Scorers :  Brett Trowbridge 3, Graham Merceica 38  /  Dan Miller 90

Date : Saturday 28th February 2015 - 3:00pm kick off - Evo-Stik League Southern, South & West Division 1

Taunton Town : Lloyd Irish, Jamie Price, Steve Kingdon (c), Owen Irish, Ben Mammola, Brett Trowbridge, Jamie Short (Craig Herrod 78), Ben Carter, Aaron Ward-Baptiste (Steve Murray 65), Rodney Marsh (Lewis Waldy 90+1), Graham Mercieca

Yellow Card :  Carter, Price

Sholing : Matt Brown, Kevin Brewster (Mike Byrne 78), Joe Griggs, Terry Cuthbertson, Dan Miller, Les Mwenze (Declan McCarthy 71), Tobi Adekunle, Alex Sawyer, Barry Mason, (Dan Mason 78) Byron Mason (c), Marvin McLean, Unused sub: Rory Anderson

Yellow Card :  McLean, Byron Mason, Sawyer

Attendance : 257

Man of the Match :  Matt Brown

Referee :  Lee Roberts.   Assistants: Richard Lawrence & Rigas Gatzianidis

Sholing came into this game knowing Taunton had lost only once in the last 17 matches and that was narrowly to league leaders Merthyr Town, while Sholing were trying to prevent a run of defeats stretching to 4 matches for the 1st time this season. Sholing’s plight was not help with the loss of Liam Golding, Pete Castle, Jack Smith & Nick Watts all sustaining bad injuries in Wednesday’s exit from the Russell-Cotes Cup defeat to Horndean not even travelling to The Viridor Stadium.

Only five of the original eleven starters from Wednesday made the starting eleven with the four enforced changes. Matt Brown was recalled along with Dan Miller who was away midweek in Loughborough. Tobi Adekunle and Marvin McLean who both came off the bench Wednesday started. Leading goalscorer Dan Mason was rested and took a place on the bench. Dave Diaper handed two Southern League debuts to young left back Joe Griggs and midfielder Les Mwenze. Mike Byrne, Declan McCarthy and Rory Anderson filled the subs bench.

The match was played on a bumpy heavily sanded pitch thanks to ground staff spending 18 man hours the day before to get the game on. Taunton’s team was unchanged from the previous week's victory over AFC Totton were hoping to keep the pressure on leaders Merthyr. Dave Diaper said before the game ‘If we can contain them in the first half and get them frustrated then maybe we might get something from the game however it will be a tough day and hope make a good account of ourselves’

Inside the opening seconds Taunton playing against the slope started at an electrifying pace putting Sholing on the backfoot from the kick off. Matt Brown was called into action inside thirty seconds preventing Taunton taking the lead. Then right-back Jamie Price was denied a third goal in as many games by a fine save from Matt Brown on two minutes. But from the resultant corner, Brett Trowbridge picked out the bottom corner with a low shot through a forest of legs. Despite the announcer and spectators not sure who had hit the shot. This was not the start Sholing wanted and had to quickly get this out of their minds, especially at this point you could see why Taunton were up in 2nd position, however the supporters were not very vocal compared to Sholing’s two supporters.

Sholing tried to work the ball down the wings with Marvin & Barry making numerous runs but the final ball failed to breakdown the Taunton defence. Brett Trowbridge should have bagged a second goal on the quarter hour but he was caught off balance and could only scoop the ball over Matt Brown after captain Steve Kingdon had nodded down a cross from the right.

Taunton Town looked to have the chance to double their lead just before the half hour when full back Jamie Price was fouled in the penalty area. The referee appeared to play on then the assistant’s flag was raised and after a lengthy consultation awarded the penalty. Sholing clearly aggrieved by this decision felt the whole world was against them especially Marvin McLean voicing his opinion to the assistant who then delayed proceeding by getting referee Lee Roberts to caution Marvin McLean for dissent. After a lengthy delay Aaron Ward-Baptiste hit is spot-kick too close to Matt Brown and saved with ease. Skipper Byron Mason still upset at the award of the penalty was then cautioned for his comments to referee Roberts. A couple of minutes later things looked bleak when a rash tackle just outside the area by Alex Sawyer was thankfully only shown a yellow card. Then another injury scare looked on the cards when Kevin Brewster was flattened by his own player Les Mwenze as they both raced for the ball. Kevin lay motionless for a while and it was clearly a head injury after receiving treatment he left the field of play to continue treatment. Alex Sawyer dropped into the full back role and bizarrely the referee restarted play with a free kick to Sholing. Kevin returned to the field albeit with a split lip.

On 38 mins despite Matt Brown’s early heroics the Sholing goal was breached for a second time. Graham Mercieca's receipt of an angled pass into the penalty area the left winger's delightfully cushioned first touch took him wide of Matt Brown and his second touch clipped the ball back into the void created to round off a fine first period for the Peacocks. At the half time whistle referee Lee Roberts was questioned on his way off the field of play by Byron Mason and Kevin Brewster. HT 2-0

Sholing re-emerged from the dressing after only six minutes and had to wait patiently for the return of Taunton and the match officials. Taunton playing up the slope towards their favoured home stand were always likely to be a threat. But Sholing appeared to have lost their grief with the match officials and it looked as though by playing football they could match Taunton. Full back Joe Griggs grew in confidence the longer the game went on highlighted by some strong tackling. Taunton’s frustration was evident when Ben Carter was cautioned after 55 mins followed on 61 mins when full back Jamie Price also received a yellow card for his dissent. Following this Taunton were the first to make changes replacing Aaron Ward-Baptiste with Steve Murray on 65 min. As Les Mwenze’s energy dropped Dave Diaper put on fresh legs sending on Declan McCarthy on 71 mins as Sholing looked to be matching Taunton in every quarter this half compared to the 1st half pressure they had to endure, with Taunton only having one shot on target comfortably saved by Matt Brown.

On 78 mins both managers saw the need for changes Taunton replacing Jamie Short with Steve Herod and a double substitution for Sholing Kevin Brewster and Barry Mason being replaced by Mike Byrne and Dan Mason. As Taunton were content on seeing out the game at 2-0 Tobi Adekunle began to find more space on the wing and provided a threat and won two consecutive corners.

With the game drifting into the 90th minute Sholing won another corner on the left Tobi Adekunle delivered the ball into a crowded Taunton penalty area and the ball was bundled into the net DAN MILLER claiming he had hit the ball into the net off his knee also given by the announcer. Taunton immediately made their final substitution with youngster Lewis Waldy replacing Rodney Marsh hoping this would see the clock run out. However a belief was suddenly realised by Sholing of getting an equaliser in stoppage time the referee proceeding to find 5 mins of stoppage time. Sholing continued to press to the end winning another corner and seeing all eleven players in and around the Taunton area, but Taunton cleared their lines and were grateful of another 3 points even more rewarding at the sound of the whistle when finding out Merthyr had slipped to a defeat at Didcot. FT 2-1

View from the stand : After such a dominant half, the home side were unable to keep up the intensity after the half time interval. Sholing offered plenty of huff and puff obviously after regrouping at the break. The longer the 2nd half went on it was obvious Sholing were matching Taunton in every quarter belying the 15 places between the two sides. With no serious injuries collected it is pleasing to know that there is a week’s break before our away trip to Mangotsfield next Saturday.

Photos from the match can be viewed HERE