Keynsham 1-2aet Taunton

Keynsham Town 1-2 Taunton Town aet
Somerset Premier Cup Semi Final
AJN Stadium

Chris King’s men fell just short in this season’s Somerset Premier Cup final after going out to a rocket of a freekick with just minutes remaining in extra time. Keynsham can hold their heads high as they played very well in 120 minutes of football against Southern League opposition after a long season for both clubs. Taunton will go onto the final with hopes of promotion via the play offs in the Southern League South and West Div One.

The game started with Keynsham sitting back and sizing up Taunton with chances for Jordan Rogers and a freekick from Ed Palmer going over. Ashley Wintle, in goal for Keynsham, was called into action on the 17th minute pulling off a smart stop from distance for a corner. Palmer stung his hands again from distance a moment later, whilst Rogers drags another shot wide on 21 minutes.

Keynsham’s Ben Harris looked to be their most threatening attacking outlet as the winger raced free on 24 minutes only to scuff his shot. However his cut inside just four minutes later had the visitors rocking on their heels as a fierce curling shot went just wide of the angle.

Taunton’s Ross Stanley dragged a shot from distance wide as the half wore on. Harris’ set pieces worried Taunton as the winger found the head of Matt Curnock but the tall midfielder could only head over. Wintle was certainly the busier of the two keepers as his denied Josh Searle with five minutes to go before half time.

So the scoreline stayed 0-0 at the break and it looked like it was only a matter of time before Taunton scored if Keynsham continued to sit back.

Wintle had to make a early save from Rogers, as the Taunton number 10 finally found the target, but you could see that there was more intent from Keynsham with Harvey Baker and M Curnock both pushing forward forcing mistakes for Matt Brown to feed on.

It was Brown who burst forward from a breakaway from a corner, but his curled effort just missed the target. Taunton were still getting forward well and Craig Duff posed a danger on the right with Wintle saving well from a cross and Duff then pulled a shot wide on 53 minutes after his initial effort was blocked.

The first goal of the game came on 55 minutes as Taunton finally beat the inspired Wintle. Stanley’s corner was headed home at the near post from a well timed run from Rogers. Just moments after the restart Harris carried the game to Taunton with his freekick saved by Lloyd Irish and another hopeful longshot easily saved by the Taunton number one.

Keynsham’s attacking pressure paid off just 6 minutes after conceding to level the score. Another Harris freekick evaded the defence but Irish could only parry the powerful effort and Brown pounced for his 28th goal of the season.

M Curnock almost put them ahead on 69 minutes as he managed to control a cross from Harris inside the box but narrowly missed the target once the ball was at his feet. Irish then had to react well to a Cameron Shorney freekick after Harris left it for the youngster but Irish managed to tip it around the post.

Taunton tried to change the game by taking off the tiring Michael Meaker to inject some pace into the game as they tried to hang on to extra time; Keynsham were on top for the majority of the second half.

Brown really should have wrapped up the game for Keynsham with just five minutes left. M Curnock and Brown pushed and pressed the Taunton backline and Brown seized on a loose ball and raced clear. One on one, with Irish back peddling, all he had to do was shoot but the keeper kept himself big and Brown opted to pass to the on rushing M Curnock. This was the wrong option as Palmer had tracked the midfielder all the way and intercepted to clear.

King opted for experience as the game approached extra time and introduced Rob Sheriton for Shorney in 90+ minutes. His counter part in the opposite dugout could only put his faith in the teenagers on the Taunton bench in extra time.

The gamble on the young academy prospects almost instantly paid off with Billy Greene and Rhys Ford both hitting the woodwork with just about their first touches of the ball. However the scoreline stayed 1-1 as the game moved into the second half of extra time.

Brown had run himself into the ground with his non stop pressing of the Taunton back four and some of the players that started the game were pulling up with cramp.

Then up steps Palmer, Taunton’s captain, for a freekick around 35 yards out. He fires the freekick into the stop corner of Wintle’s goal giving the keeper no chance. It was a goal worthy of winning any game of football at any level and put Taunton into the final of the Somerset Premier Cup.

Harris didn’t give up the game and had a shot saved with just four minutes left. Then in the last minute Keynsham were awarded a corner with everyone going up, even Wintle, to try and force the game into penalties. Harris managed to find the head of captain Jason Adams but he came in under the ball and it sailed over the bar much to the delight of Taunton’s traveling fans.

The town really got behind Keynsham in this cup run with around 250 people at the AJN to watch this game. Having said that Taunton’s fans were vocal and passionate in their support of their club and were a credit to them.

Taunton will now take on Weston-Super-Mare in the final, with the Conference South side overcoming Brislington 2-1.

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