Focus in this eagerly awaited second v third clash at the Viridor was as much on jockeying for home advantage in play-offs as keeping the pressure on champions-elect Weymouth.
Chasing a fourth consecutive win, Taunton were fastest out of the blocks. Ryan Brett stretched Berti Schotteri to an excellent push-around save from an early free-kick and centre-back Josh Nelmes planted a firm header just over the cross-bar at the Invest Southwest End from the same player’s resultant corner.
Met Police suffered a tenth minute set-back when they lost forward Bayley Mummery to a knee injury. However, it was his replacement, Max Blakemore, who played a big part in the visitors taking a 26th minute lead. Released by Jack Mazzone, Blakemore won a throw-in from which Jonathan Hippolyte hooked the ball towards goal. The effort was cleared only as far as Mazzone who tucked it into the bottom corner.
The Surrey side then immediately doubled their advantage. Hippolyte was again the creator, this time setting up Ethan Chislett who smashed a fierce shot past Lloyd Irish and, set up by Mazzone, Hippolyte should have made the points safe on the stroke of half time when he skied from right under the cross-bar.
Town bounced straight back into contention after the restart, Andrew Neal tapping home from Matt Wright’s knock-down. However, the Blues immediately restored their two goal advantage, Mazzone running on to a Chislett corner from the right to power a header past Irish.
Taunton thought they had hauled themselves back into the reckoning again when Schotteri was just unable to keep out an audacious back-heel by Ollie Chamberlain, but the celebration was curtailed by an offside flag. However, as spaces opened as the home team pushed up attempting to extend a 36 game unbeaten home league run, Met Police had the clearer chances. Blakemore came closest with a thunderous shot that came back off the woodwork on to sprawling keeper Irish, then behind for a corner rather than into the net.
Visiting substitutes Oliver Knight and Tom Nyama were particularly effective as their side continued to press, setting up further chances from which Irish denied Chislett and Blakemore. In injury time Chislett just missed with a curling free-kick, the last action as his side completed the double over the Peacocks, moved above their hosts into second place and guaranteed joining them in the play-offs.
Match: Taunton Town v Metropolitan Police
Date: April 6, 2019
Competition: Evo Stik League | Southern Premier
Venue: Viridor Stadium
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Match Sponsor: Matthew Conridge
Match Ball Sponsor: Kudos Housewares
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall (Craig Veal 72), Shane White, Josh Nelmes, Matt Buse (Shane Krac 61), Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (captain), Dan Sullivan, Andrew Neal. Unused subs: Ben Adelsbury, Noah Coppin.
Met Police: Berti Schotteri, Josh Webb, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Jeremy Arthur, Oliver Robinson (captain), Luke Robertson, John Gilbert (Tom Nyama 70), Ethan Chislett, Jack Mazzone, Bayley Mummery (Max Blakemore 10), Jonathan Hippolyte (Oliver Knight 55). Unused subs: Mikel Platt.
Referee: Stacey Pearson (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Michael Halford (Bristol)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Mark Loughlin (Bristol)