Evo-Stik Southern League West
AFC Totton 0, Taunton Town 4

ROSS Staley showed Taunton Town what they'll be missing when he leaves for Australia this month, as his hat-trick inspired the Peacocks to an excellent away win over AFC Totton.

Matt Wright also got on the scoresheet as the visitors maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League standings.

The Peacocks had not played since December 23 due to a couple of postponements, but still manager Leigh Robinson was able to freshen things up as Ollie Chamberlain returned and new man Toby Down came into defence, with fellow January signing Craig Veal on the bench.

After a competitive start, the visitors took the lead on nine minutes, when left wing-back Staley got on the end of a Dan Sullivan cross to convert at the near post.

Staley was then denied by a fine Callum Chugg tackle when through on goal, before Stuart Mott's long-range effort was well fielded by Lloyd Irish, and Ryan Brett forced Irish's opposite number Shane Murphy to push his effort out for a corner.

Chances continued to come for the away side, and they doubled their advantage on 35 minutes, as Staley finished off a fine move, firing home from Matt Buse's cut-back.

They led 2-0 at half time, and it was game over within six minutes of the restart, as a Chamberlain volley was deflected into the path of skipper Wright to net, and then Staley claimed his hat-trick, again from a Sullivan cross.

Veal came off the bench to begin his third spell at the club, and Staley was denied a fourth goal by a Murphy save before getting a well-earned rest, as Ben Palmer came on in his place.

The points secured, the Peacocks came away with their seven-point cushion over second-placed Salisbury still intact at the top of the table.

Salisbury won 3-2 at Cirencester to stay in touch (although they have played two more games than Taunton), but fellow promotion challengers Bristol Manor Farm and Swindon Supermarine both dropped points.

The next match for the Peacocks is away to Frome Town in the Southern League Cup on Wednesday (January 10, ko 7.45pm), before they host Shortwood United in the league on Saturday (January 13, ko 3pm).

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Ross Staley (Ben Palmer 78), Brett Trowbridge, Chris McGrath, Toby Down, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (c), Dan Sullivan (Craig Veal 63), Matt Buse (Les Afful 72).
Subs not used: Tom Stone, Michael Meaker.