Beer Albion endure another ‘bad day at the office’

Beer Albion away to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 11 19TI 1010107. Picture: Terry Ife

Beer Albion away to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 11 19TI 1010107. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

In what is turning into a frustrating season, Beer Albion had another ‘bad day at the office’, going down 3-1 at Heavitree in this Macron Premier Division fixture, writes Richard Honnor.

Beer Albion away to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 11 19TI 1010107. Picture: Terry Ife

Beer Albion away to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 11 19TI 1010107. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

There might have been a much better outcome had the Fishermen converted a couple of good chances in a bright start to the game, but the current lack of confidence is no more apparent than in front of goal!

With manager Richard Walker sidelined with injury, the Fishermen lack a cutting edge up front.

The club would appear to have a possible ready-made solution to this problem in their promising reserve team player Taylor Rooke, who has scored 19 goals this season, but the young striker has only been given two starts for the first team.

Playing against the wind, Beer made a promising start and should have capitalised on 17 minutes when Alex Hunt was put through after a neat interchange of passes, but he shot weakly at the keeper from eight yards.

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Hunt and Pedro Fontes had further opportunities to get in shots from good positions inside the penalty area but instead they over-elaborated, enabling Heavitree’s defence to easily clear the danger.

The price for missing these opportunities was paid on 22 minutes when the Beer defence, who have been vulnerable to set pieces this season, failed to fully clear a wicked in-swinging corner.

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The ball fell to a Heavies midfielder just inside the penalty area box and he was allowed time and space to take a touch and score with a well-placed shot wide of Beer glovesman Elliot Driver’s right hand.

Beer had a shout for a penalty turned down on 29 minutes when Fontes seemed to be sent flying, well inside the box as he broke past the Heavitree defence.

Three minutes later, Heavitree went two up after the Fishemen’s defence was caught ball-watching.

A long pass down the left channel found the Heavies front man, who had made a run unnoticed across Beer’s back line. The striker cut the ball across to his unmarked colleague at the far post, who had the simple task of converting from close range.

Two minutes after the break, the Fishermen were back in the contest when Chris Long latched onto a Heavitree defensive error and scored from close range. With the advantage of the wind and the slope, Beer pressed hard for an equaliser, but were restricted to shooting opportunities outside the box that were all off target except for a fierce 30-yarder from Alex Hunt that the Heavies keeper saved well.

It seemed only a matter of time before Beer would equalise, but then they suffered a cruel blow on 66 minutes when wing-back George Harwood was forced to retire injured after a bad late challenge.

The Fishermen were still trying to reorganise their back line when they were caught in possession on 69 minutes and punished with a good strike from 18 yards out giving the home side a 3-1 advantage.

The Fishermen responded well and were denied a ‘nailed-on’ penalty when midfielder Ollie Padget was flattened five yards inside the penalty area after challenging for a high ball.

Inexplicably, referee Mitchell Brooks adjudged the foul outside the area after initially pointing to the spot!

Chris Long’s powerful free-kick was blocked by the Heavies defensive wall and cleared to safety.

Duly disappointed by this injustice, Beer players became frustrated and skipper Joe Adkin found himself sin-binned for dissent.

When Adkin’s punishment appeared to overrun, Beer midfielder Pedro Fontes asked the referee when he intended to allow Adkin to return the field. Bizarrely, Fontes was sin binned for having the audacity to challenge the referee. Adkin was eventually allowed to return for the final few minutes of added time.

Despite a frustrating afternoon, there were a couple of positives for Beer. Wing-back Jack Harwood had a fine match as did center-back Dan Jeeves, who was drafted in from the Reserves because of injuries. Midfielder Ollie Padget also worked hard for his team.

On Saturday (March 23), Beer first team travel to Witheridge hoping for a reversal of their home defeat by their opponents in February.

In Division Three, Beer second team produced yet another fine home performance to beat second-placed East Budleigh 1-0.

Taylor Rooke was the scorer, netting his 19th goal in 18 starts.

This coming Saturday (March 23) Beer second team entertain Budleigh Salterton Reserves in a league encounter.

The match sponsors on Saturday are Annings Plumbing and Heating Engineers Ltd.

Beer Reserves are set for a busy weekend for, on Sunday, they are also in action when they have a very tough Seaton Challenge cup tie away at Kentisbeare.

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