With the champions and relegated clubs already decided in the EVO-STIK League Southern Division One South & West on Saturday, all eyes were on the race for the play-offs, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.Taunton Town, Tiverton Town, Salisbury FC and Evesham United currently occupy the top five places, with Swindon Supermarine and Mangotsfield United still in contention and North Leigh as outsiders.
Taunton bounced back after two losses to gain a stunning 6-1 home win over fellow contenders Mangotsfield at the Viridor Stadium in front of a crowd of 549.
It all started to go horribly wrong for the Mangos in the 24th minute when Lewis Hogg headed a Ross Staley free-kick into his own net. A minute later the second-placed Peacocks were two-up when Pierce Mitchell shot home after Ed Palmer had headed on a corner by Staley.
Ben Palmer shot home following a cross by Jordan Rogers to make it 3-0 after 42 minutes and the unfortunate Hogg headed in another own goal from a corner by Staley in the 44th minute. Any thoughts of a United fight-back were dashed when Ollie Chamberlain scored 10 minutes into the second half.
Lewis Powell did pull a goal back for United in the 69th minute but substitute Craig Duff scored a sixth for Taunton with a minute to go.
Third-placed Tiverton also hosted another contender in Evesham United at Ladysmead and ran out 2-1 winners.
Star of the show for the Yellows was striker Levi Landricombe, who bagged a brace in the fifth and 67th minutes. Matt Williams reduced the deficit 13 minutes from time but Paul Collicutt`s side were unable to find a leveller.
Steve Claridge`s Salisbury won 3-0 at Shortwood United and are now just a point behind Tivvy and three off Taunton.
Taurean Roberts opened the Whites` scoring after just three minutes. Tommy Wright added a second five minutes into the second half and Roberts` second of the game on 67 minutes settled matters.
Supermarine sealed a 2-1 win at Yate Town but they had to come back from being a 25th minute Jack Ball goal down at the break.
Connor Waldon equalised seven minutes after the restart and Josh Parsons won it for `Marine 11 minutes from time to leave them five points adrift of fifth-placed Evesham.
North Leigh have games in hand but will need to win most of them and hope one or two above them falter after doing their bit on Saturday, Michael Hopkins` penalty right on half-time securing a 1-0 home win over Bishops Cleeve.
A crowd of 3,484 saw champions Hereford FC struggle to overcome a relaxed already-relegated Wantage Town by the odd goal in five at Edgar Street.
The Bulls trailed at the break to an early third minute Mark Francis effort. Pablo Haysham levelled 11 minutes into the second half, only for Jack Powell to restore the Alfredians` lead in the 75th minute. It lasted barely four minutes as Jamie Molyneux equalised and then Haysham`s second saved face for Peter Beadle`s side.
Bridgwater Town, the other side already doomed to finish in a relegation spot, lost 2-1 at Fairfax Park to Didcot Town, whose James Organ and Louis Joyce scored, the latter five minutes from time scoring to win the game after Syd Camper`s 38th minute opener for the hosts.
Larkhall Athletic won 1-0 at home against Wimborne Town, thanks to a sixth minute Ged Benfield own goal, while on-loan Mario Mateus bagged both goals as Paulton Rovers beat Winchester City 2-0 at home.
Elsewhere, Barnstaple Town won 3-1 at home against Slimbridge in the day`s other game.
Shaun Copp and Kyle Paine gave Barum a two-goal lead that Adam Mace cut in the 73rd minute before James Blake added a third for the hosts in stoppage time.
AFC Totton were forced to abandon their match against Bideford AFC after torrential rain battered Hampshire.
The home team took the lead through Charlie Gunson after four minutes but Bideford pegged them back with five minutes to go until half-time.
But a sudden downpour, described by one fan on social media as a “tsunami”, made the pitch unplayable.