Fishermen deliver the goods in front of players from yesteryear

Beer Albion at home to Witheridge. Ref shsp 04-18TI 6579. Picture: Terry Ife

Beer Albion at home to Witheridge. Ref shsp 04-18TI 6579. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Beer Albion gained a valuable three points with a 2-1 home victory against fellow mid-table side Clyst Valley in Saturday’s Macron Premier Division encounter writes Richard Honnor.

Playing in front of a Furzebrake crowd of more than 100, boosted by former players who had been attending the club’s Annual Lunch event, the present-day Fishermen gave a good account of themselves in front of their guest players from yesteryear.

Beer started the game strongly and dominated the first half with probably their best 45 minutes of the season.

Playing a 3-5-2 formation, the centre back trio of Kieran Love, Joe Adkin and Ashley Driver looked particularly solid, thus allowing wing backs Jack Harwood and Andrew Foster to make attacking runs down the flanks.

With their midfield also well-balanced, the Fishermen were keeping things simple, ie playing to feet through the midfield and pressing their opponents high when not in possession.

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Plenty of chances were being created and Beer should have been ‘out of sight’ at half-time, but the one thing lacking on the day was clinical finishing!

It was Clyst Valley, however, who had the first real chance on eight minutes after a rare Beer defensive mix-up left a visitor’s forward with a clear chance from eight yards, but he fired wide. At the other end of the pitch chances came – and went.

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Clyst keeper Braddick saved Jack Harwood’s swerving effort from 20 yards, then Foster and Richard Walker went close before Braddick made an excellent save to keep out Pedro Fontes’s fierce hit from 25 yards.

Beer took the lead on 26 minutes when a high free-kick across the penalty box from George Harwood was headed down to Fontes who squared into the path of Foster. The wing-back teed up his shot and, with the help of a slight deflection, scored with a sweet strike from 22 yards.

After the break, the Fishermen continued to dominate early on and scored their second goal on 48 minutes when a Harwood corner driven low was met with a looping volley from Fontes, which keeper Braddick scrambled away under his cross bar into the path of Chris Long, who forced the ball over from close range.

Beer were so in control at this point that they should have gone on to kill the game but through casual play gave the ball away on 57 minutes to midfielder Rob Belcher who lobbed stranded keeper Steve Jones from 25 yards to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Suddenly, it was ‘game-on’ as the visitors, buoyed by the gift, started to dominate the game through midfield.

Somewhat rattled, the Fishermen forgot their first half game plan and made life difficult for themselves by relying more on speculative long balls, which invariably gave possession and the initiative back to the visitors.

Walker did go close for Beer with a solo effort on 73 minutes, but Fisherman keeper Jones made a crucial save on 75 minutes when he held a well-struck free-kick awarded for a Beer foul committed just inches outside the box.

It was a close call and, on another day, a penalty might well have been awarded. Full credit to the visitors for gracefully accepting referee Jon Veale’s decision.

The Fishermen withstood the pressure and came close to scoring a third goal right on the final whistle when Long’s well hit, goal-bound free-kick from 25 yards deflected off Jack Harwood onto the Clyst upright. Referee Veale had a fine match, enabling the game to flow and to be played in a sporting spirit.

Match sponsor John Wheeler Ltd Builders decided on Beer centre back Ashley Driver for the honour of Man of the Match. For Clyst Valley, their centre back and skipper Owen Richards had a fine match.

On Saturday (March 31), Beer first team travel to Newtown for a Premier Division fixture whilst Beer Reserves entertain Teignmouth Reserves in a Division Four game. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm and the match is sponsored by The Anchor Inn Beer.

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