The Peacocks equalled their biggest League win of the campaign as a terrific performance saw them rout their visitors from North London to make it seven competitive matches unbeaten. Harrow were sitting in 6th spot before kick-off and had hopes of staying there when they grabbed the lead inside two minutes but after Town had quickly drawn level they never looked back as they built a three goal advantage by the break which they reinforced in the second half with three more, and in all truth it could have been much worse for the beleaguered Borough.
Rob Dray named an unchanged side from the previous game at Chesham, but his side made a terrible start in front of the 500+ crowd. James Ewington played a 1-2 with Anthony O’Connor before easing past a defender and blasting a shot high into Will Buse’s net from the right side of the box to give Harrow the lead after just two minutes. The Peacocks defence continued to look decidedly shaky early on, another foray seeing Frank Keita’s shot being blocked. However Town broke from this to equalise after six minutes. Jay Foulston powered clear out of his own area and picked out Jared Lewington on the right side and he sent a sublime chip from 25 yards over Borough keeper Josh Strizovic into the far corner for a beauty.
Joe Guest got on the end of Ross Stearn’s free kick but sent his header over as Town settled to the job at hand and then Stearn himself threatened, only to be denied by a last ditch challenge by Lewis Cole. Harrow were looking no mugs going forward either, with Buse saving a shot from Michael Bryan. The tide turned in the Peacocks’ favour though when they netted twice in a minute midway through the half to take a firm grip on the contest which they never relinquished. Lewington showed great skill to control the ball and put Stearn away on the left and his drilled strike across Strizovic found the corner on 23 minutes and then moments later it was Lewington again whose pass was not cut out by Cole, leaving Stearn free to fire home via the inside of the post past the exposed Harrow keeper.
George Moore latched onto Bryan’s pass to warm Buse’s gloves with an angled strike from the left before forcing the Town keeper into another save from a free kick as Borough sought to look for an avenue back into the game. Their slim hopes were sunk though on the stroke of half time when Stearn’s excellent ball released Toby Holmes and despite the attentions of several Harrow defenders the Town striker steadied himself before stroking the ball past Strizovic from 12 yards.
Had the Peacocks fully capitalised on their opportunities in the second half then Harrow would easily have been returning eastwards with a double digit defeat. The tone was set when Holmes’ cross from the byeline was parried by Strizovic to Lewington who looked certain to make it five until his volley hit Shaun Preddie. The five goal mark was reached though on 52 minutes when Stearn’s snapshot was turned wide for a corner from which Foulston delivered and Holmes did the rest with a near post header.
Holmes broke through to see his drive parried by Strizovic and Ollie Chamberlain’s cross reached Stearn who fired wide as Town remained totally on top. Stearn’s free kick was then saved by Strizovic, with Lewington appearing to be pushed down as he went for the loose ball, but nothing was given. A triple swap for the visitors failed to stem the tide although one of the subs, Antonio Dembele did deliver a shot which proved comfortable for Buse. Town then made two substitutions of their own as they kept their foot on the pedal. Nick Grimes glanced a Stearn free kick wide before the Peacocks made it 6-1 after 68 minutes when another Stearn free kick from the left got a flick to find Holmes at the far post who had time to bring it down and prod over the line for his hat trick.
Grimes volleyed over from Stearn’s set piece as another opening came and went before a seventh goal duly arrived with 12 minutes remaining, Chamberlain beating his man on the left to fire in a shot which Strizovic pushed away but only as far as Ross Staley who had only been on the pitch three minutes and he slotted in the loose ball. The final ten minutes couldn’t have passed quick enough for Borough as the home side’s attacking football kept them fully under the cosh. Holmes’ strike shimmered the side netting, Chamberlain’s effort was kept out by the overworked Harrow keeper and James Mansfield intercepted a Holmes cross which looked destined to reach the unmarked Gethyn Hill to concede a corner which was cleared, the last piece of action on a great evening for Town who sent out a clear message to the rest of the division as they climbed up to sixth place in the table.
Taunton: Will Buse, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Toby Holmes, Joe Guest (Joe Budd 64), Ross Stearn (Ross Staley 74), Zac Smith, Jared Lewington (Gethyn Hill 64), Ioan Richards. Unused subs: Jack Veale, Lloyd Irish
Harrow: Josh Strizovic, Sam Adenola, George Moore, James Mansfield, Shaun Preddie (captain), James Taylor, Frank Keita (Antonio Dembele 61), Lewis Cole (Leo Donnellan 61), James Ewington, Michael Bryan, Anthony O’Connor (Kunle Otudeko 61)
Referee: Craig Scriven (Highbridge)
Referee’s Assistant 1: David Lilly (Somerton)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Harry Chambers (Cullompton)
“Second half we really put them to the sword, we kept going and our intensity was superb……” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Albert Goodman MOM
Toby Holmes receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from club steward Brad Walker along with club mascot Wordsworth