27th December 2023

It was another record breaking afternoon for the Glovers as they broke their own National League South attendance record as a crowd of 6,301 saw the Glovers beat Taunton 4-1. Goals from Frank Nouble, Michael Smith, Rhys Murphy and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton ensured the Peacocks left Huish Park empty handed.

Will Dawes returned the starting XI for Mark Cooper’s men but unfortunately had to come off inside the first 10 minutes after taking a knock. He was replaced by Rhys Murphy who didn’t waste much time before threatening the Peacocks’ goal. On 8 minutes, Murphy latches onto the ball on the right before trying to find Courtney Senior with a low cross but Austen Booth cleared before the ball could find Senior’s feet.

On 10 minutes, Charlie Cooper had a great chance. A cross from the right was collected by Alex Whittle before the ball was played to the edge of the area where Cooper set himself before trying to place it into the bottom corner. The effort had Dan Lavercombe scrambling in the Taunton goal as he could only tip it around the post.

Jordan Young was gifted a free kick in a dangerous position but, despite he previous success from set pieces so far this season, his effort went over the bar. Following this chance, Taunton had one of their own through Nat Jarvis who brought the ball forward before shooting but it was high and wide of Joe Day’s goal.

The Glovers broke the deadlock on 15 minutes when Frank Nouble grabbed his second goal in consecutive games. Michael Smith latched onto a through ball before drilling it low into the area where Nouble was waiting to slot the ball low into the corner.

The pressure the Glovers were exerting on the Taunton goal continued, even after the goal. Charlie Cooper played an inch perfect ball into the path of Rhys Murphy who drove into the box before shooting but Dan Lavercombe came out sprawling to block his shot.

However, it wasn’t long before the Glovers extended their lead. Frank Nouble became provider for this one as he brought down a long ball over the top before back heeling it into the path of Michael Smith who drilled the ball into the net. The goal, scored on 22 minutes, was Smith’s first for the club since his arrival in September.

The attacks just kept coming and Michael Smith remained in the mix for most of the Glovers’ forward play. Smith managed to get to the byline again before putting a low cross to Rhys Murphy who somehow put his effort over the bar from six-yards out. A couple minutes later, Murphy had another chance but this time from further out. A long ball over the top was headed into the path of Rhys Murphy who struck the ball on the half volley but his effort was always rising.

As half time was fast approaching, Rhys Murphy had one more chance at finding the net before the interval. He skipped down the touch line, somehow keeping the ball in play, before driving into the area and shooting but his shot was well wide of the goal.

Inside the four additional minutes given by the official, Jordan Young had a chance of his own. He managed to squeeze between two defenders with the ball stuck to his feet before pulling the trigger but his effort flew inches over the crossbar.

With very little time for either side to react following that latest chance, the Glovers went into the break with a two-goal lead.

The second half started a little calmer than the first with the Glovers not creating too many chances in the opening stages.

The first chance at goal fell the way of Taunton on 62 minutes as Ollie Chamberlain struck an effort from the edge of the box but Joe Day comfortably held onto the ball. Moments later, the ball was cleared out of the area but only as far as Dan Ball who took a shot on but his effort was deflected wide.

Mark Cooper then decided it was time to add a fresh pair of legs as Sonny Blu Lo-Everton was introduced for Courtney Senior.

Just minutes after the change, the Glovers managed to grab a third on 69 minutes. Rhys Murphy was fortunate as the Taunton defender mistimed the bounce which enabled him to run through one-on-one and slot the ball beyond Lavercombe in the Taunton goal. A relief for Rhys Murphy who looked destined to get on the scoresheet ever since coming on very early in the first half.

As the noisy home end had just finished enjoying the third goal, substitute Sonny Blu Lo-Everton gave them a fourth to celebrate. On 72 minutes, a short corner routine made its way to Lo-Everton who managed to turn and shoot low towards the near post where it managed to creep in after ricocheting off the woodwork. A moment very much enjoyed by the midfielder who had only been introduced 5 minutes beforehand.

After the fourth goal, Mark Cooper’s men looked to see the game out with Alex Fisher coming off the bench to replace Jordan Young. However, Austen Booth managed to rise highest from a corner and give the Peacocks a lifeline on 78 minutes.

Despite the goal back, the Glovers never looked threatened as the minutes ticked by. The only talking point as the game went into the final stages was the two quick bookings distributed to Nick McCootie who had not been on the pitch very long. The first yellow was given for a heavy challenge on Charlie Cooper before McCootie lashed out at Cooper who was still on the floor following the tackle.

As the full time whistle went it marked a big win for the Glovers as, with results going their way, saw them extend their lead to 10 points at the top of the National League South.