Evo-Stik Southern League
Premier Division South
Taunton Town 2, Tiverton Town 1

TWO first-half goals ensured Taunton Town did the double over derby rivals Tiverton Town at the Viridor Stadium on Boxing Day.

Former Tiverton players Andrew Neal and Matt Wright put the hosts 2-0 up at the break, and although Steve Colwell pulled one back, any momentum the Yellows had was punctured by a red card for Harrison Davis.

The visitors' form has been up-and-down as of late, and they have slid out of the play-off places, but they made the brighter start, with Josh Key's cross forcing home goalkeeper Mike Davies - in his first start covering for Lloyd Irish while he is on holiday - to palm the ball away.

Levi Landricombe shot over from the edge of the box, while Neal had a couple of efforts blocked and Wright saw his shot held by Liam Armstrong.

The breakthrough came with 23 minutes played, after Wright was tripped in the box by ex-Taunton man Ben Mammola, and Neal stepped up to convert the penalty.

Tom Bath netted at the other end but was flagged offside, and Armstrong then denied Ollie Chamberlain after more good work from Neal.

Yet the keeper could not prevent his side falling two goals behind, nine minutes before half time, as Matt Buse crossed for skipper Wright to head home. Buse then did well to block Bath's shot, and Landricombe volleyed over from the corner, so the score remained 2-0 at the interval.

The opening to the second half saw both sides create half-chances, and on the hour mark Chamberlain had a chance to finish the game off, only to shoot over when clean through.

And that miss was made to look more important when the Yellows pulled one back on 69 minutes, Colwell tapping in a fine Key cross from the right.

The Peacocks hit back, Ryan Brett's corner being punched out from underneath his crossbar by Armstrong, and Ben Adelsbury's effort being deflected over the top.

And with 14 minutes remaining, substitute Davis was shown a straight red for what appeared to be a stamp on Brett, giving the hosts a massive boost.

No more goals were forthcoming - Jamie Price's header being saved by Davies the biggest concern for the Peacocks - and so the majority of the 1,377-strong crowd went home happy with the 2-1 scoreline.

With second-placed Weymouth also winning, 1-0 at Dorchester Town, Taunton retain their seven-point lead at the top of the table ahead of this Saturday's crunch meeting between the top two at the Viridor Stadium (ko 3pm).

Taunton Town: Mike Davies, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall, Ben Adelsbury, Keith Emmerson, Shane White, Matt Buse, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (c) (Craig Veal 84), Andrew Neal (Dan Sullivan 76).
Subs not used: Josh Nelmes, Ed Palmer, Chandler Hallett.
Attendance: 1,377