The Peacocks concluded their disrupted pre-season schedule with victory over the City U23 side. Having seen two of their three previous friendlies cancelled due to Covid, the game was just what was needed in terms of upping match fitness and quality of opposition as Town hung on to their advantage given to them by Ollie Chamberlain’s spectacular early goal.
Still missing illness victims Gethyn Hill and Dan Sullivan, the Peacocks could at least welcome back some faces who sat out the Yeovil game a week earlier. And it was the home side who forged ahead with a superb strike after just two minutes. City conceded a free kick just outside the box and when Nick Grimes shot rebounded off the wall it came down for Chamberlain to show perfect technique as his volley from 20 odd yards soared over Will Buse into the back of the net.
City responded with some crisp attacks, but the hosts defended well to keep them at bay. Louis Britton failed to direct his header on target from James Morton’s free kick, then Marlee Francois found space on the right but dragged his shot wide of the far post. The Robins’ best chance to equalise came seven minutes before the break when new Peacocks’ signing Ioan Richards pushed Britton down in the box. Lloyd Irish though dived to his right to palm away the penalty and was then in the right place to clutch Britton’s follow-up on the loose ball. Ayman Benarous also came close before the break, cutting in from the right to curl his effort against the bar but Town withstood the City threat to hold the advantage at the interval.
Town went on the offensive when play resumed and were near to doubling their lead with their first opportunity of the half. Chamberlain’s lofted pass got the slightest of flicks from Toby Holmes to put birthday boy Jared Lewington in but Buse, brother of former Peacock favourite Matt, was out quickly to block. Holmes could not get enough venom in his shot to trouble Buse while Zac Smith curled an effort wide and Lewington saw another attempt from Chamberlain’s cross blocked as Town searched for a second.
Irish denied Britton for a third time, turning his shot from the edge of the box wide after the City forward had controlled a long goal kick from Buse before a triple substitution on the hour freshened the hosts up who saw a promising phase of play end with Lee Lucas clipping a shot over the top. City continued to ask questions going forward but did not hurt the Peacocks where it mattered. Irish made a routine catch from Morton’s free kick and substitute Dylan Kadji headed onto the roof of the net from a Benarous cross. Dan McBeam saw a late strike deflected wide for Town before the whistle ended the pre-season for 2020-21.
Taunton: Lloyd Irish (Marko Radovanovic 82), Ollie Chamberlain (Jack Goodall 60), Jay Foulston, Ioan Richards, Nick Grimes (captain) (Ben Adelsbury 60), Jake Wannell, Zac Smith (Jack Veale 60), Lee Lucas (Dan McBeam 70), Toby Holmes, Jared Lewington (Ross Staley 70), Joe Guest
Bristol City: Will Buse, James Taylor, Barney Soady, Josh Owers (Callum Hutton 72), Khari Allen (Thierry Swaby 82), Nat Williams (Prince Henry 78), Ayman Benarous, James Morton, Louis Britton (Jamie Knight-Lebel 78), Sam Pearson, Marlee Francois (Dylan Kadji 72). Unused sub: Luca Smith
Referee: Craig Scriven (Highbridge)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Darren Cullum (Taunton)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Rob McDonald (Taunton)
“We defended really really well, out of possession we were a lot better tonight…..” – watch Rob Dray’s match reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights on Peacocks TV HERE
Match photos on Taunton Town Flickr HERE