Emirates FA Cup
First round qualifying
Winchester City 0, Taunton Town 3

DAN Sullivan proved the difference for Taunton Town at Winchester City on Saturday, as his hat-trick fired the Peacocks into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

The hosts - who play in Division 1 South of the Southern League, one level below Taunton, and who included ex-Town player Keith Emmerson in their line-up - played their part in an even first half.

Andrew Neal had a couple of early chances for the visitors, only for him to head over and then see a long-range effort saved by Ryan Pryce.

Rob Flooks then headed wide from a corner at the other end, and visiting goalkeeper Lloyd Irish was forced into saves to deny Simba Mlambo and Olly Balmer.

Both sides had half-chances, but the best opportunity fell to Rob Carr, who was denied from point-blank range by a superb Irish save on 38 minutes.

That stop was made to look all the more important when the Peacocks took the lead in the 44th minute, a long ball finding Matt Wright, who squared it for Sullivan to find the net.

Irish was called into action again shortly after half-time, saving from Oli Bailey at his near post, but Taunton's decision to bring off striker Wright for centre midfielder Ryan Brett - giving Sullivan more licence to push forward - paid dividends.

His second goal came on the hour mark, as Zac Smith won possession and sent Sullivan through to score.

And his third arrived just three minutes later, as he found a gap to cut through the home defence and score again with a composed finish.

That was effectively game over, but still there were chances at both ends.

Irish made a fine save to keep the ball out after he had initially fumbled it, and then Pryce denied Shane White from a Brett free-kick.

Pierce Mitchell's cross found Neal, whose low volley was tipped around the post by Pryce, and in injury time Josh Grant headed Brett's corner onto the bar and over.

Those missed chances mattered not, as Taunton progressed to the second round qualifying stage and picked up £4,500 in the process.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Jamie Short (Pierce Mitchell 71), Bradley Webb, Shane White, Ed Palmer, Jamie Price, Ollie Chamberlain, Dan Sullivan (Josh Grant 76), Matt Wright (c) (Ryan Brett 53), Zac Smith, Andrew Neal.
Subs not used: Harry Kite, Lewis Hall, Ben Adelsbury.
Attendance: 234

Taunton are next in action this coming Wednesday, at home to Willand Rovers in the Southern League Challenge Cup (ko 7.45pm), before hosting Swindon Supermarine in the league next Saturday (3pm).