Calor Southern League Division 1S&W

Taunton Town 2, Merthyr Town 1

IN refreshing contrast to recent years where Taunton have limped painfully to the end of the season, Leigh Robinson’s second full term in charge is concluding with a real flourish, writes James Wright.

Tuesday’s victory over table-topping Merthyr represented a fifth consecutive victory – the second notable winning streak of the campaign after the six on the trot registered in November.

More relevantly, the team is playing with a level of competence and confidence not seen consistently at the Viridor Stadium for many a year.

As they had on Saturday, Taunton had to battle back from behind to win. The Martyrs took the lead in the seventh minute. Kris Leek crossed from the right and Ryan Prosser rammed home a Gavin Williams knock down that may have sneaked in unaided.

Taunton responded in the 19th minute, Steve Kingdon out-muscling his markers to nod home Jamie Short’s cross from the right. And Short was also heavily involved in the second goal just before the half hour mark.

Josh Wadham started the tidy move on the right which then involved Shane Kingston and Chris Young who fed Short to deliver a tantalising deep cross which was nodded back at the far post by Nat Pepperell for Ross MacNab to bundle over the line.

Merthyr battled back strongly at the start of the second half. Pepperell headed a Williams cross out as far as Leek who despatched a dipping volley just over the bar. Then Joe Perry frustrated the team with whom he won both divisions of the Toolstation League title, flicking a Williams shot over the bar.

Though the momentum was generally with the Welshmen, Taunton continued to pose a considerable threat on the break. After replacing Wadham, Ben Carter, set up by Young, curled a left foot shot just wide of Lee Idzi’s post.

In injury time, from right under the crossbar, Andrew Thomas headed a seemingly unmissable chance over the top. With it went Merthyr’s chances on the night, and maybe even of the championship as the Welshmen have now blown their game in hand on level-pegging Cirencester Town.

Taunton: Joe Perry, Jamie Short, Steve Kingdon (captain), Owen Irish, Ben Mammola, Rob Norrish, Josh Wadham (Ben Carter 63), Shane Kingston, Chris Young (Simon Ingram 86), Ross MacNab (Steve Murray 72), Nat Pepperell. Unused subs: Rodney Marsh, Lewis Tasker.

Attendance: 301 Match sponsor: MT Associates Ltd; Matchball sponsor: Martyn Rogers, Commercial Consultant.