Beer Albion edged out in Macron top flight opener


- Credit: Archant

Beer Albion’s loyal supporters who travelled to Winslade Park on Saturday were left wondering how their team contrived to lose their opening Macron Devon and Exeter League Premier Division encounter with Clyst Valley 2-1, after being in control for long periods of the game, writes Richard Honnor.

On a blustery, showery afternoon both sides started cautiously playing neat passing football, but with little threat on goal. The Fishermen with several new faces in the side took time to settle and occasionally looked vulnerable defending long balls which were holding up in the wind. As the game progressed however Beer’s new midfield combination of Ben Vine, Simon Smith and Sam Phillips started to dominate possession and forced three corners and a couple of free kicks from around 30-yards out in the space of 10 minutes, but they failed to create any clear cut chances from those opportunities. They were almost made to pay when a defensive error by Foster left the home forward clear, but his clever lob hit the underside of the bar with keeper Matt Rooke stranded.

This galvanised Beer into their best spell of the game, and, on 31 minutes, they took the lead when wide player Chris Long finished clinically from 12 yards after Simon Smith and Luke Morrison had combined well to set up the chance. Clyst Valley responded strongly but the threat was comfortably nullified by the Albion defence who were now adapting to the tricky conditions.

The second half started scrappily and there were no real chances created until 62 minutes when a long range effort from Simon Smith sailed over the bar after Beer’s best move of the half.

The Fishermen then took control for a while and a great ball from Centre Back Richard Walker found Chris Long cutting in from the left but his shot from 20-yards was fired straight at the Clyst Valley keeper. Despite their good approach play and possession Beer failed to create enough scoring opportunities to kill the game off.

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Then the game swung dramatically when Clyst substitute Chimenim Chinnah joined the fray.

Chinnah who scored two late goals against Beer in the corresponding fixture last season, had an immediate impact, scoring Valley’s equaliser on 75 minutes against the run of play!

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A miscued clearance by Walker fell to the substitute’s feet and he beat keeper Rook with a well-placed strike into the left corner from 18 yards. The Fishermen were now under pressure with Valley’s excellent midfield player Harry Gibbings prominent and Rooke kept his side in the game with a couple of fine stops. Beer almost won the game on 87 minutes when impressive full-back Josh Harrison headed straight at the Clyst Keeper and Morrison shot just wide two minutes later. But the Fishermen were denied a share of the points late into injury time when Chinnah popped up again to score Clyst Valley’s winner.

Despite the defeat, Beer can take some positives from this game. The new midfield trio of Vine, Smith and Phillips combined well and overall the defence was quite sound but the main concern at present is the inability to create clear cut scoring opportunities.

Beer first team do not have a match this coming Saturday (August 27), but the second team open their Division Five account with a home match against Newton St Cyres Reserves (3pm).

The Furzebrake match sponsor is Pecorama at Beer, Gardens, Games, and Trains.

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