Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division South

Taunton Town 2, Beaconsfield Town 1

TWO first-half goals from Taunton Town top scorer Andrew Neal helped the Peacocks to a nervy win over Beaconsfield Town at the Viridor Stadium to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the table.

Neal’s 24th and 25th goals of the season proved to be enough despite a lacklustre second half which saw Beaconsfield halve the deficit with a fine Charlie Losasso volley, but Town held on to end their three-match winless run.

AS IT HAPPENED: Peacocks move seven points clear with scrappy win

The Peacocks brought Ben Adelsbury and Ryan Brett back into their starting XI and began on the front foot, with Matt Wright’s neat early lob ruled out for offside.

Wright then released Pierce Mitchell down the right and the full-back beat three players but saw his left-footed effort parried away by Ravan Constable.

The visiting goalkeeper did not cover himself in glory on 20 minutes, however, completely misjudging Neal’s shot from the edge of the area.

Constable dived past the ball and could only flap at it as it made it’s way into the net, handing Taunton the lead.

The Peacocks saw little of the ball for the next 10 minutes as Beaconsfield strung together some impressive moves, only for their end product to let them down.

Louis Stead spurned a glorious chance to level as his free header from Brendan Matthew’s cross bounced wide, and the visitors were made to pay for their profligacy when Neal doubled the hosts’ lead six minutes before the break.

The frontman again cut inside and let fly from 20 yards, this time finding the corner with the aid of a deflection as Taunton took a two-goal cushion into half-time.

Any hopes of a comfortable second half were dashed just seconds after the restart as Beaconsfield poured forward and Losasso found the top corner with a superb volley from Stead’s cross.

Taunton goalkeeper Chandler Hallett then had to be alert to come out of his area and challenge Brendan Matthew when clean through as the visitors continued to dominate possession.

Hallett survived a let-off with 15 minutes to play when he was beaten to a bouncing throughball by Beaconsfield substitute Jon-Jo Bates only for the ball to drift just wide of the post, and Taunton dropped deeper and created little in an attacking sense.

The Peacocks held out, however, as Beaconsfield couldn’t create the clear-cut opening they required in the closing stages.

A victory to file under ‘functional’ – it won’t live long in the memory but the Peacocks got the job done to record an important three points ahead of a 10-day break.

With no game on Saturday, Town are next in action at home to Gosport Borough on January 19.

Taunton Town: Chandler Hallett, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall, Ben Adelsbury, Ed Palmer, Matt Buse, Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (Dan Sullivan 62), Keith Emmerson, Andrew Neal.

Subs not used: Craig Veal, Josh Nelmes, Douglas Camilo

Attendance: 410