TAUNTON Town head of football Rob Dray admitted his side were "second best all over the park" in the New Year's Day defeat at Merthyr Town.

The Peacocks were beaten 3-1 in South Wales to see their lead at the top cut to six points ahead of Saturday's match with Dorchester Town at Wordsworth Drive.

Dray said: "It was a tough afternoon - we were second best all over the park.

"We were a long way from our best, but the boys have been fantastic so far.

"You can't get too down about a defeat and we are still in a great position.

"I was having a look last night at how the other teams have done over Christmas. We have four points from our three games and Weymouth and Salisbury got five each, so we haven't lost out too much."

Asked whether teams were now raising their games against Taunton due to the Peacocks' lofty position, Dray said: "I think so, definitely.

"Merthyr celebrated like they had won the league at the final whistle.

"We are a scalp now and we have to get used to that. We have come a long way in three months - look at the two crowds we had over Christmas, for example [Taunton were watched by 1,377 against Tiverton and 1,461 against Weymouth].

"Expectations will rise but we have to try and temper that. You can't get too high after a win or too low after a loss.

"This is where mental toughness and resilience will play a key part."

The defeat was not the only bad news for Town in Wales as Shane White picked up a suspected broken cheekbone after colliding with a Merthyr player - the defender is set for an x-ray today (Wednesday).

Ryan Brett (knee) and Pierce Mitchell (dead leg) are also doubts for Saturday's visit of Dorchester, but Taunton are hoping to extend the loan of Colchester goalkeeper Chandler Hallett, who hails from Cheddon Fitzpaine.