Taunton relinquished top spot in the table to Weymouth after dropping points for a third consecutive match, this time in a highly entertaining contest against visiting Hartley Wintney.
On their first ever visit to the Viridor Stadium the Hampshire side made a very positive start. They had already gone close through Michael Campbell and Alex Albert before Mitchell Parker blasted them into an 11th minute lead, thrashing the ball home from ten yards out after Steven Duff’s centre from the left had been deflected into his path.
Campbell had an excellent opportunity to double the margin when through on goal a minute later, but Taunton slowly clawed themselves back into contention. Set up by Matt Buse, Andrew Neal curled a shot just wide, and the equaliser duly arrived just before the break. Neal laid a pass into the path of Dan Sullivan who picked out the top left hand corner with a delightful side footer from the edge of the box.
In a pulsating battle with both teams committing to all-out attack, Hartley Wintney regained the lead just after the hour mark. Shane White effected a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny Campbell, but was unlucky in that the ball fell to the feet of Duff. Covering Ryan Brett was just unable to emulate White’s heroics and the midfielder’s low shot found its way home.
Visiting keeper Adam Desbois’s reckless challenge on Neal gave Taunton the opportunity to level ten minutes from time, an invitation Neal himself efficiently accepted. In the closing stages, Town looked the most likely to nick maximum points, notwithstanding the dismissal of defender Ben Adelsbury for a second booking. The numbers were levelled deep into injury time when visiting midfielder Marley Ridge also saw red for his own second booking.
Match: Taunton Town v Hartley Wintney
Date: March 9, 2019
Competition: Evo Stik League | Southern Premier
Venue: Viridor Stadium
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Match Sponsor: Oneline Surveys
Match Ball Sponsor: The Saturday Club in memory of Gary Edwards
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Shane White, Lewis Hall (Pierce Mitchell 70), Ben Adelsbury, Ed Palmer, Matt Buse (Craig Veal 70), Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan (Lucus Tomlinson 90), Andrew Neal. Unused subs: Josh Nelmes, Matt Villis
Hartley: Adam Desbois, Nathan Smart (captain), Louie Paget, Matthew Drage, Jack Ball, Alex Albert, Marley Ridge, Josh Webb (Harry Woodward 70), Michael Campbell (Tyrone Newton 83), Mitchell Parker, Steven Duff (Josh Burrows 87)
Referee: Sean Rothwell (Plymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 1: James Gould (Plymouth)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Neil Lane (Plymouth)