BetVictor Southern League
Premier South
Tiverton Town 3, Taunton Town 2

TAUNTON Town’s dream start became the stuff of nightmares away to local rivals Tiverton Town, as they ceded a two-goal lead before losing out late on.

Ben Adelsbury and Andrew Neal put the Peacocks 2-0 up inside the first five minutes at Ladysmead on Wednesday, only for the hosts to draw level by half-time.

And Alex Fletcher completed the turnaround with a 93rd-minute winner, shortly before Taunton’s Dan Sullivan was sent off for a second yellow card.

The visitors began at a high tempo, pressing high up the pitch, and were ahead as early as the third minute – Adelsbury finding the back of the net after Ryan Brett’s free-kick fell into his path.

That flying start became a dream one in the fifth minute – Neal picking the ball up on the edge of the box and smashing it home left-footed.

But Tiverton are top of the league for a reason, and they fought back ferociously – halving the deficit on 12 minutes, as they broke down the left and Taunton goalkeeper Lloyd Irish was unable to keep out Chris Sheppard’s curling shot.

A frantic New Year’s derby swung back and forth, with Nick Grimes heading wide at one end, and River Allen drawing a fine stop from Irish at the other.

It was the home side who got the next – and oh so crucial – goal, on 38 minutes, when Jordan Bastin headed in to level from Fletcher’s cross.

Undeterred, the Peacocks finished the first half well, and began the second period strongly, too, with Matt Wright seeing an effort kept out by keeper Lewis Williams’ leg.

The pressure continued and, after Jamie Price had headed narrowly over the top, substitute Sullivan had two shots blocked, before Noah Smerdon cleared off the line from Wright.

Several corners later, and another Sullivan effort saved, it was still level going into stoppage time – and then Tiverton sprang the trap.

Having soaked up so much pressure, the hosts broke forward and won a corner, which saw Allen’s delivery headed home by Fletcher to complete the comeback.

To add insult to injury, Sullivan saw red late on, and the home side celebrated taking all three points.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Jamie Price, Lewis Hall, Ben Adelsbury, Nick Grimes, Owen Windsor (Dan Sullivan 61), Ollie Chamberlain, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (c), Harry Kite, Andrew Neal.
Subs not used: Zac Smith, Jamie Short, Callum Watts, Shane White.
Attendance: 853

The Peacocks’ first defeat against Tiverton since 2017 means back-to-back losses for Rob Dray’s men – having gone down 2-1 at home to Weston-super-Mare on Boxing Day.

Taunton drop to fifth in the Premier South table, as Swindon Supermarine picked up a point to go above them, and they are now 11 points behind Tiverton, albeit with two games in hand.

The Peacocks host Gosport Borough this coming Saturday (3pm).