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Taunton Town Results Match Review
Saturday 24 February 2018
North Leigh v Taunton Town
1 - 1

On a gloriously sunny but bitterly cold afternoon in Oxfordshire, Taunton were a long way short of their fluent best as they limped to a disappointing draw at struggling North Leigh.

Playing down the marked slope at the quirky venue, fenced off within the parkland of Eynsham Hall, Town really should have been ahead within two minutes, Matt Wright meeting a Ryan Brett corner but directing his glancing header into the clutches of keeper Ross Grimshaw. The first indication that the runaway leaders were not going to have it all their own way came in the 8th minute when North Leigh punched a hole right through the centre of the visiting defence, Declan Sheppard releasing George Seacole with an incisive pass. The experienced striker was ushered wide but still managed to drill in an angled left foot shot that Lloyd Irish did well to palm aside.

At the other end, Craig Veal had a shot blocked but made the breakthrough on the quarter hour, pouncing on the ball after Jordan Lymn’s clearance had cannoned off Shane White to race through down the left and slide the ball past the advancing keeper. The goal triggered a spell of Peacocks dominance during which the contest could have been put to bed. Veal nearly had a second from the rebound off a saved Keith Emmerson shot, Ollie Chamberlain fired into the side netting from the left and then hared down the opposite flank to set up Wright who headed over then, after Anthony Simpson had fouled the excellent Emmerson, Brett curled a free kick just beyond the far post.

North Leigh hit back and enjoyed their best spell of the match as the first half drew to a close. A Sheppard corner from the right was flicked on by Seacole and Brad Chalmers was inches away from converting as he slid in at the far post. Taunton’s crossbar was then struck twice within the space of a few seconds, first from Irish’s fingertip save of a looping Jamie Cook header, then by a crashing effort from Seacole as he flung himself at Sheppard’s resultant corner.

At the start of the second half Wright had two great chances to make the game safe, firstly with a thumping back post volley that whizzed over, then when he just failed to get on the end of a tantalising White centre. The misses proved costly as North Leigh equalised in the 56th minute, Cook neatly setting up Sheppard who drilled a low left foot shot inside Irish’s near post.

Town always looked the mostly likely winners. Brett cut in from the right but saw his low strike hit the post, with Chamberlain drilling the rebound wide, Then, set up by a Veal chip, Wright headed against the bar while on two further occasions the Town skipper was just unable to get on the end of excellent White deliveries.

Young Exeter City loanee Joel Randall replaced Dan Sullivan for the final quarter hour and made some promising forays down the right. His best contribution was to set up another substitute, Les Afful, in injury time. However the shot lacked venom, allowing Grimshaw to save low to his left, leaving Taunton frustrated but, more importantly, still undefeated away from home and eleven points clear at the top of the table.

By James Wright

Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Matt Buse (Les Afful 61), Shane White, Ben Adelsbury, Keith Emmerson (Josh Nelmes 77), Toby Down, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan (Joel Randall 74), Craig Veal. Unused sub: Michael Meaker

North Leigh: Ross Grimshaw, Jordan Lymn, Tom Harvey (Ben Green 87), Ben Strong, Elliott Keightley (captain), Brad Chalmers, Declan Sheppard, Anthony Simpson, George Seacole, Jamie Cook (Liam Carroll 77), Matt Grabe. Unused subs: Piers McGlynn, Sam Mattock, John Brough 

Referee: Matthew Perry (Cheltenham)

Assistants: Daniel Cobbett (Fairford), Alex Emery (Oxford)

Attendance: 87


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