Taunton Town vs Chelmsford City


Date Time League Season Match Day Full Time
March 23, 2024 3:00 pm National League South 2023/24 23/03/2024 90'


Taunton Town2
Chelmsford City3



The Peacocks suffered yet another demoralising slap in the face during this most tortuous 2023-24 season as they saw a 2-1 lead evaporate in stoppage time to increase their worries at the foot of the table. Things hadn’t gone to plan for the high-flying visitors who had trailed for the 90 minutes, with a determined Town defying everything that was thrown at them until a manic five added minutes witnessed an unlikely turnaround.

With Zac Smith having been injured during the Chippenham game, Lloyd James returned to an otherwise unchanged side. The various family-friendly Easter Eggstravaganza activities going on around the ground on Non-League Day had generated the second highest League crowd of the season at Wordsworth Drive and the feel-good factor translated onto the pitch as the Peacocks made a fantastic start to proceedings. Playing with the wind behind them, the hosts nearly opened their account inside two minutes, Zac Bell’s long pass finding Ross Stearn who fired a half volley wide. It wasn’t long though before the home fans had something to shout about, a move down the right seeing Marcus Day find Ollie Chamberlain and he passed inside to James who demonstrated a neat feint to make room and cross for Bell to drive home the opening goal at the back post after five minutes.

Chelmsford posted their initial effort through Freddie Hockey who scooped a shot over before a delay for treatment for City’s Cameron James halted play. That brief pause failed to deter Town who promptly added a second after 20 minutes. Cameron Evans flicked on a James corner and the ball fell nicely for captain Nick Grimes to drill home via the underside of the crossbar for his sixth goal of the campaign.

Conscious of their need for points at the opposite end of the table, City finally began to show glimpses of what has got them there but without unduly troubling the Town rearguard or keeper Lloyd Irish who claimed crosses from Jermaine Francis and Charlie Ruff. Grimes was the first man into the book after taking down Francis who had capitalised on a tangle between Stearn and Marcus Day to drive towards the box. From Samir Carruthers’ free kick, the ball was cleared as far as former Peacock player Callum Watts who sliced his shot over the top.

The visitors kept pressing and reduced the arrears after 35 minutes when Grimes cleared a cross from Carruthers which reached Francis on the cusp of the box and after one attempt hadn’t really gone anywhere he had a second bite of the cherry to fire home into the bottom corner. A scrappy period ensued leading up to the break, with some further possession around the box seeing City fail to create another chance before the break while Bell’s pass promised momentary hope, but Stearn couldn’t get on the end of it and Chelmsford keeper Henry Gray gathered.

A quiet start to the second half produced two long Bell throws but little else before the Peacocks lost Grimes with a knock and he was replaced by Rabby Tabu Minzamba. Irish fielded another cross from Josh Castiglione who then saw his header smothered by the Town custodian at his post before a defining moment of the half came on 64 minutes. A high ball into the box was picked up by Nat Jarvis who fended off Henry to tee up Stearn but unfortunately his strike from six yards found the post rather than the net and Chelmsford could breathe again.

After Callum Dolman had sent a shot wide for the hosts, the Clarets went on to boss the remainder of the game. Irish pulled off a terrific save to turn wide Carruthers’ shot from distance, Ruff screwed an effort across goal and wide and then Watts drilled over after a Francis header had been blocked on the line from Castiglione’s cross. Evander Grubb took over from Stearn with around a quarter of an hour to go as the Peacocks continued to stubbornly dig in to frustrate the visitors. Castiglione’s drive diverted off Dolman for a corner and then Irish safely claimed a deflected shot from the same player with the only respite coming when Tabu Minzamba sent a delivery across the box and out.

Into the final ten minutes and City were unrelenting as they pressured for an equaliser. Castiglione powered in from the left and when the ball fell loose, Watts had his shot blocked before another corner ended with Luke Jenkins firing over. Seb Bolton replaced Jarvis with five to go, with the home side hanging in there and Irish making a firm save from Castiglione’s shot.

Five minutes of stoppage time had to be negotiated to secure a priceless victory, but football can be a cruel game. A goal kick came straight back into the final third in 90+3, the instrumental Carruthers finding Ruff who needed no second invitation to lance a strike over the despairing dive of Irish into the far corner. If that wasn’t bad enough, City then completed the great escape with six minutes of added time played, winning a corner from the left which fell to Ruff inside the six yard box, and he slotted over the line to send the travelling support into raptures. A sorry end to a match in which Town had been second best after the break but had defended bravely to protect their lead. A quick recovery is needed though with the visit of Slough in 48 hours and with this being a crucial game in hand, the need for three points is paramount.


Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Zac Bell, Nick Grimes (captain) (Rabby Tabu Minzamba 55), Dan Ball, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis (Seb Bolton 85), Ross Stearn (Evander Grubb 74), Cameron Evans, Marcus Day, Callum Dolman. Unused subs: Louie Slough, Jaden Brown

Chelmsford: Henry Gray, Cameron James (Samir Carruthers 16), Ben Brookes, Jermaine Francis, Luke Jenkins, Charlie Ruff, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb (captain) (Anthony Wordsworth 90), Freddie Hockey, Callum Watts, Josh Castiglione, Henry Ochieng (George Alexander 77). Unused subs: Louis Dunne, Jacob Marsden


Referee: Phillip Eddie (Plymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Nathanael Wormleighton (Cheltenham)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Adam McAnoy (Cheltenham)




Unfortunately there is no post-match interview


Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE


Match photos from Club Photographers Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE and Darren Harris HERE

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM

Dan Ball receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from club steward Martin Hebditch

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