Buildbase FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round

Taunton Town 3-2 Concord Rangers

Match report taken from and written by James Wright

Town humbled National League South opposition for the fourth time in just over a year in cup competition to progress to the First Round Proper of the Buildbase FA Trophy in an exhilarating tie at the Viridor Stadium.

The Peacocks got off to a flying start with Dan Sullivan already having stretched Louis Wells into an excellent save before they took a 4th minute lead. This time Wells failed to hold a Pierce Mitchell shot and the ball fell to the feet of Ross Staley who squared to Matt Wright for an easy finish.

Concord, aiming to become the second Canvey team to lift the FA Trophy, the island’s eponymously named club having triumphed over Forest Green in 2001, surged back at their hosts. Captain Steve Cawley curled a shot into the arms of Lloyd Irish whilst Kyron Farrell fired over. They came agonisingly close in the 14th minute, however. Femi Akinwande crashed a shot against the goal frame, then reacted first to retrieve the rebound and burst forwards along the right hand goal line. The striker’s run was curtailed by a Ben Palmer foul, giving Cawley the chance to equalise from the penalty spot, but Irish flung himself to his right to accomplish a spectacular save.

Cawley was not to be denied long however, sliding in at the far post to convert an excellent deep cross from the left by Ben Greenhalgh. At this stage Taunton appeared to be wobbling, frequently exposed by the frightening pace of Akinwande, midfielder Amos Nasha and right-back Khale Da Costa. However, for all their prowess in attack, Concord always seemed vulnerable at the back. Wells was required to save an angled drive from Mitchell and a Ben Adelsbury free-kick. Then, expertly set up by Mitchell on a probing counter attack, Sullivan was inches away from restoring Taunton’s lead in the 35th minute, pulling a shot just past the far post. Wright concluded a gripping opening 45 minutes by smashing a header on to the far post after being located by a Sullivan cross.

Attacking the Invest Southwest end, Concord were on top in the early stages of the second half. Fed by the irrepressible Da Costa, Farrell scuffed a shot just wide of the near post, then Greenhalgh and Akinwande combined to set up Harry Lee from whom Irish saved. The Essex side edged ahead for the first time just after the hour mark when Lee unleashed a fabulous shot from 20 yards out that arrowed into Irish’s top right hand corner.

At that stage few would have rated Taunton’s chances, but the home side turned the tie on its head with two goals in three minutes quarter of an hour from time. Wells kept out an Ollie Chamberlain header with a quite remarkable reaction save low to his right, but the resultant corner was not adequately cleared and Staley made a sweet connection with a left foot drive from the edge of the area that somehow threaded its way through a packed penalty box and inside the near post. Matt Buse then immediately bagged the winner, his deflected shot from the edge of the area squirming through an embarrassed Wells and trickling over the line.

Predictably, Concord threw the proverbial kitchen sink at their hosts in the closing stages. Irish though confirmed his Man of the Match accolade by adding to his first half penalty save with top drawer blocks from Farrell and Greenhalgh who was through on his own. Chamberlain also made a timely interception, his leg deflecting Nasha’s goalbound strike from eight yards over the bar.

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ben Palmer (Omar Simpson 65), Shane White, Brett Trowbridge, Ben Adelsbury, Matt Buse, Ollie Chamberlain, Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan, Ross Staley (Chris McGrath 86). Unused subs: Les Afful, Tom Stone, Michael Meaker

Concord: Louis Wells, Khale Da Costa (Adam Topley 74), Jordan Brown, Harry Lee, Billy Roast, Lewis Knight, Kyron Farrell (Jed Smith 71), Amos Nasha, Femi Akinwande (Lewis Taaffe 84), Steve Cawley (captain), Ben Greenhalgh. Unused subs: Steve King, George Marsh

Referee: Marc Whaley (Plymouth)

Assistants: Stuart Kane (Saltash), James Gallagher (Exeter)

Attendance: 479