It was a truly memorable evening at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium for Peacocks fans who witnessed their side dismiss the National League club from the Emirates FA Cup to add another significant result to their history book. Town had fully merited this replay after holding the Glovers to a draw at Huish Park three days earlier but went one better courtesy of Lloyd James’ penalty during the first half which proved sufficient in a game of few chances to earn Town an enticing trip to League One MK Dons in the First Round Proper next month.
Make no mistake this was no fluke as the hosts again looked comfortable going toe to toe with their Somerset neighbours, a division above and with numerous FA Cup successes of their own against Football League clubs over the years. The Peacocks showed just one change from Saturday with Joe Guest in for Ross Stearn while the visitors were more ruthless, bringing in five new faces, and it was the Glovers who started slightly the better in an uneventful opening quarter. Nick Grimes sliced Matt Worthington’s cross to his own keeper Jack Bycroft before Yeovil won the first corner of the evening which was booted straight out by Jamie Reckord, an omen of things to come for his side.
Bycroft frayed the nerves slightly when he took a chance with a backpass, opting to try and dribble it out the box before clearing under pressure from a Yeovil forward but then proved his exemplary handling skills when clutching a cross from Alex Fisher. Town meanwhile saw a couple of promising early runs from Nick McCootie and Zac Smith end fruitlessly before McCootie got on the end of James’ free kick but couldn’t direct his header on target. It was James again who was instrumental in engineering the crucial Taunton goal after 26 minutes. His free kick from the right channel was floated to the far post where Chlori Johnson decided to palm the ball away and conceded an obvious penalty. James remained ice cool to steer the spot kick past Grant Smith who dived the wrong way and Town were ahead!
One should really have become two moments later when a lovely pass from James played in Ollie Chamberlain ghosting into the box from the right, but his effort was steered agonizingly wide of the far post. Both teams had openings during the remainder of the first half, with a couple of balls into the mix from the Peacocks just missing the final touch of McCootie and Smith while Yeovil’s Fisher planted a header well over from Worthington’s cross. The clearest chance the Glovers had came five minutes before the break when Johnson latched on to a flick but was unable to atone for his earlier indiscretion as he slanted a shot wide. Bycroft then comfortably pouched a strike from Callum Rowe to confirm the Peacocks’ lead at half time.
Town began second half proceedings well and very nearly doubled their advantage two minutes in. McCootie won a corner which Jay Foulston curled in, evading everyone to find skipper Grimes at the back post whose attempt to convert from a tight angle was kept out by a saving clearance off the line by his opposite captain Josh Staunton. When Yeovil had sight of goal they never came anywhere as close, Johnson firing hideously wide from Worthington’s cleared free kick which helped increase the sense of belief by the minute as the Peacocks were looking the more dangerous side. Lee Lucas’ drive into the box ricocheted to Chamberlain who was unable to get enough venom on his volley to reach Smith while a Lucas strike from 20 yards was blocked as they probed around the Glovers’ box which again was near to paying dividends when a deep cross from Smith was nodded down by Guest for Nat Jarvis who was unable to force home and eventually resorted to a backheel which was gathered by Smith.
Into the final 20 minutes and despite the visitors enjoying ample possession their finishing skills failed to match any approach work. Johnson was finding room down the right, but one cross was overhit and another claimed by the impressive Bycroft before Fisher’s header went tamely over from a Worthington free kick. The only occasion the Peacocks’ custodian had to fulfil a real save was from Ben Richards-Everton’s header, diving to parry the ball away but the flag was already raised for offside.
As the majority of the 2,347 crowd urged the hosts on to claim a second goal, they nearly got their wish granted. After James had rifled a shot just over the top from a loose ball, a break from Chamberlain saw him play a 1-2 with Jarvis and suddenly he was free with just Smith to beat. However the Yeovil keeper did well to get something on Chamberlain’s effort and as the ball squirmed towards the open net, Richards-Everton hooked his leg forward to clear.
The Peacocks only made the one sub on the night, Dave Sims-Burgess replacing McCootie, and the newcomer contributed with a run across the area and a shot which was blocked. Yeovil huffed and puffed in a vain search for an equaliser to take the tie to extra time, but their goal attempts remained unconvincing as the Peacocks defended solidly. Worthington blasted a free kick over from the left edge of the box following a handball and Bycroft claimed Staunton’s cross before their last chance evaporated during stoppage time, Richards-Everton’s cross being laid back by Malachi Linton to Sam Pearson who fired over the roof of the stand from the left.
And that was that! Town amply proved they can compete with sides in the higher echelons of non-league football which they have all season with the exception of Ebbsfleet. The Cygnet again proved a step too far for a visiting team which it has done for 14 months, and the celebrating Peacock fans can now look forward to taking on a League club in a little over two weeks. See you at Stadium MK!
Taunton: Jack Bycroft, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Dan Ball, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis, Nick McCootie (Dave Sims-Burgess 83), Joe Guest, Zac Smith, Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Joe Budd, Harry Warwick, Ross Stearn, Ross Staley, Dylan Morgan, Lloyd Irish
Yeovil: Grant Smith, Jamie Reckord, Max Hunt, Ben Richards-Everton, Matt Worthington, Alex Fisher (Malachi Linton 79), Gime Toure (Jake Scrimshaw 79), Sam Pearson, Chlori Johnson, Callum Rowe (Will Dawes 71), Josh Staunton (captain). Unused subs: Morgan Williams, Sam Perry, Ollie Hulbert, Will Buse
Referee: Paul Johnson (Walton-on-Thames)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Stuart Kane (Birmingham)
Referee’s Assistant 2: David Nicholson (Bicester)
“They put everything out there tonight those players, absolutely everything, and I’m very very proud………..” watch the Match Reaction of management team Rob Dray, Matt Villis and Michael Meaker on Peacocks TV HERE
“Everyone put a shift in tonight………..” see what goalscorer Lloyd James had to say about the win on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Mind In Somerset MOM
Lee Lucas was named Taunton Town Man Of The Match, photo to follow