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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 14 April 2018
Wimborne Town v Taunton Town
1 - 1

A second meeting between the sides in less than three weeks produced the same outcome as Town left the Cuthbury with honours even. Whereas the meeting at the Viridor Stadium had been full of attacking football and late drama, the return was muted in comparison with the overdue spring sunshine giving the game an almost end-of-season feel at times despite the Dorset club’s quest for points to confirm their play-off berth and pressurise second placed Salisbury.

With Pierce Mitchell injured and Keith Emmerson absent through work, young Exeter City loan player Joel Randall was drafted in at right wingback while Toby Down slotted in at centre half. There was also a change up front with Les Afful partnering Dan Sullivan with skipper Matt Wright on the bench, Shane White captaining the champions who entered the field of play through a Guard of Honour by the Wimborne team.

Louis Kellaway fired a shot over the bar from the first Wimborne attack while Sullivan saw his effort deflect to Magpies keeper Gerard Benfield as both sides tried to gain the early initiative. Josh Nelmes wasn’t far off, his header from White’s corner going just past the far post and Sullivan hit a rising strike over after Afful had won a challenge on the edge of the box.  Lloyd Irish, who was suffering from a sickness bug, made a routine collection from a Luke Holmes shot but it was the visitors who made the breakthrough after 20 minutes. Ben Adelsbury’s long ball found Sullivan on the right and after getting the better of Matty Oldring his pass to Ryan Brett was in turn fed out to Nuno Felix who had time to tee up and fire home a terrific swerving shot past Benfield from 25 yards.

The Wimborne keeper got closer to another Felix effort soon after, parrying away a shot from just outside the area. It was against the run of play then when the hosts drew level on 29 minutes, Town conceding a free kick on the right which Luke Burbidge delivered for Oldring to convert with a stooping header. Wimborne saw further attempts fail to hit the target, Jack Lovell embarking on a run before driving wide and then striking a decent opening over the top, while crosses from Felix and Randall flew across the face of goal without a touch at the opposite end.

The second half continued in the same vein with defences generally on top. The anticipated Wimborne onslaught never materialised with their dangerman Toby Holmes, with over 50 goals to his name this season, being superbly marshalled by White who restricted him to one shot which flew out the ground.  For the Peacocks, Randall who enjoyed a fine game on only his second full start saw his cross cut out by Benfield ahead of the waiting Afful before Wimborne broke away after Ollie Chamberlain was seemingly fouled, Lovell feeding Burbidge to shoot wide. Town made a double attacking substitution just before the hour, with new men Wright and Craig Veal combining immediately to win a corner from which White’s header hit the turf to come back off Benfield. Another Brett corner was then headed onto the roof of the net by Adelsbury.

The game became scrappy as it entered the final quarter with neither side able to carve out anything clearcut although it was the Peacocks who were well on top. Senegalese international Alpha Sow entered the fray for the latter stages in which Brett curled a shot wide while Randall made inroads into the box, his first cross being blocked and then another delivery headed out for a corner by James Stokoe with Veal lurking on the far post. Overall a very decent point for Town to keep their tremendous unbeaten away record this season intact and leave the squad in good spirits for their night out in Taunton later that evening!

By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Joel Randall, Nuno Felix, Ben Adelsbury, Shane White (captain),Toby Down,  Josh Nelmes (Alpha Sow 81), Ryan Brett, Dan Sullivan (Matt Wright 58), Les Afful (Craig Veal 58), Ollie Chamberlain. Unused subs: Matt Buse, Michael Meaker

Wimborne: Gerard Benfield, Billy Maybury (captain), Ben Walker (Loyd Cole 90+1), Sam Davidson, Matty Oldring, Louis Kellaway, James Stokoe, Luke Holmes, Toby Holmes, Luke Burbidge, Jack Lovell. Unused subs: Sam Bayston, Stefan Penny, David Walsh

Referee: Martin Underhay (Weymouth)

Assistants: Robert Finn (Tidworth), John Foster (Fareham)

Attendance: 391


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