Town progressed to the 3rd Round of the Southern League Cup after coming out on top in an epic penalty shoot-out. The two sides had finished all square at the end of an entertaining 90 minutes, but the game will be remembered more for what was to follow.
The Peacocks made a number of changes from the previous match against Blackfield & Langley, giving a first start to young midfielder Callum Watts, with fellow BTC lads Luke Manley and Noah Coppin also in the side along with centre half trialist Josiah Dunstan, who has played for National League South Hungerford Town this season. The new-look side made a decent start, some crisp football keeping the visitors on their toes. Jack Rice had the sting taken out of a shot from Coppin’s cross before Town nearly took the lead on the quarter hour mark, Watts dispossessing an opponent and releasing Neal whose chip over Dan Stedman from just outside the box crashed down off the crossbar onto the line and was snaffled by the relieved keeper.
Town kept up the momentum towards the Invest Southwest End, impressive youngster Watts winning the ball to feed Neal who went on a run, the ball breaking free for Coppin who was denied by the legs of Stedman. The lead though was deservedly taken after 31 minutes following a great cross from the left by Lewis Hall, the ball only being cleared as far as Watts whose volley towards goal was rifled in by Neal waiting in the six yard box.
Watts tried a long range lob which wasn’t too far off while Truro offered little going forward in the opening half, Dunstan blocking a shot from Ryan Dickson while George Tucker’s strike from 25 odd yards went narrowly past Lloyd Irish’s right-hand post. The visitors pressed with more intent after the break but again without troubling the Peacocks too much. Tucker fired wide and Alex Battle shot well over the top while Neal threatened most for the hosts, Stedman just collecting the ball ahead of the striker following a long ball and then parrying a lob one-handed from the centre circle.
Another newcomer Joe Charles, who featured several times for the Peacocks two seasons ago until being curtailed by injury, replaced Coppin just past the hour mark before Truro pulled themselves level on 71 minutes, Niall Thompson breaking away to find Tucker on the right and his first time pass inside was stabbed home by Battle. Just three minutes later and the White Tigers wrestled the advantage away from Town as they took the lead, Rio Garside crossing from the right for Austen Booth to head past Irish.
The Peacocks though fought back and with five minutes left they snatched an equaliser. Neal won a corner from which Hall looped it into the middle, Stedman missed it and the ball entered the net at the far post. Town then might even have won it in normal time when Watts won the ball in the middle and found Hall but his shot from the edge of the area was straight at Stedman.
With extra time a thing of the past in this competition, the tie went straight to penalties. When Thompson scored first for Truro and Neal missed for the Peacocks home fans may have feared the worst but half an hour later and after another 31 penalties taken, Rice stepped up to drive home the winning spot kick to end a memorable night at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium.
Match: Taunton Town vs Truro City
Date: November 20, 2019
Competition: Southern League
Venue: Cygnet Health Care Stadium
Kick Off: 7.45pm
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Luke Manley, Lewis Hall, Josiah Dunstan (Nathan Byrne 83), Harry Kite, Jamie Price (Jamie Short 45), Shane White, Callum Watts, Jack Rice, Noah Coppin (Joe Charles 64), Andrew Neal (Jack Rice 89). Unused sub: Nick Grimes
Truro: Dan Stedman, Ben Musselwhite, Ryan Dickson (Austen Booth 45), James Ward, Adel Gafaiti, Jamie Richards (captain) (Harlain Mbayo 45), Andreas Calleja-Stayne, George Tucker, Stewart Yetton (Niall Thompson 64), Rio Garside, Alex Battle. Unused subs: Harrison Davis, Tyler Harvey
Referee: Niall Clinton (Poole)
Referee’s Assistant 1: William Payne (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 2: John Duffy (Bristol)
The Albert Goodman Man Of The Match