TAUNTON Town will "lick their wounds" and start preparing for next season, said head of football Rob Dray, following Wednesday night's penalty shootout agony against Poole Town.

Goals either side of half-time, first from Poole's Jack Dickson and then the Peacocks' Ryan Brett, saw the sides locked at 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes, and they could not be separated by extra time.

That meant spot-kicks would decide who would progress to play Metropolitan Police in the play-off final, and the first five penalties were all scored.

Ed Palmer then hit the crossbar for Taunton, as did Poole's Luke Cairney, and when Shane White also crashed his effort against the underside of the bar, it meant the visitors prevailed 4-3.

READ MORETaunton Town v Poole Town as it happened

Asked whether the match was likely to come down to such fine margins, Dray said: "I think it always would against Poole, they're a good side.

"I thought we dominated after the first half, the whole of the second half and most of extra time.

"It's very raw at the moment, after being so close on Saturday and finishing 15 points ahead of [Poole], most wins in the league... but that's football, it's a cruel mistress."

The Peacocks came out strongly after half-time, equalising within three minutes of the restart, but despite creating several good chances they could not force a winner.

Dray added: "[The message at half time was] just be patient.

"We're always capable of making chances, especially at home.

"We just had to keep calm, keep doing what we were doing and keep the intensity high.

"We just couldn't quite finish it off.

"There was a couple of close penalty calls – I thought one of them was definitely a penalty – but sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't."

A big positive for Taunton was the size of the crowd at the Viridor Stadium – 1,053 – and Dray reaffirmed his belief that the club is heading in the right direction.

"[The crowd was] absolutely fantastic, very noisy, and if we can get that every week it would be fantastic," he said.

"I think we're in a great position. On the pitch, off the pitch, the club's going from strength to strength at the moment.

"It's a great place to be and I'm very privileged to have the job.

"We'll start again tomorrow, after a little overnight reflection and licking our wounds to a degree.

"We have to get on with it now and start preparing for next season."

Taunton Town player ratings

Lloyd Irish - 7

The goalkeeper showed his usual composure in coming to deal for crosses and through balls. Perhaps disappointed to be beaten at his near post by Jack Dickson, and to have come so close to keeping out his penalty in the shootout.

Shane White - 7

Shifted to right wing-back after Pierce Mitchell was injured in the warm-up. Showed his versatility and reliability once again, defending well and getting forward at every opportunity. Unfortunate to see his penalty hit the underside of the bar and bounce out.

Lewis Hall - 6

Another mixed bag from the left wing-back. Moments of promise – some fine passes and crosses into the box – but also quite a few errors. Was beaten too easily by Dickson for Poole's goal before half-time.

Ben Adelsbury - 8

Back in the team after a spell on the sidelines, and he showed what an important defender he is for Taunton. Won his headers, made several important tackles and also cleared off the goal-line late in the game.

Ed Palmer - 6

Powerful in the air, and his long throw led to Brett's equaliser. But too often he came haring out of defence, missed the ball and left a gap behind him for Poole to counter-attack into.

Keith Emmerson - 6

A late addition to the team due to Mitchell's injury. Like Palmer, Emmerson was shaky at the back at times, and vulnerable to Poole counter-attacks. Replaced by Ollie Chamberlain as Taunton sought a winner.

Matt Buse - 7

Rather anonymous in the first half as Poole bossed the midfield. But as Taunton improved after the break, so did Buse, buzzing about in the middle of the park, pressing opponents and making dangerous runs.

Ryan Brett - 8

Much like his midfield partner, Brett finished the game much stronger than he started it. Scored a cracking goal, his 11th of the season, and put in an impressive shift in both defence and attack.

Matt Wright - 7

Had a thankless task for much of the match, under high balls forward, but he was up to the job. Won flick-ons for his strike partners, and showed some good turns to pass into their runs in behind the defence.

Dan Sullivan - 8

Looked to be Taunton's most potent attacking threat on the night. Was at the heart of much of their good play, showed some lovely skill at times, and saw countless efforts blocked or deflected away. Scored Taunton's second penalty in the shootout.

Andrew Neal - 7

Another busy performance, but not quite his night. Always running, always hassling, chances just wouldn't fall for him this time around. Denied a possible penalty for a tug in the box. Coolly converted the Peacock's first shootout spot-kick.

Ollie Chamberlain - 7

Came on for Emmerson on 70 minutes, to bolster the hosts' midfield. A typical box-to-box performance from the local lad, and he put away his penalty to keep Taunton in it.

Craig Veal - N/A

Replaced Wright with only five minutes of extra time to go.

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