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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 02 December 2017
Larkhall Athletic v Taunton Town
3 - 2

Town kept their unbeaten away record intact this season following a hard fought victory at Plain Ham.  It proved a far from straightforward win though after the hosts had reduced the Peacocks’ three goal advantage to just one.

With Ross Staley injured and Ollie Chamberlain on the bench, Ben Palmer retained the left wingback berth while Omar Simpson started up front, the only two changes to the previous game at Bristol Manor Farm. However it was the home side that were on top early doors, Mike Baker firing a free kick off the wall and Greg Peel drilling a ball across the face of goal before Chris McGrath cleared more danger from Cory Simpson.

It was somewhat against the run of play then when Town broke the deadlock after nine minutes with their opening attack, Ben Palmer’s first time cross from the left being netted by Pierce Mitchell’s volley at the far post. Matt Wright’s back header from a Ryan Brett corner flew inches over while Brett himself fired wide and Ben Adelsbury curled a free kick into the side netting as Town looked to capitalise on their lead.

Larkhall were having an equal share of possession but despite Simpson’s pace down the left were not really testing Lloyd Irish. Joe Tumelty’s free kick found the wall while a misplaced header put Peel in space but McGrath was there to nullify the threat. Town ended the half positively, Brett nodding down Wright’s cross to Sullivan who lashed a left footer narrowly past the post and soon after saw another strike fly over.

Sullivan was in the thick of it again when play resumed, having a shot cleared for a corner from which Town extended their lead five minutes in. Brett swung in a high flag kick from the right and McGrath directed his header into the far corner for his second goal of the campaign. Larkhall responded immediately, Irish diving to turn aside a Simpson drive from distance and then blocking a follow-up attempt from Alex Lambert before Shane White’s excellent tackle stopped Peel from breaking.

Town hit back themselves with a third goal on 54 minutes, Sullivan keeping his composure being chased down by covering defenders to round Shaun Semmens and coolly lob home after the ball had neatly sat up. Wright’s header from Sullivan’s cross lacked the height to beat the Larks’ keeper while Sullivan volleyed wide as the Peacocks looked to boost their tally.

The home side pulled a goal back out of the blue on 65 minutes, Tumelty playing a pass into substitute George King who took a touch inside before beating Irish inside his near post from ten yards. The contest started to become scrappier on the heavy pitch but both sides still had openings, a Larkhall break ending with Francois Allen firing the ball across goal while Sullivan saw a volley go over and another shot held.

The final stages became more fraught than necessary after Town conceded a second goal with seven minutes remaining, Tumelty’s corner glanced in by Matt Britton despite the efforts of Matt Buse on the line to head clear. The Peacocks had done enough though to claim victory and maintain their healthy position at the top of the table.

By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ben Palmer, Shane White, Chris McGrath, Ben Adelsbury (Brett Trowbridge 54), Matt Buse, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan, Omar Simpson (Les Afful 65). Unused subs: Tom Stone, Ollie Chamberlain. Michael Meaker

Larkhall: Shaun Semmens, Dan Restorick, Jake Cox, Matt Britton, Matt Guy (captain), Mike Baker, Alex Lambert (Francois Allen 61), Geraint Bater, Greg Peel (George King 61), Joe Tumelty, Cory Simpson (Mason Winter 71). Unused subs: Josh Jones, Neil Arndale       

Referee: Craig Scriven (Wedmore)

Assistants: Nathaniel Rehman (Oxford), Jack Clench (Bristol)

Attendance: 120


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