An action-packed first half at Silver Street saw the Peacocks come out on top against the current Western League champions who will be taking their bow in the Southern League for the coming campaign.
In warm and sunny conditions far removed from those at Weston two evenings earlier, Town were asleep early on and found themselves trailing after just three minutes when Dean Stamp’s pass put ex-Peacock Craig Veal in the clear and he rounded Lloyd Irish to slot in the opener. Luke Mortimore then had a great chance to double the lead but put his effort wide of the post.
The Peacocks settled and drew level after 11 minutes when Shane White’s ball down the left found Andrew Neal and his centre was dispatched by Dan Sullivan. A succession of openings then followed, the usually lethal Neal twice finding keeper Rob Holmes instead of the net from Sullivan crosses and then seeing the shotstopper make another block after Jamie Price had threaded a pass through.
Neal, Sullivan and Lewis Hall also saw shots narrowly miss the target before Willand retook the lead against the run of play after 28 minutes, another Stamp pass finding Mortimore in space and he tucked the ball past Irish. Town were only trailing for two minutes though, Sullivan racing down the right to pick out Neal in the middle and he swept in the equaliser.
Neal repaid the favour two minutes later, his cross from the right being headed in by Sullivan to put the Peacocks ahead for the first time. Sullivan had a strike turned aside by Holmes before the Town striker added an impressive fourth on 37 minutes, drilling a shot into the roof of the net via the underside of the bar after a White corner was cleared to him on the edge of the area. Sullivan’s perfect pass then released Neal to sprint clear and steer home what proved to be the last goal of the evening three minutes before the interval.
The second half dropped off with various substitutions altering the flow of the game. Willand had the clearer chances but couldn’t add to their tally. Veal headed Worbey’s corner over the top and was later on denied by Irish who also saved from Mortimore, Ben Bickle and Brad Ausden. Another former Peacock Douglas Camilo fired just wide whereas Town were much quieter in front of goal, their main threats coming from free kicks, but Ben Adelsbury fired well over and Mike Searle held Jamie Short’s attempt while Matt Wright’s poke into the net was disallowed for a foul on the keeper.
Match: Willand Rovers vs Taunton Town
Date: August 1, 2019
Venue: Silver Street
Kick Off: 7.45pm
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Luke Manley, Lewis Hall, Shane White (captain), Ed Palmer (Ben Adelsbury 45), Jamie Price, Jack Rice (Ollie Chamberlain 62), Naby Diallo, Jamie Short, Dan Sullivan (Noah Coppin 67), Andrew Neal (Matt Wright 45). Unused sub: Josh Grant
Willand: Rob Holmes (Mike Searle 45), Josh Searle, Ryan Guppy, Adam Hill, Ben Mammola, Joe Curtis (captain), Luke Mortimore (Brad Ausden 75), Brett Worbey (Douglas Camilo 55), Dean Stamp (Ben Bickle 55), Craig Veal (Aiden Moyle 75), Will Richards (Rob Norrish 55). Unused sub: David Steele
Referee: Craig Scriven (Wedmore)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jack Bromham (Glastonbury),
Referee’s Assistant 2: Stephen Kay (Cheddar)