FA Cup - third round qualifying
Taunton Town 5, St Albans City 2

THREE goals inside the first 40 minutes helped Taunton Town brush aside National League South side St Albans City on Wednesday night, and book their place in the next round of the FA Cup.

Two goals from Ollie Chamberlain and one apiece from Matt Buse and Ryan Brett handed the Peacocks a 4-0 lead, and although the visitors pulled two back, Buse's second wrapped it up in stoppage time.

It means Town cash in on £15,000 from the FA prize fund, as they set up a fourth round qualifying tie at Billericay Town - where one more win will put them into the first round proper.

There was just one change to the Peacocks side which beat Frome Town on Saturday, as a fit again Dan Sullivan came in for Craig Veal up front.

Interim Taunton manager Rob Dray had urged his team to show no fear against their visitors from the division above, and there were no early nerves from the home players.

St Albans enjoyed some good spells of possession, but the hosts held their shape well and the backline was well marshalled by sweeper Brett Trowbridge.

Sullivan and Andrew Neal were making nuisances of themselves up front, the former winning a free-kick that led to the opening goal on 21 minutes.

Brett whipped it in from the left, it was headed back across goal and Buse was well placed to smash it home.

Just five minutes later it was 2-0, courtesy of a wonderful counter-attacking move - Neal nipping in to win the ball, Buse finding Sullivan down the left and his cross being stroked in by Brett.

The visitors appeared too shell-shocked to mount a meaningful response, and they were 3-0 down in the 39th minute.

The away defence was caught napping from a short corner routine, Brett sent over the cross and Chamberlain was perfectly positioned to prod in.

It remained a three-goal lead at the break but could easily have been four, as Brett shot narrowly wide and then struck the crossbar with an improvised, dipping effort.

There was a little more purpose about St Albans after the interval, but with no end product.

That was not a problem for Taunton, mind you, as Pierce Mitchell sent Neal racing away down the right, his cross was deflected out to Chamberlain, and the shot was fumbled in by Dean Snedker.

Ahead by four goals after 53 minutes, the home side looked secure - but then the visitors finally roused themselves.

A momentary lapse allowed Royston Gabriel to pull one back on 61 minutes, and the home fans' blood pressure went up a notch when some sloppy defending allowed a corner to run through to Tom Bender to finish.

That left 15 minutes for the Peacocks to survive, though both Neal and substitute Craig Veal missed chances to wrap it up on the counter-attack.

Keith Emmerson came on to bolster the late defensive effort, but still there was a groan from the Town fans when six minutes of added on time was announced.

They need not have worried. A free-kick was laid back for Buse to lash home, and the hosts' progress was secure.

They will now travel to National League South leaders Billericay Town on Saturday, October 20.

Before that, it's a return to league duty, and a trip to Poole Town this Saturday (ko 3pm).

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Shane White (c), Ben Adelsbury, Brett Trowbridge, Josh Nelmes, Matt Buse, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Dan Sullivan (Craig Veal 66), Andrew Neal (Keith Emmerson 79).
Subs not used: Douglas Camilo, Matt Villis, Mike Davies.
Attendance: 595