Town were on the road for the fourth successive Saturday with a trip to Hampshire for an FA Trophy Preliminary Round tie. Winchester were the only team below Taunton in the Southern League table which raised hopes of a confidence-boosting victory and £2,000 into the kitty. However, despite a decent opening, Town subsided during the second half in which goalkeeper Simon Cooper received his marching orders.
A biting wind and heavy drizzle provided contrasting conditions to the summer-like weather of the three previous weekends but nevertheless Taunton made a respectable start. New signing Rob Sage was close to marking his debut with a goal on 7 minutes when his first-time effort found the side netting. City replied with Carl Foster having a Ďgoalí disallowed for offside following a Kyle Juryeff cross.
Neither side were gaining the upper hand. Town came close to scoring on 15 minutes when a Jamie Price header from Dave Anthonyís corner beat the keeper to his left but was cleared off the line. James Rodenís effort for City was then tipped around the post, closely followed by Ali Poundeís jinking run, beating a defender, cutting across the area and blasting a shot just wide.
Brett Williams came close for Winchester at the start of the second period but Pounde continued to test the home backline, having a volley saved after a long John Harris throw had been cleared to him, then firing another shot past the post.
The first goal arrived after 63 minutes and unfortunately it was City who made the breakthrough. A free kick was launched into the Town box, the ball wasnít cleared and Rodenís delivery ricocheted off Scott Thomas for an own goal.
Eight minutes later Juryeff was put through on goal but his attempted chip over Cooper was handled outside the area. The keeper was consequently sent off with manager Ian Jones replacing him and Jason Burt retreating to the bench.
From then on, Tauntonís heads dropped and it was no surprise when City went two up courtesy of Williams whose effort from the edge of the box found the bottom left corner with Jones rooted to the spot. Winchester sprayed the ball around with confidence and two minutes from time, sub John Richardson volleyed home unmarked from James Eyles long pass to seal victory and leave the Town camp deflated.
By Andy Power
Winchester: Clint Davies, James Wilson, Sam Lockyer, Andy Borthwick, Matt Bowler, Steve Llewelyn (captain), James Roden, Adam Kelly, Brett Williams (Tom Riddell 78), Carl Foster (John Richardson 71), Kyle Juryeff (James Eyles 78). Unused subs: Ben Morgan, Will Harvey
Taunton: Simon Cooper, Jason Burt (Ian Jones 72), Charlie Welch, Jamie Price (captain), Sam Jones, Scott Thomas, Rob Sage, John Harris, Alex Pounde, Matt Rawlins (Ben Swallow 90), Dave Anthony (Shaun Anthony 69). Unused subs: Lee Bridson, Ben Newby
Referee: Tony Maton (Leicester)
Assistants: Dave Moran (Tidworth), Rick Whitehead (Ludgershall)