TAUNTON extended their unbeaten run to three games with a feisty 1-1 draw at home to Paulton Rovers in the Calor Southern league yesterday, writes James Wright.

In the normal vein of this long-standing Somerset derby, Taunton's Steve Kingdon and Rob Norrish were both booked for heavy tackles within seven minutes.

Goalmouth action was considerably more limited. Marcus Mapstone fired wide for Paulton whilst at the other end Kyle Phillips saved from Chris Young – the only chances of note in the opening half hour.

The home side began to apply some pressure as the interval approached. Norrish fed Jamie Short on the right, and the midfielder flashed over a shot-cum-cross that just missed the far post.

Town had an even better chance at the start of the second half when Simon Ingram was tripped by former Taunton striker Nick McCootie. Ingram took the penalty himself, but saw his effort well saved by Phillips.

Rovers proved more clinical from the spot just after the hour mark. Owen Irish was adjudged to have handled a Saul Williams shot, and Mike Perrott slotted home.

However the lead lasted for just three minutes, Kingdon glancing home Short’s free-kick for his third goal in as many games.

The goal flurry temporarily liberated the match which became an eminently more watchable spectacle for ten minutes or so.

Ben Carter, on his home debut, dipped a lovely volley just wide whilst at the other end two substitutes linked up well, Ryan Bath sending over a low centre from the left from which Josh Klein-Davies rattled Joe Perry’s cross-bar.

Sadly, the simmering nastiness between the two sets of players returned in the final quarter. Klein-Davies copped a straight red-carded for an assault on Irish, and the ensuing unpleasantness also resulted in his assistant manager Paul Milsom being banished to the stands from where he continued to indulge in verbal confrontation with a couple of Taunton players.

Town’s numerical advantage was nullified when Norrish picked up his second, and his team’s sixth, yellow card in stoppage time. An indignified end to a lively, intriguing encounter.

Taunton: Joe Perry, Jamie Price (captain), Steve KIngdon, Owen Irish, Ben Mammola, Rob Norrish, Jamie Short, Simon Ingram, Chris Young (Shane Kingston 83), Ross MacNab (Steve Murray 73), Ben Carter (Nat Pepperell 86). Unused subs: Nathan Rudge, Paul Edwards.

Paulton: Kyle Phillips, Stuart Tovey, Sam Teale, Marcus Mapstone, Scott Brice, Brandon Barnes, Mike Perrott (Alex Lapham 78), Ben Lacey, Saul Williams (Josh Klein-Davies 63), Dan Cleverley (captain), Nick McCootie (Ryan Bath 57). Unused subs: Ryan Batten, Josh Jefferies.

Referee: Andrew Turner (Exeter).

Assistants: Sean Rothwell (Plymouth), Colin Pink (Willand).

Attendance: 259.