This Tuesday night game should have been an immense occasion at the Somerset Campervan Co. Stadium against Torquay United but instead Taunton Town made the long trip to Welling with a depleted squad that saw Nick Grimes, Cam Evans and Lee Lucas not travel due to work commitments.
With the Peacocks having not registered a league goal in around 400 hours, the team looked full of energy and eager to break the goalless streak. Dan Ball, the captain for the evening and the birthday boy, led the Peacocks out and his side came close early on when Austen Booth’s header hit the bar. The two evenly matched teams fiercely attacked each other’s goals as the game went from end to end. Ross Stearn had our best chance of the first half after a free kick just outside the box, Javarn Pitterson in the Welling goal saving the rebound after he had mishandled the ball the first time. We had one more half-chance when Nat Jarvis outran two defenders and put in a cross that Nick McCootie narrowly missed.
Taunton fans voiced their delight at our first half performance, which included some great attacking play and some spirited defensive performances. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be the team going into the second half the happier of the two, with the Welling striker Kain Adom making the most of an unfortunate bounce off of Booth before striking it past Dan Lavercombe in the Taunton goal from around 25 yards on the 43rd minute.
The second half began with much of the same energy as the first, with Taunton going on the attack early, searching for an equaliser. And on the 52nd minute our goal drought ended, and the equaliser came. Ollie Chamberlain burst into the box and when he came one-on-one with the ‘keeper Pitterson, he was brought down, and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Up stepped Mr. Ross Stearn, who slotted the penalty to the ‘keepers left, and in his own words “The Posts Don’t Move” and the 11 travelling fans went wild.
The boys smelt blood in the water and went on the hunt for the second goal. Stearn, Dylan Morgan, Jarvis and Zac Smith all went close to breaking the deadlock, but no-one could convert a chance into the Welling net. The home side went close in the 58th minute to grabbing their second goal, only an incredible last minute block from Chamberlain denying the Wings.
In the 66th minute Jarvis, who had had a much improved performance than recent, was subbed off for Malachi Linton, who bought a different quality to our attack, and he caused a host of problems for the Welling defence. Smith and Morgan were also causing a multitude of problems down the left flank and the former went close in the 68th minute with a curling shot from distance. On the 76th minute Town went close again when some incredible footwork from McCootie beat a four man press from Welling and a lovely cross-field ping to find Chamberlain but unfortunately his cross couldn’t connect with anyone in the box.
Welling went close again to a second goal in the 78th minute with a powerful shot from the edge of the box saved by Lavercombe, his quick thinking started a quick counter down the right and saw Linton have a shot saved by keeper Pitterson. Linton found himself through on goal again in the 80th minute but was pulled back by a Welling defender, who strangely avoided any sort of repercussion in the form of a booking. The resulting free kick went sailing over the bar.
Unfortunately in the 83rd minute the Peacocks were bought back down to earth as our bad luck struck again. Crossley Lema burst into the box for the Wings and was brought down which resulted in the second penalty of the evening. Tristan Abrahams stepped up and blasted the penalty down the middle. Many may have thought this was the winning goal but although we may have been knocked down by the penalty, we were certainly not out.
In the 88th minute Chamberlain burst down the right and won a free kick in a dangerous position. The delivery went into the box and after multiple shots and multiple attempted clearances, up stepped the super sub Linton, who when the ball dropped to him slammed it past the young Pitterson in the Welling goal. We were level again!
This late goal put a second wave of energy into the Taunton players, and we went in search of a late winner. Stearn slipped past the Wings’ defenders and poked a shot towards goal, but Pitterson was there to make a great save. Shortly after, a low cross almost reached an untagged Chamberlain at the back post, but he was unable to make the necessary touch to put it in. Last but most certainly not least in the 90th minute when Linton found himself in a strong position but was stopped by the Welling goalkeeper. Despite so many good chances in the dying moments of the game we could not find the winner.
This meant that penalties were to come. Both teams scored the first four before Jay Foulston and Enoch Muwonge both missed crucial penalty number five. Three more successful penalties followed before Pitterson, made himself the home-town hero and stopped Booth’s penalty down to his left before Rob Howard netted what would be the final penalty to send the Wings through to the next round.
We may not have come out on top in the shootout, but the lads can walk away from the night in Kent proud of themselves following a spirited performance.
Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Jay Foulston, Dan Ball (captain), Austen Booth, Ollie Chamberlain, Nat Jarvis (Malachi Linton 67) , Nick McCootie, Joe Guest, Ross Stearn, Zac Smith, Dylan Morgan. Unused subs: Lloyd James, Lloyd Irish
Welling: Javarn Pitterson, Crossley Lema, Cameron Green (Rob Howard 49), Taylor Curran, Tristan Abrahams, Dominic Odusanya (captain), Kain Adom, Amadou Kassarate, Jephte Tanga (Lewis White 82), Josh Chambers (Enoch Muwonge 75), Lachlan Byrd. Unused subs: Nico Jones, Ibra Sekajja, Antony Papadopoulos, David Kamara
Referee: Nicholas Dunn (Deal)
Referee’s Assistant 1: James Hall (London)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Reece Pinchback (Wickford)
” I’m very very proud of my players coming here on a Tuesday night and the commitment and effort levels they’ve put while here”………watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights courtesy of Welling United FC can be seen HERE
Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM
Nick McCootie receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Head of Football Rob Dray