Bet Victor Southern League
Premier Division South
Gosport Borough 3, Taunton Town 0

GOSPORT Borough showed why they are considered promotion contenders, as they put three past Taunton Town in Saturday's Southern League opener.

Theo Lewis, George Barker and Marley Ridge scored for the hosts in very windy conditions at Privett Park, while the Peacocks had midfielder Ollie Chamberlain sent off for two yellow cards.

Taunton head of football Rob Dray had warned that the league would be more difficult than last season, and Gosport are one reason for that - 19th last season, they have revamped their squad under new manager Lee Molyneaux, bringing in several players from Havant & Waterlooville.

Dray opted to play an extra midfielder in Jamie Short, with targetman Matt Wright dropping to the bench, but the Peacocks were on the back foot from as early as the fourth minute, as Sam Argent picked up Rory Williams' cross and teed up the unmarked Lewis to put the hosts ahead.

There were few chances in the remainder of the first half, but those half-chances that did come tended to fall for Gosport as the visitors struggled to get going in the strong winds.

Taunton brought Wright on for Naby Diallo six minutes into the second period, but just when they were starting to get a foothold in the game they were down to 10 men, as Chamberlain was shown a second yellow for a foul on Barker in the 61st minute.

And five minutes it was as good as game over, as Gosport counter-attacked and Argent squared the ball for Barker to fire home.

The 10-man Peacocks still sought a way back into the game, and Andrew Neal saw a shot come back off the far post, but the hosts sealed the win with a 90th-minute goal.

Argent picked up this third assist of the game, laying it off for Ridge, who beat Lloyd Irish from 15 yards.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall (Josh Grant 73), Ben Adelsbury, Ed Palmer, Shane White (c), Ollie Chamberlain, Naby Diallo (Matt Wright 51), Jamie Short, Dan Sullivan, Andrew Neal.
Subs not used: Jack Rice, Noah Coppin, Luke Manley.

Taunton have the opportunity to bounce back when they host newly-promoted Yate Town on Wednesday (ko 7.45pm).