Winchester 0 Taunton 3
There will be no repeat of last season's great F A Cup run for Winchester as they were beaten 3-0 at home by Taunton Town who play in the league above, with Dan Sullivan scoring a hat-trick for the visitors. Nevertheless Winchester gave a good account of themselves in an even first half and were probably a bit unlucky to be behind at the interval. However after Taunton scored two goals in quick succession in the second half the result was never in doubt and Taunton still looked the more likely team to score even when they were 3-0 ahead.
Taunton had a good record against Winchester and the 14 league games between the clubs had produced 9 Taunton wins, 4 draws and 1 Winchester win. They made a slow start to this season, but have been in good form in recent weeks and have a good fan base who support their team enthusiastically.
Winchester announced an unchanged starting line-up from Tuesday's F A Cup win at AFC Stoneham with Rob Carr still available for this game despite his red card on Tuesday. Liam Gilbert was available again, but was on the substitutes bench, while Keith Emmerson was playing against the team he was player coach of last season.
Early on Taunton's Andrew Neal forced Ryan to save at the expense of a corner, while at the other end Rob Flooks came close following a corner. Dan Williamson also forced a save from experienced goalkeeper Lloyd Irish.
Both Ollie Balmer and Andrew Neal forced saves from the respective goalkeepers, while in addition captain Matt Wright who had scored a hat-trick on his last visit to Winchester had a header saved by Pryce following a free kick.
Lloyd Irish then made the best save of the first half when he saved from Rob Carr. Two minutes before the interval Taunton took the lead when Matt Wright got in behind the defence and crossed for Dan Sullivan to score.
Although Oli Bailey had a shot saved Taunton boosted by the goal had the better of the early period of the second half with Ollie Chamberlain and Jamie Price coming close and they were also kept out by blocks and interceptions as the visitors began to play with greater fluency.
On the hour Winchester surrendered possession in a crucial area of the pitch which led to Zach Smith setting up Sullivan to score his second. Three minutes later it was 3-0 when Sullivan broke through the defence to complete his hat-trick.
Winchester bought on Kieran Douglas, Liam Gilbert and I K Hill as substitutes and although the last named forced a save from Irish, Pryce made good saves from Andrew Neal and Shane White and Taunton had a couple of other near misses as they completed the victory in a match between the county towns of Hampshire and Somerset. The visiting fans certainly appreciated their cider and also expressed pleasure that their local hero Jack Leach helped England avoid the follow on in the test match.
Winchester are away to Evesham on Saturday and travel to Hythe and Dibden in the Hampshire Senior Cup on the following Tuesday,
Assistant physiotherapist Nina Parkin was married on the day of the Taunton game and everyone wishes her and her new husband a happy life as a married couple.