The contentment from the opening day win over Braintree was blown away in the Essex wind as the Peacocks capitulated to their second heaviest defeat since joining the National League. The visitors never got to grips with the gusty conditions, the 3G pitch or their well-organised opponents who made it a memorable first ever home game at Step 2 following their promotion from the Isthmian League.
Town were unchanged from the Braintree game, but it soon became apparent that this contest was going to be a different kettle of fish. Unfortunately, there was no prime fillet of salmon for the visitors, only sprats. The early exchanges were fairly even, Lloyd James finding the arms of Millers’ keeper Jonathan North with a free kick while John Benton arrowed an effort over the far post for the hosts before the Peacocks had their first real sight of goal on 12 minutes, Malachi Linton being felled on the edge of the box, but James’ free kick was again straight at North who held safely.
With the elements in their favour, Aveley began to increasingly press forward and came close to breaking the deadlock on the quarter hour, a ball into the box falling to Kenny Aileru whose close range shot was kept out by a superb block by keeper Dan Lavercombe, the rebound deflecting back towards goal off Charlee Hughes to skim the post and go wide. However, the scoreboard soon clicked into activity after 18 minutes. Matt Rush was adjudged to have been brought down by Cameron Evans as he moved in from the right and Siju Odelusi confidently converted from the penalty spot.
The Peacocks promised in fits and starts, a James corner being flicked on by Nat Jarvis to fall for Austen Booth beyond the far post, but he failed to connect, then a decent build-up saw Zac Smith feed Dylan Morgan who did well to carve out enough space for a shot which didn’t get through. Generally though Town lacked cohesion going forward and all too often resorted to the wallop upfield which caused few concerns for the Millers’ defence whereas the visitors’ backline had their hands more occupied coping with some incisive home forays. The impressive Benton found space down the left to whip in a cross for Garrett Kelly to find the side netting with a header, then Hughes broke swiftly to find Rush whose angled strike hit the far post.
With four minutes to the interval, Town drew level out of the blue. Good work by Smith on the left saw him rob the ball off an Aveley defender to feed Linton who moved inside and pulled the trigger and despite the effort lacking venom North didn’t get his body behind it and the ball squirmed past him into the net. All good then and back in it…… not for long though as frustratingly the home side restored their lead three minutes later. Aveley again got the ball into the mix, with an apparent foul against Evans being ignored, and the Town defence were slow to react as Odelusi lashed home his finish into the far corner from 12 yards.
Unfortunately for the travelling Town support, there was no improvement after the break. If anything the performance became even more ragged. Aveley were on the front foot early doors, a quick break from Aileru ending with Benton launching a first time shot narrowly over the top before play was halted for treatment to Joe Guest and Nick Grimes who worryingly clashed heads, and after Town had defended two more corners Guest had to be replaced by Ross Stearn. The day out in Essex then deteriorated further on 69 minutes when the Millers effectively sealed the points. An excellent run from Aileru saw him progress into the Town box and the loose ball found Hughes who fired home for a 3-1 lead.
Dave Sims-Burgess immediately replaced Jarvis before North had to make his only recognized save of the 90 minutes. After Peacock handball appeals were dismissed, James returned the ball into the middle where Stearn posted a shot which deflected off Aveley skipper Harry Gibbs and forced North to change direction and push the ball wide for a corner. Stearn then sent a snapshot wide of the far post while an Evans attempt from a James corner was blocked. Chances of a miraculous comeback were never on the cards though as Aveley searched to add to their goal tally. Aileru got free down the right and found Hughes inside whose drilled shot was brilliantly tipped over by Lavercombe who then clutched a header from Jalen Jones following a Benton corner.
Eight minutes of stoppage time provided further pain for the Peacocks. A run from substitute Nana Kyei was halted just outside the box at the expense of a free kick and Odelusi curled a peach over the wall and into the corner of the net with Lavercombe rooted to the spot four minutes in and it could have become even worse when Kelly played Kyei through but a superb tackle from Evans snuffed out the danger as he looked odds-on to add a fifth.
There can be no disputing that Aveley were worthy winners over a Peacocks side who were second best on the day and who can take no real positives from a substandard performance. The team will be well aware though and now look to regroup for the next challenge at Weymouth. Keep the faith! #UpThePeacocks
Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Nick Grimes (captain), Austen Booth, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis (Dave Sims-Burgess 69), Joe Guest (Ross Stearn 63), Zac Smith, Cameron Evans, Dylan Morgan, Malachi Linton (Nick McCootie 76). Unused subs: Rabby Tabu Minzamba, Marcus Day
Aveley: Jonathan North, Jason Ring, Jon Nzengo, Siju Odelusi, Jalen Jones, Harry Gibbs (captain), Matt Rush (Connor Witherspoon 78), Garrett Kelly, Charlee Hughes, John Benton (Eduino Vaz 88), Kenny Aileru (Nana Kyei 88). Unused subs: Alex Hernandez, Tommy Davis
Referee: Emily Heaslip (Bury St Edmunds)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Tom Wyatt (London)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Bogdan Khimych (London)
“It was a scrap and we didn’t scrap hard enough and clever enough today, and that’s the long and short of it……..” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Unfortunately no match highlights are available
Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM
Malachi Linton was named the Taunton Town Man Of The Match, photo to follow