The Somerset pre-season derby ended in a stalemate as the Peacocks again proved a tough nut to crack against higher level opposition. Four days earlier they had lost out to League One Exeter via a winner three minute from time and against their National League visitors they looked organised and assured.
With a big squad to select from, Rob Dray gave first starts to summer captures Nat Jarvis, Will Tunnicliff and Dave Sims-Burgess but it was the Glovers who were first to show, Tom Knowles firing a free kick over the top and then Sam Perry, only signed on the day on a season-long loan from Walsall shooting wide from a cleared corner.
The Peacocks had their first sniff just past the quarter hour when Lloyd James’ free kick from the right was met by Jake Wannell, but his header looped wide of the far post before Will Buse made a comfortable save from a trialist free kick at the opposite end.
Town then saw a few half chances come their way as they began to have the best of it for a spell. Wannell’s half volley from the edge of the box was closed down by a Yeovil man and Ross Stearn’s lofted pass found Sims-Burgess down the right who dragged his shot across goal and wide. The former Bath striker was just unable to latch onto a James’ pass as Grant Smith collected before Max Hunt booted a Sims-Burgess effort off the line after another James’ free kick had fallen loose.
For all that, it was the Glovers who were closest to breaking the deadlock when Hunt met a Knowles’ free kick with a header which looked in until Buse got down brilliantly to palm away off the line. Yeovil were again close as half time beckoned, a swift break ending with Knowles rifling narrowly over the bar.
The hosts made four changes at the break, and the new Taunton boys were soon instrumental. Jay Foulston volleyed wide after a Zac Smith cross had been cleared to him while a good break and neat ball inside from Joe Budd found Ollie Chamberlain whose low shot was held by Smith. The same combination nearly paid dividends when Budd nicked the ball on the byeline to set up Chamberlain for a strike which was hacked away in front of goal.
The best opportunity of the match though went Yeovil’s way after 54 minutes. Buse made another great stop from a header (identities of Yeovil players hard to discern due to small numbers on shorts and amount of trialists!) but the Peacocks were unable to clear, and Jarvis caught Knowles to concede a penalty. Buse proved equal to the spot kick from Knowles by diving to his right to push away.
The second half began to be punctuated by inevitable substitutions, with the visitors introducing a number of trialists. The game became more fragmented as a result, but the Peacocks still asked questions. Foulston curled a free kick wide of the target and Nick McCootie’s pass saw Chamberlain burst into the box, with Smith clawing away his chip from the left.
The Glovers finished the better as their full-time status began to show. Jamie Reckord fired into the side netting while a late break saw Lloyd Irish make a fine block with the follow-up being volleyed over. A final effort from Yeovil was deflected wide for the last corner of the evening before the whistle brought another promising Peacock performance to a close.
Taunton: Will Buse (Lloyd Irish 74), Will Tunnicliff (Jay Foulston 45), Nick Grimes (captain), Jake Wannell (Harry Warwick 81), Dan Ball (Ioan Richards 45), Lloyd James (Ross Staley 68), Joe Guest (Joe Budd 45), Zac Smith (Dylan Morgan 78), Ross Stearn (Ollie Chamberlain 45), Dave Sims-Burgess (Jared Lewington 60), Nat Jarvis (Nick McCootie 60). Unused sub: Lee Lucas
Yeovil: Grant Smith (Max Evans 83), Trialist (Toby Stephens 83), Morgan Williams (Ollie Haste 75), Josh Staunton (captain) (Trialist 61), Matt Worthington (Trialist 61), Max Hunt (Trialist 75), Sam Perry (Trialist 61), Jamie Reckord (Trialist 78), Tom Knowles (Trialist 61), Trialist (Trialist 48), Malachi Linton (Trialist 67)
Referee: Craig Scriven (Highbridge)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jack Bromham (Glastonbury)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Brian Lee (Taunton)
“Really pleased with us again, we were solid and hard to beat…..” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE