Town were never seriously troubled as they conclusively dismissed the Wessex League outfit from this season’s Emirates FA Cup. Harlequins had caused an upset in the previous round by knocking out Southern League Thatcham following a replay but the Peacocks proved a different proposition, building a five goal lead by half time and creating enough chances to have easily reached double figures.
Wearing their impressive new kit, the Peacocks welcomed back the usual suspects after most were rested for the midweek encounter with Street although centre half Ben Adelsbury and midfield dynamo Matt Buse were both not fit to start and relegated to the substitute’s bench. The tie got off to a sluggish start with Town dominating possession but finding chances hard to come by. Dan Sullivan and Nuno Felix both saw efforts miss the target at the Invest Southwest End while Craig Veal fired the ball across the open goal but no colleague was in proximity to capitalise.
The deadlock was finally broken after 29 minutes when Felix turned his man inside out on the left before crossing for Andrew Neal to glance a header wide of keeper Matthew Fredericks. The opening goal broke the seal as the Peacocks went on to put the game out of Bemerton’s reach by half time. After Ryan Brett had curled a free kick narrowly wide, Town went on to double their lead after 31 minutes, a Felix header being misplaced by Bemerton defender Dan Field to Sullivan who proceeded to launch a cracking 20 yard strike into the far corner of Fredericks’ net.
Sullivan then turned provider, sidestepping a defender on the left to cross for Ollie Chamberlain to head home from five yards for the third goal after 38 minutes, before scoring his second of the afternoon four minutes later. A long clearance from Lloyd Irish was flicked on by Neal and when Joe Rawkins missed his touch, Sullivan nipped in to round Fredericks and roll the ball into an empty net. There was still time for a fifth before the interval, Matt Wright being pushed over by Kieran Winman following a corner and the Town skipper got to his feet to emphatically drill home the penalty with the 45 minutes up.
There was no respite for the visitors when play resumed. Veal returned Neal’s cross back into the mix where Wright bundled wide, with the Peacocks’ captain going on to have a couple more headers from good positions, firstly sending one over the bar from Brett’s corner before Fredericks kept out his attempt at the far post after Neal had curled a ball into the box.
Irish was called into his first real action when he palmed over a cross from Callum Kitcher and then made a routine save from Joe Spratt’s shot but generally it was all Town who added a sixth goal on the hour, Neal delivering a centre from the left for Wright to steer a header back over the keeper from the corner of the six yard box. The Town defence then went to sleep, presenting Harlequins with their best chance of the game as Yankuba Ceesay found himself through on goal but Irish made a crucial deflection to divert the ball wide.
Despite progress to the next round already being assured, the Peacocks remained on the hunt for further goals. Sullivan’s cross fell into the path of Wright who put the chance wide on the run while a far post header went the wrong side of the post. Brazilian substitute Douglas Camilo whose registration had only gone through the previous day came on for Veal and was well placed to connect with a header but Neal beat him to it and nodded over from Shane White’s cross.
The final Peacocks’ goal arrived with ten minutes left on the clock. Sullivan cleverly chested down a long pass from Keith Emmerson for Neal to collect, switch feet to make space and rifle in a cool finish from the left side of the area. Headers from Neal and Sullivan were too high as both searched for their hat trick goal while Man of the Match Sullivan saw a strike turned wide by Fredericks.
With the 90 minutes virtually up, Town incurred their only blemish of the afternoon. Chamberlain slipped over as Camilo passed to him, giving Joe Rawkins the opportunity to snaffle the ball and make ground to the edge of the box where he fired past the dive of Irish into the left-hand corner. A little bit sloppy but in the scheme of things this shouldn’t detract from a thoroughly competent performance following the events of the preceding week. Yet another 500+ crowd were treated to some excellent football and special mention for referee Casimir Nzenga who officiated well with the minimum of fuss.
Match: Taunton Town v Bemerton Heath Harlequins
Date: September 8, 2018
Competition: Emirates FA Cup | 1st Round Qualifying
Venue: Viridor Stadium
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Match Sponsor: Terrance Ball Kitchens
Match Ball Sponsor: Invest SouthWest
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Shane White, Nuno Felix (Pierce Mitchell 80), Josh Nelmes, Keith Emmerson, Craig Veal (Douglas Camilo 68), Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett (Tom Stone 79), Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan, Andrew Neal. Unused subs: Ben Adelsbury, Matt Buse, Brett Trowbridge
Bemerton: Matthew Fredericks (captain), Dan Field, Peter Fletcher, Joe Spratt, Joe Rawkins, Kieran Winman, Liam Greenough (Matt Gunstone Gray 45), Jamie Waters (Yankuba Ceesay 45), Jack Slade, Callum Kitcher (Sam O’Hagan 76), Tom Moseley. Unused subs: James Simmons, Will Knight, Rob Crossley
Referee: Casimir Nzenga (Southsea)
Referee’s Assistant 1: James Gould (Plymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Ryan Cornelius (Plymouth)