The Peacocks enter the exciting realm of the Emirates FA Cup 1st Round Proper when they lock horns with MK Dons tomorrow afternoon (5th November), ko 3.00pm.

The tie against the League One side represents the highest-ranked club we have ever faced in a competitive game, equalling our meeting with Swindon Town in the 1981-82 campaign. Swindon at the time were in the old Third Division, the equivalent of League One, and recovered from the shock of conceding a 12th minute goal to Kevin Haines to eventually came out on top 2-1. That November afternoon signified the first occasion the Peacocks had reached the 1st Round Proper and since then they have only achieved that feat once more, memorably holding National League Barrow to a 2-2 draw at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium in 2016 before losing out 2-1 in the replay in Cumbria.

So onto tomorrow and the massive task facing Town against a Dons side three levels higher in the footballing structure. After finishing in 3rd place last season but losing to Wycombe Wanderers in the semi-finals of the Play-Offs, expectations may have been high again this time round but so far, the campaign has not gone to plan. MK currently occupy 21st spot, with four wins and ten defeats from 16 games played. Three of those wins have come on the road with their record at Stadium MK being a sorry sight for home fans, a solitary victory against Port Vale and a draw versus Accrington Stanley their only consolation against six defeats. Recent form has improved, with just one loss in their last four games, with a win at Charlton followed by a goalless draw at Cheltenham Town last weekend. It’s Cup football though and who knows what might happen? 🤔

Whereas this will be the Dons’ first FA Cup tie of the season, the Peacocks have already played four matches to get to this stage. Narrow, and it has to be said, unconvincing 1-0 wins over Laverstock & Ford, and Walton & Hersham were followed by a meeting with Yeovil Town in the final qualifying round and after holding the National League side to a 0-0 draw at Huish Park, the job was completed in the replay courtesy of Lloyd James’ first half penalty. That result, along with last Saturday’s conclusive win over Tonbridge Angels, will give Town confidence which they will need going into tomorrow’s challenge against an MK side containing a wealth of experience including skipper Dean Lewington who has made nearly 900 appearances for the club, former Blackburn midfielder Brad Johnson who himself has notched up close to 600 senior appearances, and forward Will Grigg who has netted nearly 150 career goals, along with younger talent in the shape of loanees Henry Lawrence from Chelsea and Louie Barry from Aston Villa.

The Peacocks travel to Milton Keynes later today (Friday) for an overnight stay with a full squad on board, with only centre half Jake Wannell not fit for selection due to an ankle injury. Whatever happens, Head of Football Rob Dray is not going just to make up the numbers. He commented:” We’re all really looking forward to it. A lot of people have asked me if I’m nervous, but I don’t really get like that, maybe 10 seconds before kick-off, then I have a deep breath and I’m into football mode! It’s going to be a magnificent occasion and it’s very humbling with the amount of our supporters who are coming to watch so we owe it to them to not just turn up and have a stroll around and a stadium tour, it’s very important we give it our best shot and I just want MK Dons to know that they’ve been in a game with Taunton Town, and we give a good account of ourselves.

Despite the Peacocks’ squad being determined to cause a major upset, the Town boss is fully aware that the chances are slim. “We’ve got a very small chance, but we’ve got a chance and it’s the FA Cup. Whatever happens I always think that in these FA Cup games, as we showed in our two early games, is that regardless of what I say to the players and regardless of what the players think, they drop by 15% and the other team, the lower league team, ups their game by 15%. It doesn’t matter what the manager says, I’m hoping that effect happens for them on Saturday and then we up our game by 15% and who knows!”

Keeper Jack Bycroft has yet to concede a goal in this season’s FA Cup competition and hopes to keep that record going tomorrow, saying:” It’s a massive occasion for the club, me and all the other boys are looking forward to it. Getting through the two games against Yeovil was a massive achievement for us and I think if we go there and do our best and give MK a good game then who knows but it will be a great day out for us and the fans. It will be a great shop window for me and the boys to show what they can do and hopefully it will be a fantastic day.”

Fellow keeper and Club Captain Lloyd Irish is equally enthusiastic about the prospect of taking on League One opposition, remarking:” I’m excited for all the lads and for myself just to be part of the squad and help Jack with his preparation for the game and I’m sure it will be a great occasion and well deserved for everyone at the club. Jack has done an amazing job keeping four clean sheets to get this far along with all the defence so fingers crossed we can show the same strength tomorrow. It’s cup football so you just never know, personally, having seen these lads play in the last few years and with it being the best Taunton team I’ve been involved in since I’ve been here, if any team’s got a chance to do it it’s this one.”

For further thoughts on the game, you can see interviews with Rob Dray on Peacocks TV HERE, with skipper Nick Grimes HERE and with Chairman Kevin Sturmey HERE.

Traveller Info

Ground: Stadium MK, Stadium Way West, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK1 1ST

Ground to Ground: 147.8 miles (via M5/A436)

Directions: there are various routes available to reach Stadium MK from Taunton – please click HERE for options

Admission: Match tickets can be purchased in advance on the MK Dons website HERE or at the stadium on the day.

Prices are £12 Adults, £9 Senior Citizens, £6 Under 25’s, £3 Under 18’s, £1.50 Under 12’s


Supporters who need to collect tickets on the day should go to the Away ticket office at Gate 3.  

Parking: All parking can be purchased online in advance for £8 at Subject to availability any remaining parking on the day will be £10. Coach parking in advance is £25 (£30 on the day) and minibuses are £15 in advance (£20 on the day) and can be booked on the same website.

Stadium MK Ground Regulations: can be viewed HERE

Last meeting: this will be the first ever meeting between the sides.