Bitton vs Taunton Town
Date: August 14, 2020
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Venue: WDS Associates Stadium
Kick Off: 7.30pm
Behind Closed Doors
A keenly contested friendly narrowly went the Peacocks’ way courtesy of two goals from Owen Howe in the last couple of minutes.
The opening 20 minutes produced few chances. A Toby Holmes ball across just failed to reach Ollie Chamberlain and Dan Sullivan fired a 20 yarder wide for Town while Mitch Tippins fired high over in Bitton’s first attempt. It was the Bristol side that took the lead after 21 minutes, Josh Egan accurately converting a penalty after he had been brought down by Jake Mawford.
Both sides began to have opportunities as the game developed into a competitive affair. Chamberlain was proving a menace to the hosts, battling well to win the ball and allow Gethyn Hill a shot which he put just past the post, then having two attempts of his own, a shot held by Dan Wharton and then connecting with Hill’s cross, only to see Tippins clear off the line.
Bitton also showed their capabilities which saw them reach the semi-final of last season’s still unfinished FA Vase competition. Joe McLennan volleyed over and then from his corner, Scott Brice headed a chance the wrong side of the post. Despite having plenty of possession though, Town were unable to make the breakthrough until five minutes before half time. Moments after Hill’s flick from a Holmes cross was saved by Wharton, Town’s new striker had better luck when he fired home at Wharton’s near post after being played in by Sullivan.
Playing down the slope for the second half, the Peacocks were soon into their stride. Wharton failed to hold Chamberlain’s shot, but Holmes was flagged offside as he tried to capitalize, then Chamberlain headed a Jay Foulston cross well over. However it was Bitton who regained the initiative on 52 minutes when Egan’s free kick from the left was headed home from six yards by Alex Grimshaw, and then ten minutes later they extended their lead after breaking from a Taunton corner, Liam Bishop threading a pass through to Brandon Barnes who executed a lovely chip over Lloyd Irish from the edge of the box.
After Ross Staley had seen his volley palmed away by Wharton, the Peacocks reduced the arrears on 64 minutes. Sullivan’s strike cannoned off the post and along the line to be picked up by Staley whose driven cross was cleared by Grimshaw. Staley was quick to regain the ball to cut in and fire past the dive of Wharton at the near post.
The last 25 minutes saw Town pile forward as they bossed proceedings. Sullivan’s shot was pushed away by the keeper while Luke Spokes and Owen Howe both saw efforts travel narrowly wide. Staley punted high over the top from Spokes’ pass and Callum Watts who had only been on the field for several minutes had his finish chalked out for offside after Sullivan had broken away and squared to him in the middle.
The Peacocks’ pressure finally paid off a minute from time. Spokes played a return pass inside to Staley who wrong footed Alfie Clarke in the area and was tripped. Howe stepped up to lash home the spot kick to draw the sides level. Town then completed the perfect comeback in the 90th minute, Sullivan’s pass being dispatched by Howe with a fine curling shot in off the post from just inside the box.
Bitton were not finished though. A free kick from the right was not cleared and Barnes seized on the loose ball to rifle in a shot which Irish brilliantly fingertipped onto the crossbar, ending a good quality game in which the Peacocks showed up well against decent opposition.
Taunton: Lloyd Irish (captain), Jake Mawford, Jay Foulston (Jordan Copp 52), Ben Adelsbury (Aaron Bentley 52), Jake Wannell, Joe Guest (Ross Staley 52), Lee Lucas, Toby Holmes (Owen Howe 52) (Toby Holmes 90+1), Gethyn Hill (Callum Watts 75), Dan Sullivan, Ollie Chamberlain (Luke Spokes 52)
Bitton: Dan Wharton, Mitch Tippins (Callum Ball 87), Matt Tanner (Jack Ord 74), Scott Brice (captain), Alex Grimshaw (Alfie Clarke 82), Jordan Whittaker (Josh Gray 80), Matt Groves, Ibrahima Diallo (Ash Kington 64) (Ryan Gissing 70), Oakland Buck (Brandon Barnes 52), Josh Egan (Dean Griffiths 52), Joe McLennan (Liam Bishop 52)
Referee: Billy Wilde (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Adrian Welch (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Luke Hulbert (Bristol)