The Essex side’s first ever visit to the Cygnet Health Care Stadium will soon be forgotten after a tedious affair culminated in the Peacocks’ fourth goalless draw in the National League this season. A lack of a cutting edge from both teams saw neither keeper have to produce a save of note during 90 minutes of scrappy attrition which did little to warm the 624 crowd, Town’s lowest League attendance of the season, contributed to by the blanket decision to bring forward the kick-off to 12.30.
With similarities to the previous weekend’s visit to Hemel Hempstead, the Peacocks may well view this game as another one that got away although they came close to ending with nothing after the Iron nearly snatched a winner in stoppage time. Joe Guest and Dave Sims-Burgess replaced Joe Budd and Nick McCootie, the only two changes from the Hemel encounter, and it started off satisfactorily for the home side with Ollie Chamberlain making a break inside the first minute. A clash of heads between Guest and Leon Davies brought play to a temporary halt before the Peacocks posted their first attempt at goal, Chamberlain’s deep cross being collected by Zac Smith on the left and he set up Lee Lucas for a curling 20 yard strike which narrowly missed the target.
That effort sadly signified the closest either team came to scoring in an opening 45 minutes in which the hosts had much more of the possession and attacking intent but were unable to create a real opportunity. The visitors showed even less, their only real sniff coming when Town keeper Jack Bycroft lost the ball to Jon Benton who teed up Alfie Matthews for a shot which was blocked by Lloyd James. The Peacocks’ attempts to push forward were often undone by manhandling to the ground, some of which were penalised by referee Parkinson and some not but hopes increased leading up to the break when Town threatened. Jay Foulston’s corner was cleared back to him and from his cross, the ball eventually reached Nat Jarvis who found Nick Grimes on the left and his drive towards goal was hacked clear by Willie Clemons. James then received Sims-Burgess’ flick, but his lame shot from the edge of the box proved a simple collection for Braintree keeper Jack Sims.
The impetus was with the Peacocks going into the second half but frustratingly they couldn’t raise it a gear to break the deadlock. Chamberlain’s cross landed on the roof of the net around twelve minutes in before Town got in a tangle which nearly cost them, Bycroft slipping over as he ran outside his box to clear and allowing Benton to advance and set up Matt Rush for a shot which thankfully hit Foulston to go wide. McCootie replaced Sims-Burgess on the hour and for a brief period the home side enjoyed the better of it. A chipped ball forward from James fell to Guest whose drive was deflected for a corner from which Town had their best opportunity of the half, Foulston’s corner floating over everyone to Smith on the opposite side and his return cross picked out Jarvis, however his header proved a comfortable hold for Sims. Lucas then won the ball and made ground but planted his strike well over the top.
Jarvis gave way to Ross Stearn, making his first appearance since the FA Cup game at MK Dons, as both sides laboured towards a breakthrough in the final quarter, with tempers becoming increasingly frayed due to the decision making of the man in black. A James free kick in from the right gave Sims an easy catch while the Iron keeper was out quickly to clear ahead of Stearn who had looked to capitalise on Lucas’ pass. Penalty appeals after Lamar Reynolds went down in the box were ignored at the opposite end before five minutes of stoppage time so nearly proved calamitous for the Peacocks. A long clearance saw Smith try to hold Aaron Blair off as Bycroft rushed out his goal to clear. Smith slipped, Bycroft missed, and Blair looked odds-on to snatch the winner as he fired towards an open net from the right side of the box, however Guest made a brilliant intervention to divert the ball wide with an outstretched leg. The danger continued from the resultant Alfie Payne corner, Jack Cawley’s glancing header at the near post rebounding off the bar.
Game over and the Peacocks again proved they can compete with what the National League has to offer. As a spectacle though, watching repeats of The One Show may have been more appealing on this occasion.
Taunton: Jack Bycroft, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Dan Ball, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James (Dylan Morgan 82), Nat Jarvis (Ross Stearn 71), Joe Guest, Zac Smith, Dave Sims-Burgess (Nick McCootie 60), Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Joe Budd, Ross Staley
Braintree: Jack Sims, Willie Clemons, Kyron Farrell (Joe Muscatt 42), Baris Altintop, Kyran Clements (captain), Jack Cawley, Jon Benton, Leon Davies, Lamar Reynolds, Alfie Matthews (Alfie Payne 75), Matt Rush (Aaron Blair 65). Unused subs: John White, Chris Regis
Referee: Stephen Parkinson (Watford)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Mark Senior (Plymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Mark King (Saltash)
” I’m a bit disappointed if I’m being honest, quite a lot disappointed for the way that we dominated the game…….” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Mind In Somerset MOM
Joe Guest receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Martin Turner of Match Sponsor Kudos Housewares and Brett Trowbridge of Match Sponsor Redwood Joinery