Evo-Stik South West

Taunton Town 2, Cirencester Town 1

TAUNTON Town survived two second half red cards to secure a valuable three points at home to Cirencester Town.

Ben Adelsbury and Shane White were both sent off after the break, but the Peacocks were able to hold on to an early advantage handed to them by Dan Sullivan and Les Afful.

READ MORE: As it happened: Nine-man Peacocks hold on for victory

Taunton struck first early on through the returning Sullivan, whose display emphasised what a miss he was during last week's FA Trophy defeat against Bognor Regis.

He got in behind to fire beyond goalkeeper Matt Wieczorek into the bottom corner, and Sullivan turned provider 10 minutes later when he latched on to Matt Wright's flick on and set up Les Afful to slide in the second.

Far from being overawed, however, Cirencester dug in and quickly halved the deficit through in-form striker Ben Whitehead, who took his tally to six goals in three matches with a powerful left-footed strike that had too much on it for Lloyd Irish to keep out.

Taunton were flat for the remainder of the half, with Sullivan's snap shot the closest they came to adding to the lead, while the visitors wasted a golden chance to equalise when Aiden Bennett fired wide from inside the area.

The Peacocks held on to their lead until half-time, after which Wright nearly restored their two-goal cushion but saw his header land on the roof of the net from Ross Staley's cross.

Pierce Mitchell was next to come close, but his flick was superbly saved by Matt Wieczorek before the wing-back then headed the resultant corner over the bar.

Then came the first red card of the afternoon, as Adelsbury - already on a yellow card - lost possession and pulled down his man on the halfway line as Cirencester looked to break.

The referee produced a second yellow, and it was a straight red shortly afterwards for Shane White when he lunged into a reckless challenge and was also sent for an early bath.

Now missing two of their starting back three, the Peacocks brought on Brett Trowbridge to shore things up and the visitors couldn't make their numerical advantage count.

Whitehead came close in added time, firing narrowly over, and Taunton held on for a hugely significant three points in front of a crowd of 442 - perhaps incentivised by the reduced ticket prices.

Afful was named man of the match after an industrious display, while Wright worked his socks off up front and Chris McGrath was solid at the back.

Next up for the Peacocks is a trip to Paulton on Boxing Day.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ross Staley, Shane White, Chris McGrath, Ben Adelsbury, Matt Buse, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (c), Dan Sullivan, Les Afful (Brett Trowbridge).