Fishermen denied victory by late Cronies equaliser
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Beer Albion came within a whisker of defeating highly-rated Cronies, but had to settle for a 2-2 in a thrilling Macron Premier contest at the Furzebrake, writes Richard Honnor.
With just 12 minutes remaining it looked as though the Fishermen were going to inflict a rare defeat on their opponents.
However, when they were reduced to 10 men following Kieran Daniels' dismissal for a second yellow card, Beer were unable to cling on to their slender lead and Cronies salvaged a point with an 89th minute equaliser.
Beer took the game to Cronies, frustrating them from the start and, after both sides squandered good chances, Cronies conceded a penalty on 40 minutes.
Richard Walker's first-time ball released Giles Basson clear on goal, but the young wing-man was cynically brought down by the last defender. The referee awarded the penalty and Taylor Rooke fired the spot-kick home for a thoroughly deserved 1-0 lead at the interval. The Cronies defender was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card!
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After the break, the game continued to flow end-to-end and on 55 minutes Cronies equalised through a Michael Benyon header. A desperate attempt was made to clear the ball, but the Beer linesman adjudged that the ball had crossed the goal line.
Buoyed by the equaliser, Cronies piled on the pressure, but the Fishermen's defence remained solid and, when called upon, keeper Elliot Driver made some fine saves.
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Beer rallied and took the lead on 65 minutes. Chris Long squared the ball to Kieran Daniels who hit a great strike into the bottom corner. Fired-up by a goal against his former teammates, the former Cronies man was yellow-carded for removing his shirt in celebration.
The Fishermen were now in the ascendancy and were unlucky not to go 3-1 up when Chris Long slid the ball under the keeper, but it was cleared before crossing the line.
Then came the sending-off when Daniels threw the ball at a Cronies player after winning a free-kick. The handicap of 10 men ultimately proved too much and Cronies produced that last-ditch equaliser, a fine 25-yard strike from their skipper Danny Pym.
Co-Manager Mark Rooke was delighted with his team's performance. He said: 'We took the game to Cronies and frustrated them from the start. We are all disappointed we didn't hold out for the victory, but we've got to be elated with the performance and a point against an extremely good side.
'It is so pleasing to see how much our young players are developing as individuals and as a team.'
There were fine performances across the park and sweeper Finley Rooke stood out as Beer's best player. But sponsor Simon Bartlett of Beer Boats picked out Cronies centre-back Michael Benyon as the Man of the Match.
Beer are in league action on Saturday with a trip into Exeter to meet Whipton and Pinhoe.
Meanwhile, at Furzebrake, Beer Reserves entertain Sandford in a Macron League Division Two game, The match sponsor is Beer Fisheries and kick-off is 3pm.