Had a point been offered at 3.00pm given recent results and against an in-form side eyeing at least a play-off place come April, many in the Peacock fold may have snapped the proverbial hand off but there was undoubtedly a sense at the final whistle that any acceptance of a point before kick-off may have been premature. Despite Town displaying more attacking impetus and being the better side on the day though, Worthing keeper Roco Rees was not really stretched due in no small part to the efficient visiting defence while the solid Peacocks’ backline at the other end gave little away to the Sussex outfit. Hardly surprising then that clear chances were not overly plentiful, and honours finished even.
Lee Lucas and captain Nick Grimes stepped back into the starting line-up after missing the midweek Trophy game at Welling while Malachi Linton replaced Nick McCootie up top. A crisp autumnal afternoon greeted the teams onto the pitch with the hosts looking to gain their first league win in six outings, but it was the visitors who saw most of the early ball, with Ollie Pearce connecting with a Greg Luer cross to steer well wide. The home side gradually settled as they looked for a way through. A Lucas pass attempted to play Jay Foulston in, but Rees was there first and claimed at the second attempt before Linton blocked off a Rees clearance, with the Rebels’ keeper scampering back to claim the ball before Linton could get round him.
After Dylan Morgan had seen a shot blocked from the edge of the box, Town’s best opportunity of the half came just before the half hour. A superb Ollie Chamberlain pass released Morgan down the middle, and he found Zac Smith on the left side of the box who took the ball in his stride well but saw his effort deflect for a corner. The set piece from Foulston was punched clear by Rees and landed for Joe Guest 18 yards out. However his first-time volley missed the target.
Further Town pressure saw Linton get goalside of Rees, but Odei Martin Sorondo blocked the shot before Worthing put two attempts to their name leading up to the break, Joan Luque firing wide at the far post from a Joe Felix cross and then Luque broke to find Ricky Aguiar who eyed glory with a chip from distance over the top. The half ended in stalemate though with the Peacocks having the clearer openings in a pretty subdued affair.
The contest continued in a similar fashion after the interval as the sun went down and the temperature dropped. A Rebels’ defender did well to intercept Morgan’s floated cross as Chamberlain shaped to pull the trigger while a low strike from Luque proved a routine gather for Town keeper Dan Lavercombe who was also rarely troubled throughout the 90 minutes. Both sides made a double swop just past the hour, with the hosts introducing McCootie and Ross Stearn in place of Nat Jarvis and Linton. Lucas drilled a left-footer over the bar as his side continued to probe before Worthing grabbed a goal out of the blue with twenty minutes remaining. A break down the right saw Kane Wills find Pearce at the near post and when his close range effort deflected for a corner, Wills sent it in to the near post where Luer’s glanced header looped over all and sundry to find the far corner of Lavercombe’s net.
Town shook off this unexpected jolt as they resumed their offensive, but their assaults on the visitor’s goal were found wanting. Foulston fired a wayward volley over after a loose clearance and a Lucas jaunt through the middle set up Smith whose shot lacked venom and was easily held by Rees. The Peacocks were unlucky though when a Lucas corner went deep for McCootie, and his header had goal written all over it until Pearce intervened well to nod clear before it crossed the line.
The game appeared to be drifting away from the Peacocks who escaped in the last five minutes when Aguiar fired a free kick from range narrowly wide. The relief was almost palpable then when Morgan collected a headed clearance to take a touch inside and pick out the top corner of Rees’ net with a strike from the edge of the box. Granted his shot took a pronounced deflection off a defender, leaving Rees rooted to his spot but sometimes you need a bit of luck to end a goal drought 😊
Five minutes of added time were not enough for Town to carve out a winner as referee Read brought the game to a conclusion with the hosts on the attack. A fracas then developed in the middle of the pitch, leading to a red card for Worthing’s Michael Klass and Town’s Rob Dray while Jarvis also received a second yellow outside the changing rooms. This incident seemed at odds with what had gone before, with the game being played in a fair-minded spirit. The Peacocks can now look forward to tackling a nine game programme during December buoyed by a well-deserved point and finally getting the Goals For column reactivated.
Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Austen Booth, Ollie Chamberlain, Nat Jarvis (Nick McCootie 63), Joe Guest, Zac Smith, Dylan Morgan, Malachi Linton (Ross Stearn 63), Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Dan Ball, Lloyd James, Lloyd Irish
Worthing: Roco Rees, Joel Colbran (captain), Kane Wills, Joe Rye (Michael Klass 77), Greg Luer, Ollie Pearce, Odei Martin Sorondo (Cameron Tutt 63), Jesse Starkey, Ricky Aguiar, Joan Luque (Danny Cashman 63), Joe Felix. Unused subs: Bailey Smith, Jordon Adeyemi
Referee: Samuel Read (Swindon)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Martin Underhay (Weymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 2: William Payne (Bristol)
“We were so dominant in so many areas against a very good possesion-based side…..” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match Highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM
Joe Guest was named Taunton Town Man Of The Match, photo to follow