Taunton Town F.C.
Taunton Town F.C.
Wordsworth Drive Stadium
Ground Number: 89
Date: Tuesday 7th March 2023
Score: Taunton Town F.C. 1-3 Hampton and Richmond Borough F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League South
It has been two months since my last groundhop which was my visit to Whaddon Road for Cheltenham Town vs Salford City which you can read about here! Since my last groundhop, I have been very busy working the adult weekends at Butlins and working through February half term meaning I have not had any time to do any groundhopping however the Darts UK Open is here at Butlins meaning the resort is closed for a couple of days to allow the arena to be dismantled. This allowed me to have a chance to squeeze in a cheeky groundhop before the next adult weekend. I spent some time looking at the fixtures for the Tuesday night and I really had my work cut out as there was so many options.
I really could not make any decisions on which game to go to but I was looking at going to either Reading, Huddersfield, Stockport County, Plymouth or Taunton. Unfortunately the train fare for me and Charlotte were ridiculous and after working a near 40 hour weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was travel hundreds of miles on a train as I was already exhausted but I was still very undecided. The darts weekend was actually quite chill and was a very fun weekend to work behind the bars however I was knackered so I made my choice to go for the most local game on the night which was Taunton vs Hampton and Richmond.
I was actually quite glad that I had chosen this game to go to because its only 25 miles away from Minehead and meant I wouldn't have a long travel day and I could finally tick off Taunton as every time I have tried to go recently, the game has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch so I thought getting Wordsworth Drive ticked off would be a big benefit in the future! Another reason why I chose Taunton is the bus fare is usually over £10 for a return and at the moment, a return is £4 so we would definitely be taking advantage of the cheaper bus fares!
There we go, it was finalised, me and Charlotte would be heading to Wordsworth Drive and I was honestly quite excited to finally tick off this classic ground especially as it is my most local semi-professional club and only biggish non league team in the area! Monday was spent sleeping off the exhaustion of working the weekend and just watching tv and having a takeaway for dinner and then going back to bed around 1am. After a terrible nights sleep, I finally got myself up at 11am and made myself a cup of tea and watched some Doctor Who and then chilled for a while. There was a bus back to Minehead at 10:30pm however the buses in Somerset have not been reliable recently so I decided to make it a proper night away and stay at the Premier Inn near the ground and then travel back Wednesday meaning I wouldn't be as exhausted from the trip!
We both packed our overnight bags before leaving Butlins at 3pm to catch the bus to Taunton. We was originally planning on getting the 3:45pm bus to Taunton however the bus simply did not turn up which proves my earlier point of the buses in Somerset not being very reliable at the moment. This did annoy me slightly however the 4:15pm bus turned up so we had only lost half an hour however we made sure we had plenty of time so we was not too bothered about this delay! This slight delay gave me a chance to look into the history of Taunton Town FC!
Taunton Town FC were founded by a bunch of businessmen in 1947 and currently play their home games at Wordsworth Drive which has a capacity of 2,500 and 393 seats! The club joined Somerset Senior League until 1953 when they joined the Western League in 1954. In the same year they found their current home at Wordsworth Drive. At the end of the 1968/69 season, the club won the Western League and they were runners up four seasons in a row between 1973 and 1976. In 1977, the club were promoted to the Southern League. In 1983, the club made a financial decision to drop back down to the Western League and won the league in 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2001! In 1994, the club reached the FA Vase Final but lost in extra time however they did finally win the FA Vase in 2001! In 2002, the club re-joined the Southern League and when the English league system was changed, the club were placed in the Southern League Division One South & West. In 2018, the club were promoted to the Southern League Premier and then in 2022, the club were promoted to the Vanarama National League South!
Once on the bus, I was feeling very hungry because I hadn't eaten yet today so we both planned to go to the Wetherspoons for dinner once in Taunton! The journey to Taunton took 90 minutes and feels like forever as I always say when doing these blogs and have to travel to Taunton by bus! We arrived at Wetherspoons at 5:50pm and found ourselves a table and ordered our food. I decided to go for a buttermilk chicken burger and Charlotte went for the pasta alfredo. It was only a 10 minute wait for food which was pretty fast and it was pretty standard like most Wetherspoons food however it did the job!
After finishing our food, we left at 6:30pm and then made the 20 minute walk to Wordsworth Drive! By this time, the weather had got chilly but we both wrapped up warm so this did not bother us too much. After a nice walk from the town centre, we arrived at Wordsworth Drive just before 7pm. We then paid £12 each for entry which for a tier 6 game is about average price so couldn't really complain at the prices. We then walked round the ground to get some pictures and visit the club shop to get a matchday programme!
Wordsworth Drive has a capacity of 2,500 which 393 seats. Each end of the ground has some form of cover which is good to see and the ground has a very classic non league feel and is one I am a big fan of! The biggest stand is the Tom Harris Stand which has a mixture of seats and terracing. There are 288 seats and room for around 150 standing within the covered stand on either sides of the seated area of the stand. Opposite the Tom Harris Stand is the main area of the ground which holds the club shop, bar and the Taunton Plumbing and Heating Stand which is a very old and classic seated stand with room for 95 seats! The bar inside the ground is very modern but basic with seats inside, TV`s and a paid bar but nothing special but it does the job. Behind both goals are an identical terrace which I am a big fan of, one is called the Travis Perkins End and the other being the Showtime Attractions End!
I am a very big fan of this classic ground mainly because it has some form of covered stand at each end of the ground and its classic look. I love how the club have not ruined the look of the ground by modernising it with new seated stands and kept the look and size of the ground relative to what the club needs. Once I did my walk around the ground and took my pictures, we both visited the club shop to buy a match day programme which was £3, a very standard price so no complaints there! We then headed to the Tom Harris Stand and found some seats for the match and then 10 minutes before kick off, I went to the burger vans behind one of the terraces and got myself a hot dog with onions for myself and a bottle of water for Charlotte which was only £3.50, what a bargain!!!! The hot dog looked very nice however before I had a chance to eat it, the bun fell apart but I still made the most of it and it was a decent hot dog!
The teams then came out for the match and there was a small roar from inside the ground which was good to see and then I headed back to our seats in the Tom Harris Stand! The game kicked off and it was Taunton to have the first chance of the game in the first minute with a whipped in cross which was just headed wide. The Taunton loyal all stood behind the goal and were chanting here and there and also had a drum which was good to see and it was not a bad turn out for a Tuesday night game! Nothing much happened for the next 10 minutes but Taunton had another chance in the 11th minute with another whipped cross and was headed onto the crossbar and missed from close range! It definitely should have been 1-0 to the peacocks however it was not meant to be!
In the 20th minute, Hampton whipped in a corner and was headed in and the travelling 30 or so HRB fans cheered loudly and it was 1-0 to the beavers! 8 minutes later, Taunton had a chance which just missed and was definitely a corner but was not given but it did not matter because 1 minute later, HRB had a goal kick which went upfield but was intercepted and Taunton went forward and scored a one on one chance to make it 1-1 and the Taunton loyal went wild! Taunton had another chance to score in the 40th minute but the shot went wide but it would be HRB to score the next chance in the 43rd minute as the whipped in another chance and scored and then shortly after the half time whistle blew and it was 2-1 to HRB!
Half time and it was 2-1 to Hampton & Richmond, by this time we decided to stand behind the goal with the Taunton fans as the view from the Tom Harris Stand was not the best and it would allow us to get a better view of the game! We walked round to the Showtime Attractions End and then was looking to get a hot drink however the queue was quite long so we decided to pass on that and just go without. We found a place to stand in the Showtime Attractions End and then shortly after, the teams came back out for the second half and was hoping that Taunton could turn it around and get the win!
The second half started and there was not much action in the first 15 minutes of the second half and there was a lot of questionable decisions from the referee and the Taunton fans were getting very agitated and annoyed and it was a very angry atmosphere however they did decide to chant here and there but they definitely were letting themselves down, they had the crowd behind the goal and the drum but stayed quiet for most of the game? In the 62nd minute, Hampton had a chance one on one and put it in the back of the net and made it 3-1 and it was definitely game set and match seeing as Taunton were playing very bad!
There was a few chances here and there in the last 25 minutes of the game for Hampton but the score remained 3-1 and it was a really bad performance in the second half for Taunton but it was just one of them days and it was going to be the team who struggles to win away and travelled over 175 miles to take the 3 points deservedly as it finished 3-1 to Hampton and Richmond! The Taunton fans were very upset but still clapped the team off at the end. Personally I was very disappointed with the atmosphere, I have seen the Taunton fans on social media creating a decent atmosphere even in the midweek games but with the way they were playing, they definitely could have provided a bit of atmosphere to edge their team on!
We left the ground at 9:45pm feeling glad I had finally ticked off Wordsworth Drive but a bit disappointed with the game and atmosphere but you cant always get what you want but I was more happy that I had finally ticked off this classic ground in Somerset. We then walked half an hour to the Premier Inn, checked in and then settled down before going to bed at midnight. Our original plan to get the bus home was interrupted as we has snow fall in the night meaning the buses were suspended so we got our friend Emily to pick us up at 11am instead as we needed to get back home. The drive back to Minehead was quite fun in the snow but uneventful and we finally arrived back at Butlins at midday!
I really did enjoy my visit to Wordsworth Drive and would recommend it as it is a classic non-league ground with a lot of character! The staff at the club are very friendly and so are the fans but the atmosphere is hit or miss and on another day it could have been decent but it was average at best on this visit but overall, for the money we spent, it was a good night at the football and a night out of Minehead and obviously ticking off another ground is worth any amount of money! I personally would suggest going on a Saturday game as you would more than likely get a better atmosphere but none the less, I did enjoy this groundhop!