01 Jan 2019, Tuesday
A superb team-performance saw The Martyrs hurt the pride of the Peacocks as the league leaders were beaten despite the home side's toll of injuries.
Ian Traylor, penalty, and Owain Jones, 2, did the damage with a late reply from Ed Palmer.
The only setback was when central defender Craig McDonnell dislocated his left shoulder after colliding with a defender on 29 minutes. He was dispatched to Prince Charles Hospital, doubtless remembering how the same fate fell to his right shoulder last season when with Taffs Well.This took Merthyr's injured list to SEVEN players, five from the rearguard.He was replaced by Owain Jones.
Taunton began well with Shane White and Dan Sullivan combining only tor Merthyr to block the challenge.Ben Adelsbury suffered a similar fate from a free-kick and then was wide with a snap-shot.
Merthyr responded with Lee Lucas going close after being set up by Traylor.Lucas was busy in midfield as Taunton were pushed back for a while.
Ryan Prosser and Traylor set up Tom Meechan whose cross-shot just rolled away from the goal-line at the far post.
Andrew Neal had a chance when he got past Merthyr's Connor Young but his effort was wide.
Merthyr had to re-group when McDonnell went off..It was left to Traylor to trail back into defence at times as well as surging down the wing
Merthyr led on 33 minutes. Meechan displayed his trademark run and arrived in the box after a Traylor ball. There didn't seem to be any danger but goalkeeper Mike Davies brought him down. Traylor drove in a perfect spot-kick to the left of Davies.
In an absorbing battle,play moved quickly but Taunton were shocked by another goal just before half-time.It came after a free-kick and Prosser helped the ball on for Jones to tuck away the chance at the far post.
Merthyr started the second period confidently. Jones sent a swerving drive wide.Hard-running Prosser had a shot blocked.Then Meechan and Traylor combined with Jones forcing a corner. At the other end, Sullivan fired over.
Young did well at the back and Kyle Patten was solid.
Taunton made a double substitution and on 59 minutes, from a Jones ball, Meechan lobbed the 'keeper but an offside verdict stopped his celebration.
Taunton were foiled with Ashley Evans clearing off the ljne, and young goalkeeper Lewis Webb was on form with his covering and holding.
Taunton's task looked lost on 61 minutes when a run from Traylor down the right got to Jones in the box. He measured the task and fired in a brilliant goal, appreciated by the fans.
Craig Reddy came on for Kerry Morgan who had earlier received treatment after an off the ball collision with an opponent.
Taunton renewed their challenge with Matt Wright impressive.
Cavan Williams replaced Meechan and the youngster showed a turn of speed, But Taunton snatched a goal in the 81st minute with a well-struck free-kick by defender Ed Palmer
The visitors got three corners in a row before Prosser went close at the other end from a Williams pass.
Merthyr returned to the play-offs, in fifth place.