Writing (and quite probably reading) this report may be an ordeal, much as it was watching the Peacocks’ first ever visit to Theobalds Lane. The positive is that Town secured another point on the road at a ground where runaway leaders Ebbsfleet have come unstuck this season and although the full three points were within reach, the visitors could not pierce a robust Ambers’ defence and one could argue a draw was the most either side deserved from a really ugly affair.
Jack Bycroft returned between the sticks for the Peacocks but Dan Ball was ill, meaning a reshuffle from the midweek defeat to Hampton. And Town made a bright enough start, with Ollie Chamberlain and Dave Sims-Burgess linking up well, before the hosts settled and posted the first effort when Emmanuel Maja fired over. Lee Lucas then blocked a shot from Alfie Cue while Cue’s long throw into the box deflected onto the roof of the net before Town won their first corner on the quarter hour which ended with the referee’s whistle after an infringement.
Sims-Burgess was again trying to make things happen but had little change out of both the imposing Cheshunt back line and the poor uneven playing surface. After the Town No 20 was brought down, the free kick from Lucas hit the wall before the clearest opening of the half came when Joe Guest’s cutback went behind Ross Stearn in the middle and the ball was played back to Sims-Burgess for a strike over the bar. A forward run from Ambers’ centre half Taylor McKenzie set up Maja who fired woefully wide, ending 45 minutes of erosion with defences very much on top.
The dial on the entertainmentometer remained unmoved for the second half which got off to a feisty start when Isaac Pitblado was cautioned for a poor challenge on Chamberlain, setting off some unpleasantries between the benches. Some of the decisions made by the officials were also raising blood pressures, a blatant push on Sims-Burgess on the right obviously deemed legal being an example. Although clear chances were rare, the momentum of the game was swinging in Town’s favour but they were unable to force home keeper Adam Desbois into a save. Stearn blasted over the bar from a Nat Jarvis pass while Jarvis himself screwed badly wide after Jay Foulston had made a weaving run into the Cheshunt box.
Dylan Morgan replaced Stearn just past the hour, but the match continued in its own scrappy way. The home side created their best chance after a break down the left saw Zack Newton’s cross met by Reece Beckles-Richards who directed just wide of the target. Bycroft was having one of his quietest games of the season though with very little threat coming from the hosts while Desbois was only marginally busier at the other end, his only real moment of exertion coming when he tipped over a Nick Grimes volley at the back post after Jake Wannell had flicked on a Lloyd James free kick but the flag was up for offside.
Cheshunt won their first corner after 79 minutes which was cleared before the visitors enjoyed much the better of the latter stages without finding the elusive final touch. Good work from Chamberlain saw his cross laid back for Foulston to Wannell for him to try his luck with a ground shot held by Desbois. Nick McCootie who had replaced Jarvis earlier also squeezed an effort to the Ambers’ keeper before some late pressure failed to break the stalemate. Sims-Burgess and Foulston had successive shots blocked while two late corners raised hopes among the Peacocks’ faithful, the second of which saw Wannell’s header held safely by Desbois, the last piece of goalmouth activity from 95 minutes of grimness.
A welcome clean sheet for Town and with a bit more cutting edge and luck up the other end they might have snuck it. No time to dwell on this one though as the Peacocks regroup for 15 more battles in the next seven weeks.
Taunton: Jack Bycroft, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Jake Wannell, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis (Nick McCootie 70), Joe Guest, Ross Stearn (Dylan Morgan 63), Dave Sims-Burgess, Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Zac Smith, Cameron Evans, Lloyd Irish
Cheshunt: Adam Desbois, Bill Cracknell, Isaac Pitblado, Fraser Alexander (Josh Popoola 88), Taylor McKenzie, Raul Da Silva Fernandes, Reece Beckles-Richards, Lewis Hobbs, Alfie Cue (Zack Newton 59), Zech Obiero, Emmanuel Maja. Unused subs: Jordon Thompson, Diadier Camara, Preston Edwards
Referee: George Laflin (Stowmarket)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jeffrey Aldous (Shefford)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Samuel Lee (Daventry)
“A lot of the things that I wanted after Tuesday were in our performance today……” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match Highlights to follow
Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE
Mind In Somerset MOM
Jake Wannell receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Peacocks’ supporter Mark Timbury