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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 02 September 2017
Tavistock v Taunton Town
2 - 2

A Jekyll and Hyde performance saw Town surrender a two goal advantage as they were taken to an Emirates FA Cup replay by the Devon club who sit two levels lower in the non-league structure. It was never going to be a cakewalk at Langsford Park against the reigning Peninsula League champions but after establishing what should have been a match-winning position Town deteriorated to an extent that it was a relief to hear the final whistle.

With Lewis Powell restored to the starting line-up in place of Les Afful, the only change from the previous game against Paulton, the visitors settled in comfortably during a quiet start before they began to make their presence felt. The bounce defeated an off-balance Powell as he tried to connect with Owen Irish’s knockdown from a Shane White free kick while Matt Wright headed Ryan Brett’s corner over the top.

This set the pattern for the majority of the first half, Town getting the ball in the box at every opportunity but being unable to apply a finishing touch that mattered. Another White free kick was directed over via the back of Owen Irish and Ollie Chamberlain got on the end of a couple of crosses but couldn’t get enough power or direction on his headers to trouble Josh Oak in the home goal.

Chamberlain hooked another effort into the arms of the Tavistock keeper before the hosts had their opening pot at goal twenty minutes in, Jack Crago teeing up Dan Sullivan to rifle narrowly wide. Oak then made his first meaningful save when he palmed over White’s shot from 20 yards followed by Irish and Arran Pugh headers which both missed the target as Town remained on top.

Tavistock were looking more than capable on the break, with Lloyd Irish fielding a glancing header from George Swain and safely holding a ground shot from Ben Cross. However it was the Peacocks who drew first blood after 32 minutes. Chamberlain deftly found Lewis Powell and the Town striker returned the favour by launching a pass over the top into the path of Chamberlain who lobbed around a defender before volleying past Oak from six yards.

The hosts responded with another chance, Luke Brown’s diving header from a Dave Hallett corner flying just over, but Town stayed relatively untroubled as they held the lead at the break and then scored a second six minutes into the second half. Crosses from Brett and White were not fully cleared and it was third time lucky when Powell wrapped his foot around Pierce Mitchell’s centre from the right to beat Oak’s despairing dive and locate the corner.

The travelling support breathed a bit easier with their side two up and seemingly that bit closer to the 2nd Qualifying Round. However, far from becoming Lambs to the slaughter, Tavistock hit back immediately. Pacy danger man Crago who Town never got to grips with for the whole game latched onto a through ball but Lloyd Irish stood his ground to block. This proved a temporary escape when the hosts reduced the arrears with a poor goal to concede from Town’s viewpoint. There seemed no imminent danger from Warren Daw’s speculative long ball down the left channel but Crago reacted ahead of Owen Irish before advancing without too much hindrance into the area where he drove a left foot strike past Lloyd Irish into the roof of the net.

Wright’s header was disallowed as he was adjudged to have infringed Oak when challenging for Brett’s free kick and sub Ross Staley’s shot proved a routine stop as Town tried to reassert their authority. The home side’s neat short passing game though continued to pressurise Town who didn’t help themselves by lacking concentration and leaving too many wide open areas for Tavistock to exploit. Crago again found space before being blocked off but the pendulum had swung the Lambs’ way, culminating in an equaliser five minutes from time. Town went to sleep when a Cross throw-in found Tyler Elliott on the right touchline and from his centre Crago outjumped Mitchell at the back post to head home.

The Peacocks were now on the back foot as Tavistock sensed a shock. It took a fine tackle though to stop Brett pulling the trigger after he had been set up by Olly Mehew before another well-timed challenge from Pugh foiled Crago at the opposite end. Town’s inexplicable downturn was compounded in stoppage time when sub Les Afful, who had been booked for handball earlier, caught Elliott on the halfway line to stop him breaking and received a second caution and the inevitable red.

Thankfully this had no impact on the final scoreline as Town edged to a draw and a replay at the Viridor Stadium when they know a more professional and clinical performance over 90 minutes will be required to avoid becoming the victim of another cup upset.             

 By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ryan Brett, Owen Irish (Ross Staley 62), Arran Pugh, Ben Adelsbury, Shane White, Brett Trowbridge,  Matt Wright (captain) (Olly Mehew 84), Lewis Powell (Les Afful 72) , Ollie Chamberlain. Unused subs: Ben Palmer, Michael Meaker

Tavistock: Josh Oak, Ben Cross, Dan Evans, Warren Daw (captain), Jake Miller, Dave Hallett, Dan Sullivan, George Swain (Tyler Elliott 54), Jack Crago, Luke Brown, Josh Grant. Unused subs: Lewis Daw, Rikki Sheppard, Jake Anderson, Kosta Andrejenko   

Referee: Timothy Burley (Redruth)

Assistants: Steven Annis (Penzance), Matthew Carney (Falmouth)

Attendance: 380

 

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