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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 26 August 2017
Shortwood United v Taunton Town
2 - 1

The Peacocks’ third successive win at Meadowbank steered them to the summit of the fledgling Evo-Stik West Division table. However it was a closer run thing than it should have been as Town, who played the last quarter of the game with ten men, contrived to miss several glorious opportunities, especially during a dominant first half.

The Town side had a more familiar feel to it than the previous outing against Larkhall, Ollie Chamberlain reverting to his accustomed midfield role while Pierce Mitchell and Ross Staley both returned, with Les Afful dropping to the bench alongside new loan signing from Forest Green Olly Mehew. And it was the visitors who wasted no time in grabbing the initiative. Mitchell won a corner inside the first minute and from Ryan Brett’s delivery, Arran Pugh’s header was blocked in front of the line, Shane White’s follow-up met the same fate before Brett blasted a third attempt over.

Matt Wright then headed Mitchell’s cross wide but it wasn’t long before Town’s positive start paid dividends on seven minutes. White’s crossfield pass found Mitchell who in turn fed Lewis Powell 12 yards out and his dexterous turn set him up for a shot which had the sting taken out of it by a deflection but still ran goalwards for Brett to apply the finishing touch and open his goal account for the Peacocks.

The breakthrough reinforced Town’s control of the game, with Wright winning everything in the air and Mitchell and Staley threatening down either flank. The only thing missing was the final execution which cost Town around twenty minutes in when Staley evaded a challenge to put Wright clear in the box but with Harry Pickering advancing, the Peacocks’ captain steered his attempt the wrong side of the post.

Shortwood then enjoyed a brief flurry midway through the half as Town seemed to ease off, James Singh heading a Ben Prictor cross wide before Lloyd Irish turned an Adam Price free kick round the post. However Town picked it up again towards the interval and could and maybe should have scored at least two more. Ryan Meredith’s lunge on Staley saw referee Flynn point to the spot after 38 minutes but Pickering went the right way to palm away Powell’s penalty. Staley’s cross from the left then found Wright alone on the back post for what is normally a bread and butter chance but he planted his header over.     

Powell nearly made amends for his earlier miss when he swivelled onto Brett’s centre but saw his volley deflect inches past the upright for a Brett corner which Arran Pugh nodded wide. Town were good value for their lead at the break and wasted no time in doubling their haul three minutes into the second half. Pickering had already had to clutch a low Brett cross with Staley ready to pounce but was beaten in the air by Wright challenging for Powell’s cross and as the ball ran loose across goal Mitchell was there to prod home at the back post for his second goal in two games.  

The hosts were making more of a contest of it in the second period though, with Singh’s header bobbling wide and Harlie Price hooking a Singh cross past the post. They were however lucky to survive one Town attack which saw Pugh and White have efforts blocked from a Brett corner, a bout of pinball in the area eventually ended by Mitchell heading another opportunity over. Pugh then rose to power a header wide of the mark from White’s curling free kick.

The home side were seeing more of the ball and Irish was booked after bringing down Levi Cox on the edge of the box but the free kick from the Shortwood man hit the wall. That danger was a forerunner to Shortwood getting themselves back in the game after 71 minutes. Harlie Price picked out Cox with a throughball but Matt Villis was adjudged to have fouled him as he ran into the box. Cox sent Irish the wrong way with the penalty and Villis was shown a straight red card, a very harsh decision given the viewpoint of those who witnessed the incident first hand including home officials.

Boosted by their fortune, Shortwood pushed forward as they tried to make their extra man count. A deflected shot from Nathan Marks was held by Irish but despite applying the pressure they were unable to carve out a clear opening as Town’s defence stood resolute. Little was seen of Town in an attacking sense in the final stages, Mehew left to plough on alone, with the nearest scare for the hosts coming when Ryan Thwaite hit his free kick beyond Pickering who ran back to gather comfortably. Town held on to make it four wins from their opening four games without even hitting anywhere near top gear. And on that bombshell... 

By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ryan Brett, Arran Pugh, Matt Villis, Ben Adelsbury, Ollie Chamberlain, Shane White, Matt Wright (captain) (Les Afful 85), Lewis Powell (Olly Mehew 66), Ross Staley (Brett Trowbridge 78). Unused subs: Joe Charles, Owen Irish

Shortwood: Harry Pickering, Callum Preece (Sam Ockwell 74), Ben Prictor, Ryan Meredith, Ryan Thwaite, Alex Kibble (James Freeman 67), Adam Price (captain), James Singh (Nathan Marks 63), Jordan Morris, Harlie Price, Levi Cox 

Referee: Daniel Flynn (Bristol)

Assistants: Michael Pope (Bristol), Jake Woolley (Bristol)

Attendance: 105


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