Taunton Hit Rock Botham

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Post  Boz1964 on Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:13 pm

Taunton Hit Rock Botham

It was simply not cricket.

The high-flying Peacocks of Taunton Town FC were today knocked off their 'perch' by a resolute Merthyr Town team still smarting from being humbled by Swindon Supermarine on the weekend.

Being top of the league, with a thousand 'eyes' all peering over their shoulder, as the chasing pack close on their 'tail' brings with it its own pressures.

Expectations of the 'fans' are up, they almost assume the team are going to win all matches both home and away and not just win but win with style too.

The team can also get complacent and over confident- or to put it another way too peacocky.

'Pride' often comes before a fall and being top of the league Taunton only had one way to go.

With Captain Marble- Ashley Evans- intent on winning his own Ashes series in midfield, the early signs were there, that Merthyr just might bowl Taunton a googly.

The Peacocks weren't particularly a tall side- with their Captain and lead striker Matt Wright being the only real exception.

He was ably supported by the Somerset equivalent of the Mitchell Brothers - 8 Dan Sullivan and 10 Keith Emmerson- with the former having a blistering shot, which is likely to trouble many keepers from long distance.

With the Merthyr 8 and Taunton 5 also on the pitch, we had a real
'fanfare for the common man' with Emmerson, Lucas & Palmer.

One such early Sullivan effort on 15 minutes had teenage Academy keeper Lewys Webb spinning across his goal in pursuit of the ball which narrowly cleared the crossbar.

After a return to a flat back four, with midfielder Kieran Lewis filling in once more with his versatility coupled with exceptional tracking back from Ian Traylor- Merthyr suddenly managed to get Taunton 11 'Rocky' Neal 'on the ropes' and turn defence into attack.

Slowly but surely Merthyr crept back into the game, after the early dominance of the Somerset side and a swift move from the left flank engineered by the eponymous Traylor, saw Tom Meechan burst into the penalty box, only to be upended by flame-haired goalkeeper
Ron Weasley and despite his magic attempt at expelliarmus , sent the striker tumbling and left referee Jack Bonnick no option but to point to the penalty spot.

The resulting kick was slotted by the ever dependable Traylor to punish the peafowl.

Up until then, the sizeable away support had been very vocal, with cries of Engerland, Engerland, Engerland, accompanied on a drum made from an old Scrumpy Cider Vat.

I have not witnessed so many peacocks in one place at the same time- not since we opened the enclosure gate and they were fed to the Lions of Longleat in the early 1980s.

That really was one school outing worth the entry fee.

With Merthyr looking comfortable at the back, through the new partnership of Kyle Patten and Craig McDonnell - it was a blessed relief for the pairing to tower over their opponents and in fact- Patten looked so at ease with the defensive headers, he didn't even bother taking his baseball cap off until McDonnell got injured on the half hour mark.

As the former Taff's Well man picked himself up, after a hefty collusion with heavyweight defender Hairy Palmer- Taff didn't look well at all - in fact with his shoulder injury he had one long arm and one short one.

It prompted the local Gurnos Male Voice Choir to start singing his praises-
'He's one of our Own....he's one of our Own...Craig McDonnell ....he's one of our own'

With one of his knuckles dragging on the 3G pitch and the other in the air ....he did look like one of their own-although  the 'Guy' could have also been mistaken for Somerset & Taunton cricket legend Ian 'Beefy' Botham bowling a delivery for England.

On as substitute for the unfortunate McDonnell, came Owain 'Tulio' Jones-and it didn't take the former Nuneaton man long to add his name to the scoresheet.

He struck gold when he latched onto a free kick at the far post, making
Weasley look a Muggle, as he side footed the ball into the net to cap a wonderful first half from the only Merthyr first team players who were able bodied and available for selection.

On his first half defensive performance alone, our inexperienced full back Connor Young was coping better than his baptism of fire against Swindon and thereby deserving of an a mention in the 2019 Queens Annual Awards.

The New Year Connor's List.

With the halftime score at 2-0 to the Martyrs,  the hot chocolate seemed to taste better for some strange reason.

Taunton Manager, Rob Dray, however, was not a happy bunny (or squirrel for that matter) - as he sent Captain Peacock and the rest of the Fall from Grace Brothers out onto the pitch early as punishment for their surprising inept first half performance.

'Top of the League - you're having a laugh' is a bit cruel especially when you hear it from
your OWN Manager.

But even then the Peacocks couldn't add any colour to their off-colour display.

They changed their tactics and tried to clatter our young keeper into submission - as Bristol Rovers and Devon White once did to poor Gary Wager.

But karma doesn't sleep and on the hour mark, 'Tulio' added his second with a blast from his left boot left that knocked off Weasley's pointed hat after his defence had gone 'wand'ering.

By now the subdued Taunton fans were being 'taunted' with chants of 'football's not coming home' ( and neither are the points) from the Merthyr Faithful.

However, there were two bits of consolation for the Wurzel Army.

One came in the form of a powerful free kick from Centre Half Palmer on 81 minutes- of which if Stevie Wonder was commentating on the game rather than running the far side line  - would describe as a 'MasterBlaster' and the fact Title rivals Weymouth were held to a draw at home by lowly Poole Town.

The Peacocks may have dropped down the 'pecking order' but they still have plenty of time to 'suck seed' in their pursuit of promotion.

A wonderful gritty performance from the entire side today with young Webb coming up Trumps in goal for me.

And a question from our Manager too.

Can we play you every week?


Last edited by Boz1964 on Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:17 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Sobering Up)

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