The Peacocks got their pre-season schedule off to a positive start with a comfortable win against the Western Leaguers. The visitors had much the better of the first half without finding a way through but after the break, freshened up by various trialists, they secured victory including two great finishes.
Despite several first teamers being absent, the starting line-up for the Peacocks had a familiar look about it. New signing Austen Booth wore the claret and blue shirt for the first time while a trialist slotted into midfield, otherwise it was as you were from 2022-23. Town saw much of the early ball, with Cam Evans dragging a shot wide and Ollie Chamberlain darting in from the right to drill an effort over but numerous balls into the box failed to produce an opportunity. The game was then stopped to allow treatment for Clevedon’s Sam Larkins who limped off, not what you want for the first game, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
When play resumed, Joe Teall’s cross landed on the roof of Lloyd Irish’s net, but the Town keeper remained untroubled as momentum continued towards the Clevedon goal. Nat Jarvis received Joe Guest’s pass to turn nicely on the left of the box and test home keeper James Dunn for the first time with a shot which was held while three successive corners ended with Evans glancing wide from Zac Smith’s cross. Moments later, a stray pass gave Lee Lucas the chance to find Ross Stearn whose attempt from the edge of the box deflected onto the crossbar, the nearest either side came to finding the net in a goalless first half which concluded with Dunn palming over a Jarvis cross before the Seasiders had their best chance when Syd Camper headed narrowly over from Elliot Nicholson’s cross.
The Peacocks made the breakthrough four minutes after the break when Booth tricked his way down the right flank to see his cross sliced into his own net at the near post by Caleb Selway. As is the norm, various substitutions followed for both sides during the course of the second half which helped Town to increase the tempo. Dunn fielded a strike from Evans and a trialist fired wide but despite plenty of possession there were few openings until a peach of a strike doubled Town’s lead after 76 minutes, trialist Phil Mendonca collecting the ball 20 yards out and arrowing a superb effort into the top corner.
Mendonca nearly capitalised on a defensive slip as he got past Dunn, only to be denied by a good defensive challenge before the Peacocks made it 3-0 eight minutes from time when the ball broke loose inside the box for another trialist Evander Grubb to curl a great finish beyond Dunn into the far corner. A satisfactory 90 minutes to get the wheels in motion.
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Nick Grimes (captain) (Trialist 68), Ollie Chamberlain (Trialist 72), Nat Jarvis (Trialist 55), Joe Guest, Ross Stearn (Phil Mendonca 55), Austen Booth, Zac Smith (Trialist 61), Cameron Evans, Lee Lucas (Evander Grubb 72), Rabby Tabu (Trialist 61)
Clevedon: James Dunn, Elliot Nicholson (Fin Biggs 64), Sol Kent (Raul Vasile 64), Callum Kingdon, Glen Hayer, Caleb Selway (Ethan Crossley 68), James Wakefield (Alex Camm 64), Sam Larkins (Henry Westlake 21), Syd Camper (captain) (Brad Probert 68), Joe Teall (Freddie King 68), Sam Beresford
Referee: Kevin Slade (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Simon Lockton (Weston-super-Mare)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Andie Lambourne (Weston-super-Mare)
“I think in terms of moving the ball around I think towards the end we started to get the hang of that…..” watch the match reaction of Rob Dray and Connor Sidley-Adams on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE