Chelmsford City return to the Melbourne Community Stadium on Saturday for the second time this week, and will look to get back to winning ways against Taunton Town after Monday’s 3-3 draw against Dover Athletic. The same applies to Rob Dray’s Peacocks side, who have gone winless in their three league matches this month.
Even though our visitors sit 4th in the National League South standings ahead of their trip to Essex, Robbie Simpson’s side can climb above Taunton in the table on goal difference with a win on Saturday, despite currently being five places behind the Peacocks in the league table.
Taunton Town fans are currently enjoying one of the best spells in their club’s history, having experienced two promotions since 2017. The Peacocks celebrated promotion from the Southern League South & West in 2017/18, memorably amassing over 100 points in this title winning campaign.
The Peacocks came ever-so close to recording back-to-back promotions after finishing second in their first Southern League Premier season. After losing out on another first place finish on the final day of the 18/19 campaign, Taunton were forced to settle for a play-off place, but a semi-final defeat on penalties to Poole Town cost the Somerset club a second promotion in as many years.
Rob Dray’s finally side made the step up to the National League South for the first time last season, after finishing top of the Southern League Premier South in 2021/22. This promotion saw Taunton reach the highest level the club has played at in its history.
The Peacocks consolidated their place in the National South during their first ever season in the second tier of Non-League football, with a 14th placed finish ensuring the club survived comfortably to help lay the foundations for their strong start to the current season.
The goals of midfielder Ross Stearn have been one factor behind this strong start. The midfielder finished as the club’s second highest goal scorer in 2022/23, which included the first ever Peacocks’ hat trick in the National League. The 32-year-old has carried this strong form into the current campaign, scoring six goals in 14 league games so far.
Attacking midfielder Dylan Morgan and defender Nick Grimes have also enjoyed decent seasons so far in terms of goals, each finding the net three times so far. 21-year-old Morgan joined the Peacocks in summer 2022 and ended last season as the club’s third leading goal scorer after scoring some spectacular strikes. Grimes is current team captain and has amassed well over 100 first team appearances in Somerset after joining Taunton in 2019.
Most recent meeting:
City and Taunton last met on the final day of the regular 2022/23 National League South season. The visitors ran out 2-1 winners on a sunny day in Essex, in front of a crowd of just over 1300 people at the Melbourne Community Stadium. Dave Sims-Burgess put Taunton into a first half lead after heading past Eddie Beach at the back-post. City frontmen Michael Folivi and Callum Jones came agonisingly close to equalising before half time.
The Clarets were left to rue these missed chances even further when Lee Lucas’ stunning free-kick doubled Taunton’s lead after it found the top corner of Beach’s goal. Callum Jones won a penalty which Arjanit Krasniqi converted in the 68th minute, but the Clarets were unable to find an equaliser in the final 20 minutes of proceedings in Essex, ensuring Taunton could end their first National League South season on a high.
Robbie Simpson will be without Adam Mills, following confirmation from the manager after Monday’s game that Mills has departed the club. The Clarets look set to remain without club captain Dave Winfield who is still recovering from injury, whilst centre back Luke Jenkins will serve his suspension following his red card against Slough last week.
(Please note that online tickets will be available for purchase up until 12:00pm on matchday.)
Ticket prices online:
Adult – £14Concession/Senior (65+) – £9 Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £4 Youth (12-17) – £4 Under-12s – Free
Supporters can also buy tickets on the day at the Melbourne Community Stadium. Matchday turnstile prices on the day:
Adult – £17.00Concession/Senior (65+) – £12.00 Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £6.50 Youth (12-17) – £6.50 Under-12s – Free
How to follow the game:
Clarets fans can follow live updates about the game by following the club’s X (formerly known as Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets.
Radio Clarets will be providing live audio commentary of Saturday’s proceedings at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
Post-match reaction will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV following the game.
Words by Jake Dixon