Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division South

Hendon 2, Taunton Town 3

TAUNTON Town top scorer Andrew Neal bagged a superb hat-trick to keep the Peacocks in the title race with two league matches to play.

It took just six minutes for the in-form frontman to put Town in front, Neal latching on to captain Shane White's pass to fire past the goalkeeper.

Ed Palmer headed narrowly over and Neal saw a shot saved as the visitors looked for a second, but Hendon grew into the game and equalised through Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick on 26 minutes.

Within a minute, however, Taunton were back in front through Neal and they held their 2-1 lead until the break, with Shane White seeing a header cleared off the line shortly before the whistle.

Both sides had chances midway through the second period, Neal firing wide before Lloyd Irish saved superbly from Ogo Obi at the other end as Hendon, looking for vital points in their battle to avoid the drop, pushed hard to level the scores.

Town substitute Craig Veal almost made it three soon after coming on but it was that man Neal who scored the decisive third goal from the penalty spot a minute from time to take his tally for the season to 34.

Obi reduced the arrears in injury time but Taunton saw out the closing seconds to record a vital three points and close the gap on Weymouth to three points - the Terras were held 1-1 at home by Chesham United.

Taunton now have a big Easter Monday clash at home to Merthyr Town (3pm) to look forward to as they aim to take the title race into the final match of the season.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall, Shane White (c), Ed Palmer, Matt Buse, Josh Nelmes, Ryan Brett (Matt Wright 65), Keith Emmerson, Dan Sullivan (Craig Veal 82), Andrew Neal. Subs not used: Chandler Hallett, Luke Manley, Noah Coppin

Attendance: 263