Friendly match
Tavistock AFC 0, Taunton Town 5

ANDREW Neal continued where he left off from last season, bagging a hat-trick as Taunton Town won their opening pre-season friendly away to Western League side Tavistock.

New signings Naby Diallo and Josh Grant – the latter having joined from Tavistock – started for the Peacocks, who are preparing for a second campaign at Southern League Premier level.

The opening 20 minutes of the match were manic, with Lloyd Irish twice forced to deny the hosts when clean through on goal, and Neal also seeing an effort saved.

The breakthrough came on 16 minutes, with Ed Palmer meeting a corner at the back post and drilling the ball low into the net.

Palmer and Ben Adelsbury came close with efforts from free-kicks, but it wasn't until the 37th minute that the visitors had a second – Neal latching onto a Palmer through ball and lobbing the goalkeeper.

Neal had his second five minutes later, tapping in from Matt Wright's cross, and the Peacocks led 3-0 at half-time.

Dan Sullivan replaced his fellow ex-Tavistock player Grant in the second half, and soon forced a save from the home keeper.

But it was Neal who got his name on the scoresheet again, sealing his hat-trick from the penalty spot on 66 minutes, after Wright had been fouled.

Sullivan brought another couple of saves out of the keeper, and hit the bar, but the fifth and final goal of the game came from trialist Jack Rice in the 83rd minute.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall (Noah Coppin 79), Shane White, Ed Palmer, Ben Adelsbury, Naby Diallo, Ollie Chamberlain (Harry Gardner 70), Josh Grant (Dan Sullivan 55), Matt Wright (c) (Jack Rice 70), Andrew Neal.

Taunton return to action this Friday, away to Bridgwater Town (ko 7.45pm).

Head of football Rob Dray said: “It was very good, a lot of boxes ticked – a clean sheet, and the intensity and tempo, especially in the first half hour, were outstanding.

“We had the same ethic from the new boys [Diallo and Grant].

“The four we’ve brought in [Diallo and Grant, plus Jamie Price and Jamie Short] are all upgrades, they put pressure on the other players for places and give me more options.”