Somerset Premier Cup quarter-final

Taunton Town 1, Welton Rovers 0

TAUNTON Town progressed into the semi-finals of the Somerset Premier Cup after a narrow victory over Welton Rovers at the Viridor Stadium.

Luke Manley, one of four Bridgwater & Taunton College students in a starting line-up mixing youth and experience, scored the only goal of the game in the 39th minute against a visiting side who hit the woodwork in each half and were reduced to 10 men in the second half.

The visitors, who play three divisions below Taunton in the Toolstation Western League First Division, had the best chance of a quiet opening to the game when a ricochet fell nicely for captain Joe Garland.

The frontman, wearing a scrum-cap, attempted to chip Lloyd Irish from the edge of the box but the goalkeeper made a comfortable save.

Crowd favourite Les Afful volleyed narrowly wide from the edge of the box before later playing through Craig Veal, who fired straight at the goalkeeper's legs to begin a fruitless night in front of goal for the striker.

Irish was called into action again shortly after the half-hour to keep out Shekiel Green's snapshot at his near post, and the deadlock was then broken at the other end as two of Taunton's BTC youngsters combined.

A corner was half-cleared to Noah Coppin, whose neat volley was heading in before a goalline clearance rebounded off Manley and flew into the back of the net.

Welton responded well and Lewis Coleman's shot hit the bar before the break, after which their chances received a blow when midfielder Joe Battrick received a second yellow card for dissent on 55 minutes.

Tricky Bristol Rovers loanee Lucas Tomlinson was having a lively game on the Taunton right and nearly scored a wonder goal midway through the half, waltzing past several challenges before slicing wide at the vital moment.

Afful then saw a goal ruled out for offside before Veal couldn't convert Patrick O'Halloran's teasing cross as Taunton struggled to put the game to bed despite their man advantage.

Welton nearly made them pay two minutes from time when Green's superb volley from 20 yards came back off the inside of the post and Garland fired the rebound over from point-blank range.

Taunton saw out injury time to make it through to the last four, when they will travel to Frome Town - who they visit in the league on Saturday.

It was an encouraging night for the hosts overall, with those on the fringes of the first team given valuable minutes.

Douglas Camilo impressed in central midfield and Tomlinson 's pace makes him a useful impact player for the run-in.

Of the College youngsters, Manley was solid at the heart of the back four, Coppin showed some useful touches in midfield and the two full-backs, Ryan Sandford and Finley Biggs, impressed with the ball if being slightly overawed physically - all of them, plus those that came off the bench, will no doubt have found it a useful experience.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Ryan Sandford (Harry Butler 56), Finlay Biggs (Pat O'Halloran 56), Josh Nelmes, Luke Manley, Douglas Camilo, Shane White, Noah Coppin (Nathan Byrne 64), Harry Butler, Mario Franco.

Taunton boss Rob Dray was pleased with the performance of his young side - watch his reaction below...