Beer sunk by Upottery in Macron League to flight game
- Credit: Archant
Beer Albion are still waiting to open their Macron League top flight account after a 3-2 defeat away at Premier Division new boys Upottery, writes Richard Honnor.
The Fishermen who were twice in front will have been disappointed not to have got at least a point from an entertaining game but in the end paid the price for some sloppy defending.
All the significant action including the five goals took place in the first 45 minutes. Upottery started well and played some neat passing football stretching Beer’s makeshift back four particularly down both flanks. But the home side too were showing some vulnerability at the back and Fishermen looked the more threatening on goal. On 11 minutes good work down the left by Chris Long and young George Harwood created a chance for Pedro Fontes whose shot was cleared off the Upottery goal line with the keeper beaten.
Five minutes later, Fontes shot straight at the keeper after a neat exchange of passes down the right with young debutant Ed Karajev. Beer continued to press and, on 19 minutes, Long’s effort was foiled by the keeper’s outstretched foot and then a mazy run from centre forward Richard Walker was scrambled behind for a corner.
Long looked sharp and had another goal-bound effort blocked before Walker put the visitors deservedly in front on 31 minutes following good work by full-back Jack Prior.
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Prior won a tackle and found Walker on the right who went past the defender on the outside and then chipped the keeper from an acute angle into the far corner of the goal. But Beer surrendered their lead immediately when Upottery were given too much space and broke quickly down the left wing.
The resulting cross found a home side midfield player who squeezed his shot home from 18-yards across despite keeper Mark Rooke getting a hand to the ball.
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But it was end-to-end stuff now and Beer went 2-1 ahead on 37 minutes with a route-one effort.
With the Upottery defence caught square, keeper Rooke’s goal kick found Walker who took the ball in his stride and slotted home again from an acute angle. Three minutes later Upottery were back on level terms at 2-2 taking full advantage when the Beer defence gave the ball away the half way line.
Their forwards broke in numbers down the left resulting in their winger pulling the ball back from the by-line for an easy tap-in for the home side’s striker.
Then, on 44 minutes, Upottery struck the killer blow after Rooke’s goal kick was headed back strongly from the halfway line towards the Beer penalty area. There was a complete mix-up between keeper and defence which presented Upottery with an opportunity from 20-yards out which was coolly slotted home with Rooke stranded.
By contrast the second half was relatively quiet affair. Upottery continued to threaten mainly down the flanks and looked the better side but but the Beer defence held firm and Rooke made two great saves to keep his side in the game. For Beer, Walker continued to pose a threat and created several chances for his colleagues who failed to capitalise. The Beer forward was unlucky not to complete his hat-trick on 70 minutes when his shot was foiled by the keeper’s outstretched foot. Beer tired as the game went into the final quarter and with only one substitute they were unable to change the course of the game. On the other hand Upottery with a full complement of substitutes were able to stitch up the middle of the park and snuff out any remaining threat from the visitors.
In what seems like a repeat of last season, Beer were missing key players through injury or unavailability and the team was forced to play a makeshift back line and to travel with just one substitute.
With a small 1st XI squad this is so frustrating for manager Richard Walker and his assistant John Moughton and for the loyal band of supporters who frequently travel to Beer’s away matches.
But on the positive side there were promising performances particularly from Beer’s youngster’s in particular full back Jack Prior who shows composure beyond his years and midfielder George Harwood who had an impressive first 45 minutes.
And not forgetting veteran Man of the Match Richard Walker who scored two delightful goals and laid on several good chances which his colleagues should have done better with.
On Saturday (October 8), Beer first team host Hatherleigh Town at the Furzebrake in the Devon Premier League Cup. Kick-off is at 2pm and the match sponsor is Steamers Restaurant, Beer.