The first ever visit to Imber Court was not a happy one for the Peacocks who suffered a surprisingly substantial defeat. Despite dominating in terms of possession for the majority of the game, Town were unable to translate this into goals against their mid-table hosts who capitalised on some poor defending, scoring three of their four goals when reduced to ten men which was evened out in the second half with the dismissal of Matt Wright.
It was an unchanged Town side from the previous game against Bitton that took to the pitch on a gloriously sunny early autumn afternoon and initial indications were that the visitors were well set to extend their winning run as they asked questions of the home defence from the off. Andrew Neal’s pass was just too firm for Ollie Chamberlain to capitalise on while Wright fed Matt Buse whose ball across the face of goal was cleared.
It was therefore against the run of play when the hosts opened the scoring out of the blue after 17 minutes. Ben Adelsbury’s tackle on Jonathan Hippolyte saw the ball run loose to Ethan Chislett who moved inside before striking a shot from the edge of the box into the left-hand corner of Lloyd Irish’s net.
The Peacocks responded, winning their first corner after 22 minutes from which they nearly equalised with Thomas Williams failing to hold Shane White’s flag kick and Josh Nelmes unluckily seeing his overhead kick from six yards strike the crossbar. Chamberlain then set up White for a shot which was blocked while Dan Sullivan chanced his arm with a chip from 25 yards which was caught by Williams.
Some slack play gave Chislett the chance to find Jack Mazzone who saw his effort held by Irish but the momentum was very much toward the Police goal when Town levelled on 32 minutes. Ryan Brett’s cleared corner was retrieved by Nelmes on the left and when the Met defence didn’t clear Neal’s cross, Adelsbury brought the ball down to toe poke the ball over the line. The Peacocks kept applying the pressure, winning another three corners. The third one again saw the woodwork deny them, White’s delivery being punched out from under the bar by Williams which led to a frenetic attempt to force the ball in and ending with Neal firing a close range shot off the underside of the bar.
It was then the home side’s turn to find the goalframe when Mazzone steered John Gilbert’s free kick against the post. The match swung further in Town’s favour five minutes before half time when Gilbert received a straight red card for a stamp on Nelmes which generated a mass flare-up. However unbelievably Town found themselves behind again two minutes later after more defensive frailty. Nelmes conceded a corner with a wayward back pass and Chislett delivered from the right for Max Blackmore to head in unchallenged on the near post.
The action continued at either end up to half time. Adelsbury headed just wide from Brett’s corner while Hippolyte hit a strike straight at Irish from 12 yards as Town’s defending again gave cause for concern. Ultimately though Town were left scratching their heads how they could be losing at the break.
Going into the second half, the one goal deficit did not appear too much of an obstacle as the visitors pressed forward again. Nelmes had a header deflected wide and Wright nodded a cross from Pierce Mitchell, a half time substitute for Nuno Felix, over the target. Williams then dived to turn Brett’s 20 yard drive wide before White’s header from yet another corner was blocked on the line as Town dominated.
Hopes that it would just be a matter of time before the equaliser were cruelly shattered after 66 minutes. The hosts caught Town on the counter, Chislett’s pass deflecting off Nelmes’ head to fall for Blackmore who was through on goal and although Irish took the sting out of the shot it squirmed underneath him and Mazzone ran in to force the ball home.
The Peacocks’ hopes of an immediate riposte were undone by the assistant’s flag who ruled out Wright’s header from Neal’s cross for offside before it was game over after 69 minutes. Another swift break from Police saw Blackmore spray a pass out to Chislett on the left and it was all too easy for him to cut inside and beat Irish at his right-hand post for his second goal of the afternoon.
Town’s miserable afternoon was complete on 71 minutes when they were also reduced to ten men. Mazzone’s challenge on Brett went unpunished which was followed by a late tackle by Wright on Blackmore and the Town captain was shown a straight red.
The remainder of the game became comfortable for the hosts as the Peacocks huffed and puffed but ran out of ideas and hardly threatened. White’s header into the turf from Craig Veal’s cross was gathered by Williams but other crosses and corners into the box were defended efficiently. Nesta Guiness-Walker fired over and Irish held Alex Fisher’s shot at his near post as the Police launched a couple of late raids before the whistle thankfully brought proceedings to a close and left the Peacocks to dissect what went wrong.
Match: Met Police v Taunton Town
Date: September 29, 2018
Competition: Evo Stik League | Southern Premier
Venue: Imber Court Sports Club
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Met Police: Thomas Williams (captain), Josh Webb, Nesta Guiness-Walker, Jeremy Arthur, Charlie Wassmer (Sam Williams 33), Louis Birch, John Gilbert, Ethan Chislett, Jack Mazzone, Max Blackmore (Bayley Mummery 77), Jonathan Hippolyte (Alex Fisher 56). Unused subs: Oliver Knight, Gurkan Gokmen
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Shane White, Nuno Felix (Pierce Mitchell 45), Ben Adelsbury, Josh Nelmes (Brett Trowbridge 81), Matt Buse, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan (Craig Veal 67), Andrew Neal. Unused subs: Douglas Camilo, Keith Emmerson
Referee: Jamaal Thorne (Thornton Heath)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Notis Liappis (Croydon)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Joshua Godfrey (Warlingham)