Two goals from Ross Stearn helped the Peacocks through the opening round of the Somerset Premier Cup as they beat the current Western League First Division leaders. It was by no means a one-sided contest though with a tidy Portishead outfit displaying why they sit atop of their table but in the end a much-changed Town side always had too much for them.
The Premier Cup competition tends to give the opportunity to rotate the squad and this tie proved no different, with six changes from the side which had beaten Eastbourne Borough three days earlier. Lloyd Irish made his first appearances of the season between the sticks while there were also starts for Rabby Tabu Minzamba making his competitive debut, Evander Grubb and Elliott Dugan.
After the visitors had won the first corner of the night, the Peacocks began to impose themselves. Marcus Day’s low cross was inches away from connecting with Dugan’s outstretched leg while Dave Sims-Burgess sent an angled shot over and Jay Foulston scooped an effort wide before the lively Day weaved in to see his goalbound strike blocked by Posset keeper George Shanks-Boon for a corner. He could do nothing about the opener though which came after 22 minutes, Cameron Evans finding Stearn whose shot from 20 yards took a deflection to fool the Portishead custodian as it flew past him into the net.
Joe Guest shot wide for the home side who were then forced to repel a flurry of Portishead attacks. Irish proved he had lost none of his ability when he pulled off a superb stop with his leg to deny Ethan Feltham in a one-on-one encounter before holding another shot from Feltham and then palming a far post header away. The Peacocks had gone off the boil slightly but rediscovered their intent as the interval approached. Dugan did well to dispossess a defender but saw his shot blocked before the lead was doubled after 41 minutes when a long clearance from Evans saw Shanks-Boon advance, only for Dugan to win the challenge on the bounce and his header rolled into an empty net. It was virtually game over then on the 45 minute mark when Foulston played a corner short to Stearn, received it back to deliver to the near post where Shanks-Boon couldn’t hold, and Sims-Burgess capitalised to fire home the loose ball for a 3-0 advantage.
Dylan Morgan replaced Foulston for the second half which began with George Fowler dragging a shot wide for the visitors. Town responded by coming close to a fourth, Morgan having a strike held low down and Dugan winning the race for Evans’ long ball to round Shanks-Boon, but Toby Lawrence was on hand to clear off the line. The ball did find the net following a Stearn corner, vision obscured as to who had the final touch but alas the flag was aloft and no goal anyway.
Despite the four division gap between the sides, Portishead were making a very good game of it and were rewarded after 61 minutes when a break down the right led to a dangerous low cross in getting a touch off Grimes for an own goal at the far post to get Posset on the scoresheet. Lloyd James replaced Minzamba straight after as the home side went on the hunt for more. Shanks-Boon kept out a deflected Evans’ cross and Day who had a storming game down the right cut through to have an effort blocked by a defender before the three goal margin was restored after 69 minutes. James was caught late on the left edge of the box and Stearn blasted the free kick into the top corner, with Shanks-Boon getting his hands to it but nowhere near saving it.
Dan Ball made a welcome return to action with around 15 minutes to go, taking over from Evans for his first appearance of the season having suffered a frustrating lay-off since the Cribbs pre-season friendly. Callum Eastwood fired just wide from the right side for Portishead who then narrowly escaped after some lovely balls across the box from firstly Day and then Grubb, but no claret shirt was close enough to apply the coup de grace. Morgan’s ambitious volley from a James corner went skywards before two goals in the final five minutes concluded affairs. Kyle Egan’s strike took a deflection to beat the wrongfooted Irish on 85 minutes to make it 4-2 and Day then notched a deserved goal, receiving the ball from the impressive Grubb to dart across the edge of the area and drill his finish beyond Shanks-Boon into the corner.
An entertaining game went the Peacocks’ way and the outcome never seriously looked in doubt although credit to the North Somerset side who displayed no lack of skill or spirit.
Taunton: Lloyd Irish (captain), Jay Foulston (Dylan Morgan 45) , Nick Grimes, Joe Guest, Rabby Tabu Minzamba (Lloyd James 62), Ross Stearn, Cameron Evans (Dan Ball 74), Marcus Day, Dave Sims-Burgess, Elliott Dugan, Evander Grubb. Unused subs: Nat Jarvis, Lee Lucas, Dan Lavercombe, Steve Phillips
Portishead: George Shanks-Boon, Josh Honey, James Crossley-John (Alex O’Keeffe 69), Callum Eastwood, Elliott Ripley (Caolan Pearce 62), Toby Lawrence, George Fowler (Jack Harper 58), Mitch Osmond (captain), Ethan Feltham (Joel Bayliss 69), Kyle Egan, Calum Townsend (Charlie Williams 65).
Referee: Carl Peters (Bridgwater)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jack Bromham (Glastonbury)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Daniel Leaver (Nailsea)
“I think if we hadn’t played quite well today we would have been in a spot of bother……..” watch the Match Reaction of Goalkeeper Lloyd Irish and Coach Steve Phillips on Peacocks TV HERE
To be confirmed
Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM
Marcus Day receives the joint Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Peacocks’ coach driver Dave Wraight
Evander Grubb was also a joint winner, photo to follow.