WITH the winning line in sight and the chance of consecutive League victories for the first time this season, a contentious penalty two minutes into stoppage time scuppered Taunton hopes, writes Andy Power.
In truth, the late spot kick should have been no more than a consolation for the visitors as Town ought to have had the points safely in the bag by halftime, but did not capitalise on the opportunities that came their way.
Graham Mercieca tried his luck with an early effort which was saved by Paul Strudley, setting the tone for a first half in which Taunton dictated proceedings. Thatcham rarely had a look in, apart from the opening ten minutes when Lee Matthews comfortably held Jemel Johnson's shot.
Long range passes from Jon Vance and Simon Ingram found Rodney Marsh but his goalbound efforts from both were deflected for corners whilst Jamie Short suffered the same fate after getting on the end of a Mercieca cross. The breakthrough came on 28 minutes when Short stretched to deliver the ball in from the right to Vance who fired past Strudley to put the Peacocks ahead.
Ingram’s drive smacked against the bar and a shot from Marsh across goal came close as Taunton ended the half dominant. Thatcham sub Andrew Jenkinson forced Matthews into a rare save after the interval but Town were soon back probing the visitors’ defence without managing to extend their lead. Short's driven ball into the box just evaded Vance's outstretched leg, and Marsh shot into the side netting after receiving Raith Plant’s pass.
Matthews dived to hold an effort from Scott Rees before Craig Veal and then Peter Knox came off the bench to try and put the game to bed. They had an opening when Mercieca’s crossfield pass to Veal put him in space but his drilled ball across the face of goal was nowhere near the lurking Knox.
Town were made to pay as the game went into added time.
Despite no appeals from Thatcham, Mercieca was harshly penalised for handball and James Clark took advantage from the spot to bring the curtain down on the Wordsworth Drive season in frustrating fashion.
Taunton: Lee Matthews, George Painter, Jamie Short (Tim Legg 67), Chris McGrath, Phil Veal, Jon Vance (captain), Andy Butler, Simon Ingram (Peter Knox 81), Raith Plant (Craig Veal 71), Rodney Marsh, Graham Mercieca. Unused subs: Corey Lewis, Leon Taswell.