A pedestrian performance from the Peacocks gave their fans no sense of loving on a disappointing Valentine’s Day evening. It was a far cry from the Hampshire side’s last visit to the Cygnet last April when they had played a supporting role in Town’s epic final day victory which clinched the Southern League title. On this occasion though Borough were no bit part players and fully deserved the win which secures the League double, the first the Peacocks have conceded in the National League.
Looking to extend their unbeaten League run to four games, Town’s small squad was hit further with the absence of strikers Nick McCootie and the in-form Dave Sims-Burgess through illness, further reducing the attacking options available. Skipper Nick Grimes returned at the back after resting a knock but Ollie Chamberlain was still not fit enough for selection and how his side could have done with him against a Farnborough side boasting only one defeat in the last eleven games at kick-off. And the visitors were soon into their stride, having much the better of the early exchanges. A curling cross from Ricky Holmes was headed just over by John Oyenuga before Holmes fired a diagonal effort onto the terraces. Town won their opening corner after 12 minutes which Lee Lucas sent straight over the box and out for a throw-in, epitomizing a dreary opening half hour.
Penalty appeals from Borough after Reggie Young went down in the box were ignored before Town threatened briefly when Jay Foulston’s dangerous low cross from the left was cut out by Kevin Lokko as Nat Jarvis waited to pounce. The visitors remained sharper and more efficient in possession although home keeper Jack Bycroft was only really tested once in the opening 45 minutes, comfortably parrying away a Holmes’ strike from 20 yards while Selim Saied’s acrobatic attempt to meet a Holmes cross was blocked by Grimes.
The clearest chance of the half for either side came seven minutes before the break when Foulston curled a free kick into the middle where Jarvis who had shaken off his marker planted a header onto the top of the crossbar, an opportunity missed to give the hosts an interval advantage. Jarvis then found the woodwork again when he connected with a Lloyd James cross to hit the post although an assistant’s flag would have nullified any goal. Another home attack fizzled out as the half ended goalless, a scenario evident in 12 of Town’s 24 League games played so far.
Attacking the Travis Perkins End, Farnborough resumed positively, applying some early pressure which saw Lokko’s header from a Holmes cross narrowly miss the target while Swindon Town loanee Harry Parsons benefitted from some defensive hesitancy to get to the byeline and set up Saied. Grimes however was on hand to clear off the line. The Peacocks failed to heed the warning. With 54 minutes gone Borough took the lead as the home defence were caught napping, Ronan Silva curling a ball in from the right and Parsons nipping in to volley home past the exposed Bycroft.
A quick response was then ruled out after Ross Stearn fired into the net three minutes later, the whistle having already gone presumably for a Jarvis push on Lokko. Dylan Morgan was introduced on the hour to try and raise the dynamism level and home hopes were lifted when he scooted past a couple of men in the box, only to see his cross cut out. Another attack then nearly paid dividends, Lucas finding Stearn on the right whose shot was turned onto the post by Borough keeper Jack Turner who had defied everything the Peacocks could throw at him in the corresponding fixture back in August.
Whilst Town were never out of it trailing by one goal, the impetus just didn’t seem to be there, mirrored in the muted crowd. The long ball approach was dealt with efficiently by the visitor’s backline before Farnborough picked their moment to kill the game. They should have done it with 15 minutes to go when Parsons had acres of space down the right to find Saied in the middle who looked odds-on to score. However he took too long, and his attempt was blocked. There was no mistake about the second goal a minute later though, Jonathon Page feeding Parsons on the right and his angled drive flew past Bycroft into the far corner.
The Peacocks brought on Cameron Evans and Ollie Tomlinson for Dan Ball and Grimes for the final ten minutes or so for some fresh defensive legs but the points were already heading eastwards. Town huffed and puffed as they pressed in hope, Turner safely holding a 20 yard shot from Lucas while four minutes of stoppage time only yielded Jake Wannell’s header from a Foulston corner, Turner palming the ball down for Jack Ball to hoof clear.
Apart from their defeat at Ebbsfleet, up until this game Town had not lost by more than a single goal margin in their debut season at Step 2. Their defensive record still remains highly impressive despite a bad night at the office, it was unfortunate that the most of their team mates also had a poor evening. Plenty of games to put things right though starting at Havant on Saturday!
Taunton: Jack Bycroft, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain) (Ollie Tomlinson 79), Dan Ball (Cameron Evans 77), Jake Wannell, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis, Joe Guest (Dylan Morgan 60), Ross Stearn, Zac Smith, Lee Lucas. Unused sub: Ollie Chamberlain
Farnborough: Jack Turner, Jack Ball, Courtney Fearn, Kevin Lokko (captain), Ricky Holmes (Luke Chike Kandi 77), Reggie Young, Harry Parsons (Freddie Grant 79), Ronan Silva, Jonathon Page, Selim Saied (Bradley Keetch 88), John Oyenuga. Unused subs: Jordan Norville-Williams
Referee: Tom Ellsmore (Woking)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jake Woolley (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 2: John Duffy (Bristol)
“The better side won tonight, sometimes you’ve got to take your beating…….” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Mind In Somerset MOM
Jay Foulston receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Peacocks’ supporter Mark Timbury