Steele wary of derby backlash
TIVERTON Town will have to be wary of a Taunton Town outfit hungry for revenge, according to assistant manager Hedley Steele.
The two teams clash at Wordsworth Drive tomorrow (Tuesday) for the first time since the Yellows beat Taunton 3-2 in a Red Insure Cup match in October.
Tivvy were on the back foot for large swathes of that game at Ladysmead and down to 10 men for the closing stages due to an injury to Owen Howe when they had used their three replacements.
But they twice came from behind to level – including a howler from keeper Connor Sidley-Adams – before snatching a winner in the 90th minute through Kevin Hill.
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Manager Mark Saunders admitted at the time to being 'gobsmacked' that Tiverton won the match, and Steele warned that the Peacocks will be out for 'justice' following a derby defeat that was hard to swallow for their boss Leigh Robinson.
"Certainly they will have memories of that occasion and will probably feel hard done by," said Steele.
"Anyone who is worth their salt will be looking at it and thinking justice needs to be done after last time so that may well add a bit of determination, but being a local derby means that it will be keenly contested anyway.
"These local derby games are always the ones you look forward to when the fixture list comes out.
"There tends to be lots of people at home and visiting families around this time of year so the crowds are larger, plus being a derby over the festive period adds a little extra spice.
"Current league form and current league position is not relevant in derbies – it is just down to how teams perform on the day.
"Sometimes it can bring the best out of players, but other times people can find it too much for them."
Should the derby with Taunton go ahead, it will be the first time Tivvy have played since their 2-2 draw with Evesham United in mid-December, having seen three subsequent matches postponed due to wet weather.
In that match, the hosts held a 2-0 lead following a commanding first-half display, only to see the visitors peg them back with an injury-time equaliser.
The Yellows will be without Paul Kendall and Adam Faux for the Taunton game as they are still waiting to complete their bans, while striker Michael Nardiello is back in training following a hamstring injury, although he is not yet fit to start.
Despite these absences, Steele said Tivvy were keen to play and get the Evesham result out of their systems.
"We just want to get playing again – simple as that," said Steele.
"Our last game at home was the Evesham match where we looked in total control but managed to throw away a two-goal lead.
"Yes, we got a point from it but it felt like a defeat really and we knew we had thrown away points.
"It left a very bitter taste in the mouth and we do not want to taste it again if we can help it so we want to put that right.
"The bad weather has affected our training regime, although we managed to get a good, punishing session in at Exeter Arena recently.
"Mark (Saunders) made sure all the excess Christmas spirit was sweated out, so to speak, and the extra turkey and Christmas pudding was worked off, so we feel ready to play."