The Peacocks continued their defence of the Somerset Premier Cup with an excellent 3-1 quarter final victory over Frome Town at the Viridor Stadium on Tuesday (24 March).
Aaron Ward-Baptiste’s hat trick accounted for the Southern Premier visitors in a game which was considerably more attractive than Town’s weekend encounter with Bishops Cleeve.
Rodney Marsh fired wide early on for Taunton and Brett Trowbridge had a deflected shot held by Darren Chitty whilst Frome threatened through Matt Minnis whose shot was semi-blocked, allowing Lloyd Irish to easily collect, and Tom Golledge who sliced a cross from Kris Miller wide.
Under 18’s captain Lewis Waldy, making his first start for Town, saw his drive deflected for a corner and Craig Herrod rifled narrowly wide as some crisp, attacking football kept Frome on their toes, with the breakthrough finally arriving on 36 minutes when Ward-Baptiste got free in the box to round Chitty and slide the ball home.
Minnis met a cross from Brandon Mundy but saw his shot settle in Irish’s midriff before Frome drew level on 59 minutes, Minnis skilfully volleying in a deep Harry Walker cross on the far post.
The Peacocks were back in front though after 69 minutes.
Herrod’s shot from 12 yards was blocked by Chitty and the follow-up then diverted for a Ben Carter corner from which the ball fell loose to Ward-Baptiste to plant into the roof of the net.
Matt Smith’s bouncing volley was held by Irish before Frome were reduced to ten men as the game entered the closing stages, Mundy picking up his second yellow of the night for a late tackle on Carter.
The tie was settled six minutes from time when Jamie Short bombed down the right wing, leaving Robins’ defenders trailing in his wake, to square the ball across the area for Ward-Baptiste to apply the finishing touch into an empty net.
Max Dyer, another Youth team player, came off the bench to make his debut and nearly helped add a fourth, winning the ball in the box and setting up Short for a strike which Chitty saved in the dying embers of the game.
Town now travel to Paulton Rovers in the semi-final next Tuesday (31st March), kick-off 7.30pm.
With manager Leigh Robinson not involved due to illness and watching from the office, assistant manager Mo Hopkins remarked:
“Having had an indifferent game against Bishops Cleeve, the players were keen to show the home support an entertaining game and win with more control.
Aaron rightfully deserves praise for grabbing a hat trick – the first goal was down to being persistent and robbing the defence.
The second from good team pressure and being alive around the box, with the third applying the finishing touch to a quick silver run from Shorty.
I would say the whole side deserved praise – they applied themselves really well and were as effective going forward as in denying the opposition any firm footings.Frome did pose a few periods of threat and scored with a sharp finish from a looping cross.
A couple of other strikes were well dealt with by Lloyd, with the side generally managing to deal with what was thrown at them.
The penetration from deliberate passages of play was pleasing, plus two U18s being effective bodes well.
Confidence is high and the balance of play puts us in good shape.”