Two excellent first half goals by top scorer Andrew Neal enabled Taunton to capitalise on the surprise slip-ups of the teams above them and keep up the pressure at the top of the table with a hard fought victory over fellow promotion contenders Kings Langley.
Both teams were looking to bounce back after damaging home defeats a week ago, and a scrappy opening ensued. The first clear chance came after 12 minutes when a long throw by Ed Palmer was flicked on at the near post. Ollie Chamberlain connected but his powerful header was brilliantly tipped over by Kings Langley keeper Alex Tokarczyk.
The visitors responded with experienced striker Rene Howe heading wide from a Steve Ward cross, but most of the play was inside their half during the first half hour. After considerable pressure without being able to fashion a clear chance, Taunton made the deserved break-through in the 32nd minute. A Jacob Cook clearance was charged down and the ball worked to Andrew Neal who took on and beat the Langley defence before tucking a low shot inside Tokarczyk’s righthand post.
Town doubled their lead five minutes later. Again the visitors were careless in clearing their lines and Neal capitalised, picking the ball up wide on the left before carrying it forward and lashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from twenty yards out.
With news coming through that Poole had taken the lead against Basingstoke and they were dropping out of the play-off positions, Langley surged forward but without end product. Rohdell Gordon and Connor Smith both had scuffed shots easily saved by Lloyd Irish whilst Ward had a penalty claim turned down.
A much better shot by Gordon was well saved as the visitors resumed their bid to get back into the game after the interval. They finally got back into contention after 63 minutes when, following a mele in the six yard box, Ward cleverly clipped the ball over Irish and into the far corner.
Taunton almost reinflated the two goal cushion, Tokarczyk diving low to his left to pull off a quite superb save from Shane White’s header from a Dan Sullivan cross. However, they finished the game on the backfoot as the Hertfordshire side gave their all in search of the equaliser that would keep them in the top five. Howe came closest, first with a volley lashed into the side-netting then a deft lob that Irish did brilliantly to tip over and secure the win.
Match: Taunton Town v Kings Langley
Date: April 13, 2019
Competition: Evo Stik League | Southern Premier
Venue: Viridor Stadium
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Match Sponsor: Abstract Painting Contractors
Match Ball Sponsor: Abstract Painting Contractors
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall (Keith Emmerson 75), Shane White, Ed Palmer, Josh Nelmes, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett (Matt Buse 75), Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan, Andrew Neal. Unused subs: Craig Veal, Noah Coppin.
Langley: Alex Tokarczyk, Dean Hitchcock, Charlie O’Keefe, Jorell Johnson (captain), Callum Adebiyi, Connor Smith, Steve Ward (Lewis Putman 83), Jacob Cook (Edu Toiney-Pendred 89), Rene Howe, Mitchell Weiss, Rohdell Gordon. Unused subs: Gary Connolly, Josh Coldicott-Stephens
Referee: Ross Martin (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Kevin Lewis (Yeovil)
Referee’s Assistant 2: David Lilly (Ilchester)