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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Tuesday 20 February 2018
Taunton Town v Bideford
1 - 1

It was a case of two points dropped at the Viridor Stadium after the Peacocks failed to take their chances against their North Devon visitors. After taking a first half lead and coming close to extending it, Town lost their way after Bideford had benefitted from a needlessly conceded penalty to keep their own play-off hopes on course.

With Pierce Mitchell out injured and Ben Adelsbury not risked with an ankle problem, Town switched Matt Buse to an unfamiliar right wingback role while Josh Nelmes and Craig Veal came into the starting line-up.  And it was the striker playing against one of his former sides who had the first opportunity just two minutes in after Dan Sullivan had clipped a pass through for Veal to run on to but Steve Oliver blocked with his legs. From the resultant corner Keith Emmerson’s effort hit a body on the line before being scrambled clear.

Town kept up their positive start when Sullivan floated a shot over while the only response from Bideford was via Ben Seymour who scuffed his attempt well wide. After a stoppage for treatment to the Robins’ Dan Harrison, Town went ahead after 18 minutes. Toby Down’s ball was deftly flicked over the top by Veal and Sullivan calmly waited for the ball to drop before lobbing it over Oliver into the empty net.

The lead was nearly doubled moments later when Matt Wright’s bullet header crashed back off the post from Ryan Brett’s left-wing cross and when Sullivan returned the ball to the opposite post Shane White’s cushioned header fell for Veal to volley home from on the line. However an assistant’s flag ruled the goal out for offside.

A surge by Ollie Chamberlain saw his attempted centre cut out while Sullivan didn’t get enough on his cross-shot to trouble Oliver as Town seeked out further goals but were well below their best going forward. Bideford offered even less, with Matt Bye skewing a shot well off-target before Josh Key had their most convincing effort of the half, curling a strike wide of the far post after a run from Sean Downing.  Brett flashed a cross across goal as the half time whistle beckoned and when the teams re-emerged Town were again denied by the woodwork seven minutes in.

Brett swung in a free kick from the right and Wright got on the end of it to head against the bar, the ball falling for White but he was unable to replicate his recent strike at Yate and this time volleyed over from eight yards. Town’s profligacy continued when Veal found Sullivan in the middle but he uncharacteristically miskicked a decent opening over the bar.

Despite Town’s lack of attacking potency, it was hard to see where Bideford would rustle up an equaliser from as Town’s defence were coping efficiently with any forays from the Robins. That all changed with just over twenty minutes remaining when Lloyd Irish failed to cleanly gather a back header and as the ball ran loose along the byeline he pulled down Bideford sub Kevin Squire who had only been on the pitch for a minute or so. Seymour steered home the penalty to fortuitously bring his side level.

Town had valid penalty claims of their own ignored when Brett’s drive seemingly hit a hand as the hosts became increasingly frustrated at referee Cockle’s decision-making.  The game became ever scrappier with neither side really threatening a winner. Downing looped a header beyond the far post from Matty Bye’s cross while Town had a late bash but lack of quality on the night continued to haunt them. Veal got free, lost the ball which was recovered by Buse to find Brett who lashed over from the left with others better placed and then young Joel Randall nearly snatched it at the death, latching onto Wright’s pass inside the box but overrunning the ball to allow Oliver to gather. Although an unconvincing performance, the bigger picture saw Town add another point to their tally and rack up an impressive 21 league games unbeaten.

By Andy Power

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Matt Buse, Shane White, Josh Nelmes (Joel Randall 82), Keith Emmerson, Toby Down, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan, Craig Veal. Unused subs: Tom Stone, Ben Adelsbury, Michael Meaker

Bideford: Steve Oliver, Ian Sampson, Steve Reed, Sean Downing, Scott Beattie, Dan Harrison, Matty Bye (captain), Joshua Key, Ryan Turner (Dan Western 67), Ben Seymour, Olly Mehew (Kevin Squire 67). Unused subs: Will Hancox, Ben Wood

Referee: Robert Cockle (Bristol)

Assistants: Jack Clench (Bristol), Simon Turner (Bristol)

Match Sponsor: Royal Ashton Hotel

Matchball Sponsor: Excalibur Sports

Attendance: 337


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