Robbo’s boys are sitting proudly at the top

Taunton Town have made a flying start to the season.

Taunton head groundsman Kevin Sturmey who has won numerous Evo-Stik South awards for the playing surface at the Viridor Stadium. In the past the Wordsworth Drive pitch has also been inspected by the head groundsmen from Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United

Although knocked out early in The Emirates FA Cup, they are top of Evo-Stik South (West) – and will remain there this weekend because their main rivals are all involved in Cup games.

Their main target this season is to win promotion, having reached the play-offs for the past three years.

Devon-based manager Leigh Robinson, who has been in charge for six seasons, brought in some new faces during the summer and these have quickly settled in at the Viridor Stadium.

However, Taunton have been hard-hit by injuries and were with- out 12 players for last week’s visit to Bideford to play in the first round of the Southern League’s Challenge Cup.

Despite fielding a patched-up side Taunton won a penalty shootout 5- 4 after the sides had fought out a 2- 2 draw over 90 minutes.

Robin-son admitted: “I didn’t expect to get anything out of the game. I was more interested in getting a decent side out for the following match against Totton.”

Taunton signed Shaun Anthony especially for the tie – and he scored a first-half equaliser.

Meanwhile Taunton’s chief executive, chairman and award-winning groundsman is Kevin Sturmey who has made a big impact since taking over from the long-serving Tom Harris seven years ago.

Since then Taunton have re- placed their clubhouse which was burnt down, but most of all Sturmey has transformed one of the worst pitches around to one of the best.

Taunton won the Somerset Premier Cup for a fifth time when beating Weston-super-Mare in the final last season and begin the defence of the trophy with a home tie against Ashton and Backwell United on Tuesday night (7.45 pm) – their third successive cup tie.

In the League Taunton have lost only one of their nine matches – a surprise 4-1 home loss against lowly Yate Town – and have a three-point lead over second- placed Bristol Manor Farm. They are away to Swindon Supermarine on Saturday

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.