TAUNTON Town head of football Rob Dray admitted that it "stung to lose" at Tiverton Town on New Year's Day, having been 2-0 up, but he was encouraged by the performance of his side.

The Peacocks were two up inside five minutes at Ladysmead, only for their local rivals to surge back and win it in the 93rd minute.

READ MORE: Peacocks let two-goal lead slip in Tiverton defeat

"I felt sorry for the lads [at the end], as they gave everything," Dray told the County Gazette.

"It stung to lose after being two up; we were the dominant side in the first 20 minutes, then they were on top for the next 25, and we were the better side in the second half.

"But you've got to take your chances and defend better, as it comes down to individual errors."

Tiverton are now two points clear at the top of the Premier South standings, and 11 points ahead of Taunton - but the Peacocks have two games in hand and Dray believes the league remains a close contest.

"We've played well in the two games over Christmas [against Weston-super-Mare and Tiverton] but lost two tight games.

"If we'd got one or two decisions our way... it's those small one per cent-ers not going for us.

"But there's still so much to play for, and if you look at the league table I think 10 teams could win it.

"Poole Town [who are in 10th spot, 19 points behind Tiverton] have five games in hand, and they could go on a run."

Next up for Taunton is a home match with Gosport Borough this Saturday (3pm), and Dray added: "I think [the players] will be fine.

"They realise, as much as it stings this morning, that we haven't played badly this week, our levels have been good.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves."

Dan Sullivan was sent off late on against Tiverton, but his one-game suspension won't kick in until a week on Saturday - ruling him out of the trip to Yate Town [January 11].