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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 06 January 2018
AFC Totton v Taunton Town
4 - 0

The Peacocks carried on from where they left off in 2017 with an emphatic victory at play-off hopefuls Totton.  Any fears that two weeks of inactivity would be reflected in Town’s performance were soon dispelled after taking an early lead and going on to play with a confidence synonymous with their position at the top of the West Division table.

With Shane White and Ben Adelsbury both missing due to suspension, Brett Trowbridge and debutant Toby Down slotted in at the back alongside Chris McGrath while Ollie Chamberlain resumed his midfield role following a one game ban. Totton were bright in the opening exchanges, Tony Lee robbing the ball off Down before firing over the angle and Lloyd Irish stretching to clutch Charlie Gunson’s deep cross.

Shane Murphy was forced to turn Ryan Brett’s effort around the post as Town began to menace but the Totton keeper was powerless to prevent the opening goal after nine minutes, Dan Sullivan floating in a cross from the right and Ross Staley deftly flicking the ball into the net with his outstretched left leg. Pierce Mitchell’s low cross was begging for someone to convert while McGrath’s long ball found Staley whose first touch was just too hard, allowing the defence to clear, as the visitors looked to build on their lead.

In comparison Totton’s efforts were rather muted as they got little change out of Town’s backline. Chamberlain’s excellent block denied Lee after Curtis Young had broken down the right and Irish comfortably pouched a shot from Stuart Mott. The Peacocks inched ever nearer to a second goal as the half progressed, firstly when Sullivan’s pass set up Brett for another strike which Murphy pushed wide and then Mitchell’s driven cross being hacked clear by Mott with Matt Buse waiting to pounce on the back post.

A lovely mix of skill and unselfishness finally conjured up Town’s second score of the afternoon ten minutes before the interval. Sullivan’s backheel set Buse free in the box but rather than shoot he laid the ball across invitingly for Staley to rifle into the roof of the net from six yards. It nearly got even better before half time when a brilliant run from Chamberlain set up Mitchell for a strike which was deflected wide. The Stags responded via Alfy Whittingham who ballooned over the bar from Lee’s cross and ended the half with two corners, the second of which saw Jack Barker head over.

Town were well worth their lead at the break though and wasted no time in driving home their advantage when play resumed. Only two minutes had elapsed when Buse’s cross from the left was headed clear to Chamberlain who mishit his volley towards goal where Matt Wright was on hand to sidefoot in from close range as the home defence stood still. The Stags then helped Town with their fourth goal after 51 minutes, Jack Masterton flicking the ball on to Sullivan who rolled the ball across from the right for Staley to slide in and plant the ball past Murphy for his hat trick.

Another last ditch clearance stopped Wright from connecting with Mitchell’s cross before the Town skipper didn’t get enough on his attempt from another Mitchell cross, allowing Murphy to gather safely. Craig Veal entered the fray just past the hour following his return to the club and his pace proved another headache for the home side. A free kick from Brett who gave a superb display in the middle then reached Staley on the far post but his volley was scooped away by Murphy to deny the Town man a fourth goal. With the points safe though, Town could afford to take their foot off the gas.

Consequently Totton made more of a show going forward but could not get the better of the Peacocks’ defence or Irish who was out quickly to clear from Gunson and then foiled Nathaniel Sherborne after the Totton sub had been played through by Craig Feeney. Mott’s header was held by Irish and then McGrath blasted clear after Feeney had flicked the ball over the oncoming Town keeper down the left channel.

There was a half chance for Veal while Murphy got to Ben Palmer’s cross just before Chamberlain as Town looked to boost their goal difference further. The closest they came in the dying stages though was when Les Afful set up Brett but the goal his performance deserved eluded him as his strike hit the side netting. Victory maintained both the Peacocks’ seven point lead at the summit and their highly impressive unbeaten away record this season in all competitions.   

By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ross Staley (Ben Palmer 78), Brett Trowbridge, Chris McGrath, Toby Down, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett,  Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan (Craig Veal 64), Matt Buse (Les Afful 72). Unused subs: Tom Stone, Michael Meaker

Totton: Shane Murphy, Stuart Mott, Ian Oliver (captain), Jack Masterton (Robin Nicholls 72), Jack Barker, Callum Chugg, Curtis Young, Alfy Whittingham (Tobi Adekunle 68), Craig Feeney, Tony Lee (Nathaniel Sherborne 64), Charlie Gunson. Unused subs: Jack Smith, Dave Allen       

Referee: Barrie Small (Bognor Regis)

Assistants: Lukasz Sipior (Chichester), Daniel Sullivan (Hayling Island)

Attendance: 342


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