National League South Sat 22 April Cygnet Health Care Stadium
Taunton Town
  • Stearn (45', 54', 90')
  • Pearce (11')
  • Akanbi (42')

The Rebels made the trip to the West Country with the chance to cement their place in the playoffs following their four consecutive victories.

Their hosts, Taunton most recently lost 3-0 in midweek to relegation-threatened Hungerford Town. The Peacocks were sat 15th before today, clear themselves of any relegation concerns.

Adam Hinshelwood’s XI was boosted with the returns of two key players in Joel Colbran and Kane Wills. Colbran replaced Danny Barker in the back four, with Joe Rye moving to his more natural centre-back position. While Wills replaced Josh Chambers, who was recalled from his loan by his parent club Gillingham in midweek.

It was a quiet first ten minutes before Ibby Akanbi fed through Ollie Pearce in a central area of the box. The frontman took the ball past Lloyd Irish, but the keeper brought down the striker and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Pearce stepped up and slotted his penalty into the back of the net, sending Irish the wrong way.

Reece Meekums almost doubled the Rebels’ lead on 17 minutes but Irish denied him with a strong, diving save. The rebound fell to Davide Rodari but his effort was deflected wide by Cameron Evans.

Less than 20 minutes in, the goal scorer Pearce was forced off with an injury that he sustained in the penalty incident. He was replaced by Suk-Jae Lee.

In the 43rd minute, the Rebels doubled their lead after Akanbi cut inside onto his right foot from the left before curling past Irish into the back of the net.

The Peacocks responded instantly after Harrison Male brought down Ross Stearn in the area. The forward stepped up himself and got a goal back for the hosts.

Stearn nearly had his second after getting on the end of a ball over the top just before half time, he cut inside but fired over.

Into the second half, Worthing had another appeal for a penalty against Irish but this time it was waved away. Lee took the ball past the keeper this time and went down under the challenge, but the referee awarded a free kick to the hosts and booked the youngster for simulation.

Up the other end, the Peacocks were awarded a second penalty themselves. Colbran was adjudged to have handled the ball after a deep cross and received a booking for his troubles.
Stearn stepped up once more and fired the hosts level.

On the hour mark, Male was called into action again. This time, denying Jake Wannell’s volley from close range.

On 74 minutes, Danny Barker came on to replace Rodari.

There were chances for both sides late on. When Akanbi squared it to Colbran in the 89th minute, it looked like the Rebels had found a way through, but the ball across was just behind the advancing fullback and the Peacocks cleared.

Up the other end, the Peacocks made their chance pay when Stearn was sent in behind once more. He made no mistake as he finished past Male to complete his hattrick and the hosts’ comeback win.

Mo Dabre replaced Lee late on as Hinshelwood tried to find the equaliser in added time, but it was not to be, and the Rebels fell to their first defeat in five.

Despite the defeat, the Rebels now just need a point to guarantee a place in the playoffs and have a chance to do so in their penultimate league fixture on Tuesday night as they travel to Cheshunt.