Beer Albion’s seven match unbeaten run ended at Upottery

Beer Albion Reserves at home to Winkleigh in the Bill Slee Cup. Ref mhsp 44 19TI 2609. Picture: Terr

Beer Albion Reserves at home to Winkleigh in the Bill Slee Cup. Ref mhsp 44 19TI 2609. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Beer Albion’s seven-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday when they were surprisingly beaten 2-1 at Upottery in a Macron Devon and Exeter Premier Division game, writes Richard Honnor.

The Beer Albion senior players with some of the clubs juniors at the club's Centenary Celebration ma

The Beer Albion senior players with some of the clubs juniors at the club's Centenary Celebration match against Axminster Town. Picture RICHARD HONNOR - Credit: Archant

Apart from a decent 20-minute spell in the first half when they took the lead, the Fishermen's performance was below-par and Upottery fully deserved the three points.

Playing into a stiff breeze Beer started the game tentatively. Their defence which has been rock-solid during their unbeaten run looked vulnerable and gave the ball away too readily mainly through indecision and under-hit passing on a heavy surface. They were at full stretch early on particularly down the right flank as Upottery piled on the pressure forcing corner after corner.

Keeper Elliot Driver who had a busy afternoon kept his side in the game with some sound goalkeeping and in particular when he made a fine save on 19 minutes from a close range effort which took a nasty deflection off a Beer defender.

Eventually Beer's midfield did manage to get a foothold and started to release early balls to wide player, Jay Catley, whose pace and direct play was a constant threat to the Upottery defence.

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Indeed the opening goal on 25 minutes came after Catley accelerated past his marker and crossed to Charley Skilton. The Upottery keeper could only parry Skilton's first time effort and Giles Basson was on hand to score from close range after a scramble.

At this stage, the Fishermen seemed to gain control of the game and went close to increasing their lead on 42 minutes when Skilton shot narrowly wide from 12 yards. But right on the stroke of half time, Finley Rooke conceded a penalty when he brought down an Upottery forward. Pat Sherwood converted the spot-kick to make it 1-1.

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Just one minute after the break, Upottery delivered the killer blow. From the kick-off Beer gave the ball away inside their own half and the home side broke quickly down the left. The ball was pulled back from the by line into the danger zone and the unmarked Sam Winslade had the easiest of tap-ins from five yards to put his side 2-1 up.

Upottery now had their tails up and worked really hard to preserve their lead. After Chris Long fired a volley straight at the Upottery keeper on 57 minutes, Beer ran out of ideas. Catley did have a half-chance to equalise on 72 minutes but miscued his shot after Liam Fox's long free kick caught the Upottery defence square.

Managers Rooke and Potter tried to change things with a couple of substitutions, but any chance Beer had of saving the game late on was lost when they were reduced to nine men, after Josh Moughton and Skilton were injured and Josh Lund was sin-binned for back-chat.

To that point, Lund had been one of Beer's better performers. Catley and centre back Fraser Beaumont also acquitted themselves well, but Upottery were not to be denied a fully deserved victory.

The Fishermen will be hoping for the return of injured players namely skipper Alex Hunt, Taylor Rooke, Joe Adkin and Jack Prior on Saturday (January 18) when they have a tough fixture away at second placed Feniton.

Meanwhile, Beer 2nds now sit third in Macron Division Two after a convincing home win against Clyst Valley 2nds.

They entertain Tedburn St Mary on Saturday (2.15pm) and the match sponsors are the Colcombe Beer Boys.

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