Hopes of a first victory of the season evaporated in the Essex heat as the Peacocks dipped to a disappointing defeat on Canvey Island. Despite an assured start from Town, they went off the boil as the hosts grew into the game to claim what proved to be the only goal of the contest from the penalty spot before the break and although the visitors had ample possession a lack of a cutting edge saw them fall short.
With Joe Guest away, Head of Football Rob Dray slotted Lee Lucas into midfield for his first start since last October, the only change from the side which had opened the club’s National League career a week earlier. Greeted onto the field by a vocal travelling support, the Peacocks settled well enough on a decent playing surface kept in shape by a pop-up sprinkler system. Ollie Chamberlain won the first corner inside two minutes which Concord keeper Melvin Minter safely held, and a neat bout of play ended with Minter blocking an effort from Dave Sims-Burgess, however the flag was already up for offside.
Nick McCootie then latched onto a ball downfield to reach the byeline but his pull-back only reached Minter who then claimed a cross from Sims-Burgess with Chamberlain waiting to pounce as the Peacocks had much the better of the opening 20 minutes but without creating a clear opening. The first real offering from the Beach Boys came on 23 minutes when a breakaway saw Lewis Johnson’s chip from a tight angle find the top of the net as Jack Bycroft advanced.
That was a warning sign of things to come as Concord began to threaten after a much-needed drinks break in the searing sun. A good chance was missed when Nana Kyei beat his man on the left to deliver an enticing cross which Ricky Modeste headed over from close range before Bycroft made his first save of the afternoon when he parried a strike from Kyei who had cut in from the left, the loose ball being fired into the side netting by MK Dons loanee Johnson. However two minutes later the home side snatched what proved to be the only goal of an unmemorable contest. Town could not clear their lines and when Johnson moved inside from the right he was adjudged to have been tripped by Jake Wannell. Concord skipper Ben Williamson drove home the spot kick for a 1-0 lead on 36 minutes.
The remainder of the half saw the hosts, buoyed by their lead, grab the initiative. Experienced winger Modeste capitalised on a defensive slip to post a shot which was well blocked before his cross from the right was cleared back to him and from his second delivery the ball fell to Ben Search whose effort was kept out on the line by the leg of Bycroft which led to a scramble in the box, two further shots being blocked and Kyei eventually shooting wide.
Regrouping at the break, the Peacocks thought they had equalised three minutes into the second half when McCootie got on the end of Wannell’s cross. His goalward prod was instinctively pushed up onto the bar by Minter, a portion of the ball appearing to bounce down over the line but whether it was the whole ball will be left to VAR. Oh, hang on…. With the assistant badly positioned to conclude one way or the other, it was a no.
Town were nearly caught out six minutes later when Johnson stabbed another presentable chance wide from Search’s centre while Jay Foulston’s free kick was too high for McCootie to connect with at the other end. Town made their first switch when Dan Ball was replaced on the hour by Ross Stearn who was soon involved, having his shirt blatantly pulled in the box but nothing doing from the officials whose decision-making left something to be desired at times, and then firing in a shot which Minter held.
Another drinks break was followed by another opening for the hosts, Modeste’s cross getting flicked on to Search who mishit an effort to Bycroft. Town meanwhile were unable to create a clear opportunity. Foulston weaved into the box, but his ball only found Minter, then after Joe Budd was brought down just outside the box, Stearn’s free kick was well hit but again straight at the Concord custodian. Dylan Morgan replaced Lucas for his Town debut and Harry Warwick came on for McCootie as the visitors pressed in the closing stages. Sims-Burgess saw an attempt blocked for a corner before a chance came and went a minute from time when a scooped ball into the box from Lloyd James fell loose to Wannell on his right foot but unfortunately the effort was drilled over the top, leaving the Beach Boys to celebrate their first clean sheet at the Aspect Arena since January.
Another wake-up call then for Town to the realities of National League football. They had the ability and experience in the side to have easily got something from this game, that now needs to be translated into results.
Taunton: Jack Bycroft, Joe Budd, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Dan Ball (Ross Stearn 60), Jake Wannell, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nick McCootie (Harry Warwick 84) , Dave Sims-Burgess, Lee Lucas (Dylan Morgan 77). Unused subs: Jared Lewington, Will Tunnicliff
Concord: Melvin Minter, Tosan Popo, D’Sean Theobalds, Teddy Perkins, James Blanchfield, Ben Williamson (captain), Nana Kyei, Jack Davies, Lewis Johnson (Alex Hernandez 84), Ben Search (Sam Carter 87), Ricky Modeste. Unused subs: Callum Knowlden, Josh Tuansaam
Referee: Aaron Farmer (Colchester)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Fabio Roque (Ilford)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Elliott Mayer (Arkley)
“I thought for large parts of the game we were in the ascendancy and we didn’t get a goal when we needed to…..” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
(Apologies for the wrong scoreline being quoted at the start, a case of wishful thinking!)
Match highlights courtesy of Beach Boys TV can be seen HERE
Mind In Somerset MOM
Ollie Chamberlain receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Peacocks supporter Jake Short