It was spoils shared on the opening day as a late Omar Rowe free-kick cancelled out an equally late first half Taunton opener from Toby Holmes as both sides start unbeaten with a point apiece.
United boss Paul Hughes was able to field a side of which most were known on the terraces, in fact I cannot remember the last time United had just two debutants in the starting XI on opening day.
It was however the visitors who started the better and in just the fifth minute a centre from the left was only cleared as far as Dan Sullivan but his volley went wide of the United goal.
A few minutes later a low struck corner from the left was met at the near post by visiting skipper Nick Grimes but his shot was straight at Jack Smith in the United goal and he dealt with the effort comfortably.
Soon after United created their first opening of the game when Francis Amartey collected the ball on the edge of the box, turned his immediate marker only for his shot to be well blocked by Ben Adelsbury.
After the opening chances, it was almost half an hour before another came forth, this time it was one of the United debutants as Scott Shulton took possession 20 yards from goal, he moved easily past his marker but his low shot was held by visiting stopper Lloyd Irish.
The visitors were almost immediately on the attack as a quick break from the middle of the park saw Toby Holmes played through, the striker calmly sweeping past Smith before slotting home to put Taunton ahead and that was how the first half ended shortly after.
The break saw a personnel and formation change for United with attacking midfielder Omar Rowe replacing debutant defender Siju Odelusi.
It was the visitors however who almost grabbed another in the 49th minute as an unmarked Holmes met a left wing cross, his header was brilliantly clawed out by Smith although it would not have counted with the flag being raised for offside.
United started to apply more pressure and in the 53rd minute a multi pass move concluded with Sanmi Odelusi receiving the ball on the corner of the visitors area, his low drive going just the wrong side of Irish’s goal.
Five minutes later Irish did well to dive down and block at Jack Williams’ feet after Amartey had played the defender in with the next two chances being spaced out by 16 minutes and both similar 25 yard free-kicks by Adelsbury for the visitors. The first was easily held by Smith, the second was hit with more venom and required Smith to palm the effort away to safety.
With five minutes remaining a deep Taunton corner was headed goalwards by Grimes, the United defence cleared the ball upfield to Amartey who set off toward the visitors goal only to be tripped on the edge of the box by Sullivan. Rowe stepped up and fired the ball beyond the wall into the bottom corner giving Irish no chance and United were deservedly level.
More defending was still required by the home side though as straight from the re-start the ball was played left to Gethyn Hill, he cut into the area and hit a shot from an acute angle that a Smith pushed wide with the corner being dealt with the game ran its course with both sides taking a point to start the campaign.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos with grateful thanks to:
The Taunton Town Photographers ©
United Man of the Match: Jake Sheppard.
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