LEAGUE leaders Taunton Town came to the Ray Mac and returned to Somerset with a point following a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Salisbury. The Whites made three changes to their starting team as Stuart Green, Eddie Perrett and new signing Zach Kotwica all came in.

Forward Kotwica, who had a successful loan spell at Salisbury earlier in the season, was signed permanently this week from National League North side Tamworth.

Taunton’s side included three faces familiar to the Ray Mac crowd.

Ben Adelsbury, Ryan Brett and Matt Wright all had spells with Salisbury City earlier on in their careers and played important roles in successful promotion teams of the previous club.

The weather may have been cold, but the home side certainly started off hot.

Less than 90 seconds had passed before the Whites took the lead.

The ball was played into the left-hand side of the box and ricocheted to Danny Young whose ball across could only be diverted into his own net by Taunton defender Shane White.

Salisbury continued to press and could have doubled their lead after 11 minutes.

Tom Whelan’s corner was half cleared to Elliot Wheeler but his effort from 15 yards was straight at keeper Lloyd Irish.

Just a minute later, Taunton were level. A free-kick from the right was swung in and White was unmarked four yards out to make amends for his earlier own goal.

The game settled into a midfield dual with neither side seeing much in the way of goalmouth action.

The match did explode into life just after the half hour mark.

A ball over the Salisbury defence saw Dan Sullivan clear.

Home goalkeeper Charlie Searle came out but was beaten to the ball and Sullivan went clear; his slight hesitation allowing the Whites defence to recover and a grateful Searle reclaim the ball. Salisbury then broke up the other end and George Colson saw a low 20 yard shot well saved by Irish with Stuart Green just unable to gather the follow up. 42 minutes into the game Taunton took the lead and it again came from a set piece. A corner from the right saw Searle beaten to the ball by Matt Wright and his close-range header ensured that the league leaders went in to half time 2-1 in front.

Salisbury came back out for the 2nd half with a change in formation and personal with Kane O’Keefe replacing Eddie Perrett and the Whites switching to a back 3. The early stages of the 2nd half saw a cagey affair with chances at a premium; the closest to a goal being Kotwica’s effort flashing across the goal. It took until 64 minutes for the Whites to level and it was their turn to take advantage of a set piece. Lewis Benson swung in a dangerous free kick from the right and after Colson’s header was well saved, Green was on hand to turn the ball home for the equaliser. The final 30 minutes of the game saw very little in the way of goal scoring opportunity, although Salisbury did see the vast majority of the possession. The closest the Whites came saw a Kotwica shot blocked with 15 mins remaining and despite threatening, Irish in the Taunton goal had very little to do. It took until time added on at the end of the game for Taunton’s first real chance of the 2nd half, and they came very close to a winner. Sullivan’s clever ball played in Ollie Chamberlain and after Searle did well to save his initial shot, Chamberlain looked poised to tuck in the rebound before Lewis Benson did brilliantly to clear the ball from his toes. The final whistle bought an end to a competitive game with Taunton perhaps being the happier side with the draw.

The result sees Salisbury remain in the 2nd automatic promotion spot 8 points behind Taunton and 10 points ahead of Wimborne Town in 3rd. Next up in the league is a trip to Bideford on Saturday 24th March. Bideford currently sit just outside the play off positions although they do have games in hand on all the teams above them. The Whites are next in home league action on 31st March when they host Shortwood United.