Beer Albion make table-toppers work hard for narrow win


Goal! - Credit: Archant

After a couple of disappointing performances recently, Beer Albion put up a much-improved show against in-form Newtown in the Devon and Exeter Premier Division on Saturday at the Furzebrake, writes Richard Honnor.

The Fishermen went down 2-1, but they made their table-topping opponents work hard for the points.

Beer made the perfect start, taking the lead on three minutes. A George Harwood free-kick from the left was headed down by Richard Walker at the far post into the path of Jack Harwood, who made no mistake from six yards. The Fishermen spent the rest of the first half defending their slender lead, but for all Newtown’s neat football and possession, Beer keeper Henry Bartlett was rarely tested. When the home side did get possession the visitors pressed so quickly that all the Fishermen could do was hit high, hopeful balls to target man Walker.

Just as they thought that they had survived the first-half onslaught, Beer conceded the equaliser in the third minute of added time. Following a Newtown corner, a neat back heel found Darren Osmand in space in the penalty box and the midfielder took a couple of touches before finishing clinically past the advancing Bartlett.

Immediately after the break, on 48 minutes, Beer were stunned by a great goal from Newtown midfielder Fergal O’Rourke. The Fishermen’s keeper Bartlett miscued a clearance straight to O’Rourke on the half way line. Seeing Bartlett stranded on the edge of his penalty box, the quick-thinking O’Rourke took a touch and then struck the ball from 40 yards out into the back of the net.

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The game continued in the same vein with Newtown dominating possession and Beer holding out resolutely with Kieran Love outstanding at centre back. But as the game moved into the final 20 minutes the Fishermen at last started to get some quality possession and made a brave attempt to rescue a point. On 61 minutes, after their best passing move of the game, Walker set up Simon Smith with a good opportunity but the midfielder shot over from 20 yards. Then Jack Harwood’s effort was pushed round the post by the visitors’ keeper only for Walker to loop a header narrowly over from the resulting corner. On 72 minutes Beer had a great chance to equalise when Smith again found himself in space but the midfielder sliced an awkwardly bouncing ball wide from 18 yards.

In the final moments Newtown narrowly missed the target after a swift breakaway. Then the Beer players protested vehemently when they thought the ball had crossed the Newtown goal line after a desperate melee in the visitors’ six-yard area. But despite the Fishermen’s plucky efforts to snatch a point, Newtown held on for a hard-earned victory.

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Apart from his excellent winning goal, midfielder O’Rourke was at the heart of everything positive about Newtown’s display and he received man of the match award from the game’s sponsors Bay View Guest House of Beer.

For Beer, Jack Harwood was their best player. This Saturday (December 9) the Fishermen host Perry Street and Yonder Hill in an East Devon Senior Cup tie. Kick-off is at 1:30pm and the match sponsor is Morgan Heating Maintenance.

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