Dylan Morgan’s second half goal steered the Peacocks to a hard-earned point on the Dorset coast. A full-blooded encounter in one of Town’s more local games this season saw the Terras ahead at the break and given the complexion of the first half it was hard to argue the lead wasn’t deserved. However the Peacocks improved after the interval, enjoying their best spell midway through the half before manning the defences to repel a final Weymouth charge.
Still missing the injured Dan Ball and long-term absentee Jay Foulston, Town emerged onto the Bob Lucas Stadium pitch without two more key players, with both Joe Guest and Malachi Linton not fit to play following the weekend match at Aveley. Lee Lucas stepped back in for his first game of the season after returning from holiday while Dave Sims-Burgess came in for Linton.
The opening quarter passed by with neither side able to make any real inroads in front of a 1252 crowd. Town were first to show when an Ollie Chamberlain cross fell to Morgan whose shot from a tight angle found the side netting inside two minutes before a succession of deliveries from both teams only succeeded in finding the opposition goalkeeper over the next twenty minutes or so. Peacocks’ No 1 Dan Lavercombe fielded a cross from Calvin Brooks and then launched himself to punch away a Joel Rollinson free kick while Terras’ custodian Gerard Benfield safely claimed Town’s opening corner from Lloyd James and a Cameron Evans centre before snaffling a Nat Jarvis cross.
With play scrappy at times, defences remained on top as chances remained limited. Town briefly menaced when a promising break from Morgan led to Sims-Burgess and Chamberlain having successive efforts blocked while Benfield parried a 25 yard Lucas free kick and Morgan flashed a strike across the face of goal, mixed in with the frustratingly hopeful long ball. Much of Weymouth’s threat was instigated by summer signing Rollinson who linked up well with his new teammates as they probed for a way through. One such break led to Lavercombe diving to clutch a Rollinson cross who then fired a free kick from the right flank straight into the keeper’s arms.
Lavercombe produced another solid save to hold a Brandon Goodship effort from just outside the box before finally being beaten after 36 minutes, a Rollinson corner from the left being deftly headed inside the post by close season recruit Dan Roberts. Lucas blasted high and wide following a cleared James’ free kick, however the Terras had the game in their grip as half time approached. Goodship got on the end of David Sesay’s low driven cross to fire over before Sesay demonstrated how to deliver a long ball, a superb diagonal pass finding Rollinson who cut inside to drill a shot off the post, the follow-up from Brooks deflecting for a corner.
Chamberlain retired with a tight hamstring during four minutes of added time, being replaced by Marcus Day making his competitive debut for the Peacocks while some spice was added to proceedings when a challenge between Evans and Josh McQuoid sparked raised temperatures on the benches, the outcome of which resulted in yellow cards for both managers. Jarvis also failed to reappear for the second half, with Nick McCootie taking over before Town used up their quota of subs within five minutes when Ross Stearn took over from Sims-Burgess.
The opening 15 minutes witnessed no real chances, with the hosts having most of the possession before the momentum began to swing after the hour. Town’s best move to date saw Lucas chip a pass to Zac Smith who made ground inside and squared to James whose first time strike from the edge of the box was blocked by Benfield, the rebound landing for McCootie who set up Day to find the far corner of the net, but the flag had long been raised for offside. The equaliser wasn’t far away though. Benfield’s drop kick was headed back upfield by Nick Grimes, Stearn flicked on and suddenly Morgan was through, keeping clear of the Terras defender breathing down his neck to dart round Benfield and roll the ball home into the empty net. 65 minutes played and game on.
Weymouth responded with a bout of pressure as they injected some fresh legs with a trio of substitutions in the space of five minutes, but Town remained defiant in defence and thought they had taken the lead with just under ten minutes to play. Great work from Smith on the left gave him a chance for a pop at goal which found Stearn who turned to rifle home into the roof of the net. Offside Flag 2 Peacocks 0.
A deep free kick found Austen Booth, but his knockdown was just too far in front of McCootie, the last real opening for the visitors who were forced to man the pumps for the final stages. Frankie Monk’s cross was cleared as far as Leo Hamblin who saw his shot deflect for a corner while Lavercombe punched clear a Rollinson free kick and then pushed aside Monk’s effort as it threatened to creep in at his near post, the resultant corner nearly producing a late winner when Anthony Cheshire’s flick hit the post. A free kick into the box caused further stress as four minutes of stoppage actually translated into six and a half, but Lavercombe and the Peacocks defence answered all the questions to hold firm and secure a creditable draw.
Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Nick Grimes (captain), Austen Booth, Ollie Chamberlain (Marcus Day 45+2), Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis (Nick McCootie 46), Zac Smith, Cameron Evans, Dave Sims-Burgess (Ross Stearn 49), Dylan Morgan, Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Rabby Tabu Minzamba, Lloyd Irish
Weymouth: Gerard Benfield, Calvin Brooks (Scott Rees 78), Leo Hamblin, Anthony Cheshire, Charlie Rowan, David Sesay (Keelan O’Connell 74), Tom Bearwish (captain), Dan Roberts, Brandon Goodship (Frankie Monk 75), Joel Rollinson, Josh McQuoid. Unused subs: Norman Wabo, Nahum Melvin-Lambert
Referee: Lewis Sandoe (Christchurch)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Cain Collins (Melksham)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Daniel Spyer (Calne)
” It was a good point away from home on a Tuesday night…….” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM
Nick Grimes receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from representatives of Walpole Dunn, match sponsors for the home game with Welling United