Beer Albion edged out at home by Exwick Villa

Beer 2nds away at Feniton 2nds. shsp 03-18TI 6345. Picture: Terry Ife

Beer 2nds away at Feniton 2nds. shsp 03-18TI 6345. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

After a heavy defeat against Cronies in their previous game, Beer Albion restored their pride with a battling display before going down 2-1 to Exwick Villa a Macron League top flight encounter at the Furzebrake on Saturday, writes Richard Honnor.

The Fishermen can count themselves unlucky not to get something out of this game. Both of Exwick’s goals came as a consequence of debatable refereeing decisions and, in the latter stages, the visitors had to rely on some desperate defending and a huge slice of luck as Beer surged forward in search of the equaliser.

Exwick dominated the early proceedings with some fine football and almost went ahead on seven minutes when a fierce strike looked goal bound, but deflected off another Exwick player behind for a goal kick.

Beer absorbed the pressure and looked threatening on the break. Richard Walker’s aerial threat up front was causing problems for the Villa defence and his header across the six-yard box almost resulted in a goal, but Jack Harwood narrowly failed to get the finishing touch.

The visitors missed a great opportunity on 31 minutes when their forward shot wide after a through ball found him one-on-one with Beer keeper Henry Bartlett.

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But Exwick only had to wait three more minutes for the lead. Beer full back Jack Prior accidentally handled the ball after an awkward bounce. The referee saw it as a penalty and Mark Saunders gave Bartlett no chance with the spot-kick.

It was hard on Prior, who had a splendid match.

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The Fishermen made the perfect response. Exwick keeper Lee made a hash of Bartlett’s long wind-assisted clearance, only just managing to push the high bouncing ball around his goalpost.

From the resulting George Harwood corner, Lee parried away Alex Hunt’s powerful header, but Walker was on hand to pick up the loose ball and slot home the equaliser.

Beer finished the half strongly but were again on the back foot after the break. They conceded the lead on 57 minutes once again in controversial circumstances.

Walker won a fair tackle near the touch line and then he was clearly brought down. He grabbed the ball for the expected free kick in his favour but referee Vivian Cooke gave a free kick to Exwick, seemingly for hand ball against the Beer player-manager. From the resulting delivery, Exwick’s Dan Foweraker scored from close range to put his side 2-1 in front.

The Fishermen responded bravely. Alex Hunt set the tone for Beer’s fightback, winning most of the midfield battles and making strong runs deep into Exwick territory.

When substitutes Pedro Fontes and Chris Long, coming back from an ankle injury, were introduced, it seemed only a matter of time before Beer would equalise. Long’s first touch on 69 minutes was a goal bound pile-driver which an Exwick player somehow managed to block at close range.

A minute later the Fishermen were desperately unlucky when Walker’s well-executed 25-yard lob hit the crossbar with Exwick keeper Lee stranded.

Exwick’s frustration at Beer’s resurgence boiled over when their winger was sin-binned on 71 minutes, but the Fishermen failed to capitalise even though they dominated the final stages.

The Man of the Match award, chosen by sponsors Annings Plumbing and Heating Engineers, was presented to Beer full back Jack Prior while, for the visitors, skipper James Skinner had a fine match.

On Saturday (March 3), Beer first team go to Exwick for the return league game whilst Beer Reserves, who won 8-1 at Starcross, are at home to table-toppers Whipton and Pinhoe.

Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm and match sponsor is Colyford Butchers.

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