The waiting is over! A new season begins for Taunton Town today (Saturday 18 August) when they travel to Hampshire to take on Winchester City in the Evo-Stik League Southern South and West Division. Manager Leigh Robinson has been busy assembling a new-look squad over the summer with several poised to make their full Town debut at the Denplan Stadium. The recent appointment of the experienced Martyn Rogers as assistant manager has given the club a further boost so the team will embark on their journey in good heart. Robinson commented:” It’s all looking positive going into the first four games that on paper are very tough. Spirit amongst the players is good and I’m really happy with the ability, hunger and strength in depth of the squad. Martyn has given us a timely boost too. We are a bit of an unknown quantity in terms of the league this year so hopefully we can take a few people by surprise.”
New signings include England Schools Under 18 goalkeeper Connor Sidley-Adams who returns to the club after spells at Minehead and Bridgwater whilst centre half Ben Mammola, full back Dave Hambly, midfielder Rob Norrish and striker Dean Stamp have all moved up the road from Toolstation League Willand Rovers. New wingers Craig Herrod and Lee Smyth are also named in tomorrow’s squad along with defender Neil Peek who has signed from Bridgwater Town and Tom Hopkins who has stepped up from last season’s successful Under 18 side. International clearance is awaited before TJ Lang can feature after he played in Spain last season. Other players who have put pen to paper include defenders Dan Short and Jack Adams, goalkeeper Ryan Lewis, and midfield men Luke Oliver and the returning Lee Hawkings.
Taunton have won seven out of their eight friendlies this summer to boost confidence ahead of the curtain raiser but Robinson is fully aware of the challenges ahead. There is a huge difference between the intensity of a friendly and a league game, especially at the start of the season when all teams are physically and mentally fresh. Despite our success in pre-season I am well aware that we need to be patient with this team as we have brought in a lot of new players and they need time to gel. Whilst we have got plenty of ability in the squad, the one thing we are lacking is that understanding of each other’s game which you can only get over a period of time.”
Keep up to date with all the latest news and scores from Winchester tomorrow afternoon on Taunton Town Twitter.
Photo: Ian Lewis
TOWN ARRIVALS 2012-13: Craig Herrod (Street), Ben Mammola, Rob Norrish, Dean Stamp, Dave Hambly (all Willand Rovers), Neil Peek (Bridgwater Town), TJ Lang (Arcos, Spain), Connor Sidley-Adams (Minehead), Lee Smyth (Weston-super-Mare), Jack Adams and Luke Oliver (Bishops Lydeard), Ryan Lewis (Bridgwater Town), Dan Short (unattached), Lee Hawkings (unattached)
TOWN DEPARTURES: Chris McGrath, Jon Vance, Tim Legg, Phil Veal, Craig Veal, Ross MacNab, Graham Mercieca (all Bridgwater Town), Darren Rice and Leon Taswell (Wellington), Lee Matthews (Clevedon Town), Luke Cole, Peter Knox.