The Peacocks gained victory in their final home friendly of pre-season with a hard-fought derby win. The first 45 minutes proved the more profitable period for the hosts who notched the only goal of the game whilst also coming close on more than one occasion, whereas the second half was a more unproductive affair with the Devon side doing most of the pressing as Town adopted a deeper approach.
Two early corners for Tiverton came to nothing before the Peacocks posted the first real effort, Joe Guest feeding Ollie Chamberlain who in turn found Malachi Linton to fire over after eight minutes. Nat Jarvis, playing only his second pre-season match due to a sore calf, then just failed to connect with an Austen Booth cross but the Town No 9 didn’t have too long to wait to break the deadlock. Booth was taken out on the right flank, Lloyd James delivered the free kick into the mix and Jarvis jumped to power home a header past Josey Casa Grande after 19 minutes, with the goalscorer immediately being subbed by Ross Stearn in a pre-planned move.
The home side came close to adding a second after 25 minutes when Zac Smith was upended on the edge of the box and Lee Lucas’ set piece was inches away as it caressed the top of the left-hand post. Further pressure ended with Cameron Evans lobbing onto the roof of the net before Peacocks’ keeper Dan Lavercombe came to the fore, firstly safely holding a driven cross from Niall Thompson and then smartly turning aside a shot from Dylan Jones after Jack Rice’s neat backheel had teed him up from 15 yards. This led to three successive corners for the visitors, the flurry concluding with Josh Jones planting a diving header wide from a Jones cross.
The Peacocks were well behind on the corner count but reduced that statistic in the final couple of minutes of the half which proved eventful. From a second corner Stearn directed a James delivery into the net from close range but the goal was chalked out for handball, then Stearn, with the bit between his teeth following a yellow card, got the better of his man on the right and crossed for the incoming Lucas to meet on the volley. His connection was perfect, the direction an inch or two out as it struck the post and was temporarily scrambled away, only to come back at them via an Evans shot from distance which just cleared the bar.
Linton saw an early header fall benignly to Casa Grande as Town began the second half with Dylan Morgan having replaced Lucas. Chances for the home fans to enjoy though were in shorter supply as Tiverton moved on to the front foot. Rice scurried across the edge of the box before firing over while some sloppy possession nearly cost the hosts dear, River Allen putting the pacy Thompson through on goal, but Lavercombe was equal to the venomous strike as he produced a superb save to palm it away.
The following ten minutes or so were only really notable for the numerous substitutions for both sides before half chances were traded at either end in the final quarter. Lavercombe again did well to clutch a deflected Rice shot from 20 yards while Casa Grande parried away a whipped Smith cross and then held an effort at his post as Linton tried to squeeze it in from a Marcus Day cross. The home side saw out three minutes of stoppage time from referee Peters who made sure the card count was considerably higher than the goal count.
A penalty shoot-out concluded the evening to hand both teams a taste of what might await them during the forthcoming campaign and the Peacocks prevailed in that too by a 3-1 margin. Linton, Dave Sims-Burgess and Nick McCootie were all successful for the hosts while Rice netted the only spot kick for the Yellows, with Lavercombe pulling off three more fine saves.
Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Nick Grimes (captain), Ollie Chamberlain (Nick McCootie 69), Lloyd James (Marcus Day 69), Nat Jarvis (Ross Stearn 20) (Dave Sims-Burgess 69), Joe Guest (Rabby Tabu 69), Austen Booth (Callum Dolman 69), Zac Smith, Cameron Evans, Malachi Linton, Lee Lucas (Dylan Morgan 45). Unused sub: Lloyd Irish
Tiverton: Josey Casa Grande, Jack Veale, Craig Woodman (Tom Bath 59), Matt Britton (Carlo Garside 59), Josh Jones, Jamie Richards (captain), Jack Rice, Cam Salmon (Lewis Smith 74), Niall Thompson (Josh Radford 81), Dylan Jones (Dylan Thomas 66), River Allen (Louis Morison 59)
Referee: Carl Peters (Bridgwater)
Referee’s Assistant 1: David Trevaskus (Weston-super-Mare)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Steve Reed (Churchinford)
“We could have pressed a lot higher at times but that wasn’t part of what we were going to do……” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE