first ever win at the Police ground and leave themselves three games away from creating history.
Coaches Michael Meaker and Connor Sidley-Adams again took the reins in the absence of Rob Dray and Matt Villis, and made two changes from the side that had suffered a setback against Truro in midweek, Toby Holmes swapping places with Jared Lewington while Ross Staley came into midfield, replacing Ioan Richards. With so much at stake, both sides made a reserved start. Town had their initial foray five minutes in, a Lloyd James’ cross being scrambled clear for Joe Budd to return into the middle where Toby Holmes’ header landed on the roof of the net. Ollie Knight’s free kick then took a deflection to earn the hosts a corner while another set piece from the same player was just too far in front of Jack Mazzone to cause any damage as the game settled down.
A decent phase of play on the right saw Holmes flick James’ cross off to Staley whose strike was parried by Met keeper Liam Beach, however the assistant’s flag was already raised, a common occurrence during a stop-start 45 minutes which never really hit the heights. David Titov’s cross for the home side was cleared as far as Rudy Allen who saw his shot blocked before the match was punctuated with stoppages to allow treatment for firstly Jay Foulston, then Met skipper Oli Robinson and finally Gethyn Hill.
When play did manage to continue for a period, Town enjoyed a spell of pressure but couldn’t make the breakthrough. Hill teed up Joe Guest for a shot which was blocked, and a James corner was recycled by Man Of The Match Guest but the well-placed header from Peacocks’ captain Nick Grimes was chalked out for offside before Ben Adelsbury headed a James’ free kick over the bar. The Police then had a turn at the other end, Liam Ferdinand releasing Knight whose effort was comfortably pouched by Will Buse for his first save of the afternoon while Ferdinand’s shot from the edge of the box deflected conveniently to Frith who prodded wide of the target.
The opening 45 minutes ended with a comedy moment as the sprinklers popped up and started watering the pitch, the most memorable moment of an unremarkable first half which ended with another stoppage after a melee between camps on the touchline, the end result being yellow cards for Grimes and Mazzone.
The second half began with the hosts looking lively without really troubling Town too much. In fact, the Peacocks had needed to work harder in their two previous games against Weston and Truro, both of whom had asked more questions. Foulston snuffed out a dangerous cross from Knight before Adelsbury’s vertical clearance fell to Allen whose attempt deflected to Ferdinand but his shot from ten yards lacked sufficient venom to worry Buse. The Town keeper then saved well from Frith, but the whistle had already gone for a foul beforehand. The Peacocks weren’t having much luck either. Will Wickham’s back header just had enough legs to stop Holmes from capitalising while Wickham cleared Hill’s byeline cross before Beach clutched Hill’s header from Zac Smith’s cross.
Staley was replaced by Lewington with twenty to go as the finishing continued to lack conviction with Buse holding Knight’s tame shot. However that changed on 71 minutes when the home side went ahead, Louis Birch getting on the end of Frith’s corner to head past Buse. With Hayes and Farnborough both leading, the Town faithful knew they would need something special to retrieve the situation. And they got it. The Met goal flicked a switch in the Peacock machine as they started to turn up the pressure. The battling Hill, who fought for every cause, managed to squeeze a shot into the side netting from a tight angle before the visitors grabbed the equaliser after 78 minutes. James swung in a free kick which Lewington knocked down and Holmes was on to it in a flash to drive home clinically inside Beach’s right-hand post. The Met keeper was then forced to palm away Grimes’ volley at his near post which led to the corner from which Town turned the tables in the space of four minutes. Foulston’s deep delivery to the far post came off the head of Grimes and Budd reacted to poke the ball over the line and send the Peacock fans behind the goal delirious, myself included 😁
The Peacocks were in no mood to let the Met back into the game as they controlled the last few minutes plus three of stoppage. A James’ corner was nodded wide by Lewington who then hooked a ball forward for Holmes to chase, his strike finding the bottom corner but no goal as he was penalised for pushing Bernie Tanner to win the ball. Euphoria at the final whistle as the players celebrated with the fans on a dramatic afternoon with potentially more to come in the final days of the season. Up The Peacocks!!
Taunton: Will Buse, Joe Budd, Jay Foulston, Ben Adelsbury, Nick Grimes (captain), Lloyd James, Toby Holmes (Harry Warwick 90), Joe Guest, Gethyn Hill, Zac Smith, Ross Staley (Jared Lewington 69). Unused subs: Lewis Smith, Michael Meaker, Ioan Richards
Met Police: Liam Beach, David Titov (Jasper Mather 87), Alex Fisher, Oli Robinson (captain) (Will Wickham 45), Bernie Tanner, Rudy Allen, Oliver Knight, Louis Birch, Jack Mazzone, Liam Ferdinand, George Frith (Sam De St Croix 89). Unused subs: Herson Alves, Jonathan Hippolyte
Referee: Robert Ablitt (Fareham)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Andrew Dunn (Portsmouth)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Harry Redman (Fareham)
” We’ve got belief, they can go and do this…..” watch Michael Meaker’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Albert Goodman MOM
Joe Guest receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Media Man Dan Howell