TWO late dismissals did not prevent Taunton claiming a 1-0 victory over Frome in an enthralling Somerset Premier Cup final at Paulton last night, writes James Wright.
As in their two previous finals in 2003 and 2006, Town went into the match as underdogs against higher ranked opponents. But just as on those occasions, against Yeovil at Clevedon and Mangotsfield at Weston, the Peacocks ran out deserved winners.
Taunton survived an 11th minute scare when Rhys Baggridge netted, only to be flagged offside. The Peacocks first threatened a minute later, Chris Young releasing strike partner Rodney Marsh who was just unable to get the better of advancing keeper Darren Chitty.
Ben Wood blasted over as Frome resumed their onslaught, but as the half progressed Taunton, playing down the slope, began to dominate. Jamie Price nodded a Jamie Short corner just wide and, after Ben Mammola won a towering header on the half way line, Rob Norrish almost found the far corner with an imaginative chip after being released by a deft Young reverse pass.
The net was finally breached on the stroke of half time, Nat Pepperell punishing Frome's repeated failure to clear their lines by curling home a beautiful right foot shot.
Adopting the theory of attack being the best form of defence, Taunton continued to press after the break. Pepperell flashed another shot wide and Chitty then did well to pouch first a Marsh free kick, then a header from Price, expertly picked out by Short.
Frome finally threatened when Steve Kingdon felled former Peacock Jon Vance right on the edge of the penalty box. Vance blasted the free-kick straight into the wall, but the real drama came during six minutes of injury time when Young and substitute Steve Murray both copped straight red cards.
However, the nine men survived a couple of frenzied scrambles to hold out for a well-deserved triumph.
Taunton: Joe Perry, Jamie Price, Steve Kingdon (captain), Owen Irish, Ben Mammola, Rob Norrish, Jamie Short (Lewis Tasker 88), Ben Carter, Chris Young, Rodney Marsh (Steve Murray 76), Nat Pepperell. Unused subs: Simon Ingram, Shane Kingston, Josh Wadham.
Frome: Darren Chitty, Josh Ford (captain), Mark Cooper, Rhys Baggridge, Jack Vallis, Jon Vance, Brandon Mundy (Matt Groves 65), Matt Smith, Ben Thomson, Ricky Hulbert, Ben Wood. Unused subs: Tim Stephenson, Ryan Elliott, Johnny Lynn, Scott Armstrong.
Referee: David Ricketts (Portishead).
Assistants: Mark Dadds (Bristol), Kevin Williams (Radstock)