Fishermen held by battling Seaton in derby thriller
- Credit: Archant
Beer Albion and Seaton Town shared the Macron Devon and Exeter League Premier Division spoils in a six-goal thriller, writes Richard Honnor.
A large crowd were present at the Furzebrake for what was an exciting end-to-end East Devon derby, but both managers will be disappointed with some of the goals that were conceded.
Unusually for this fixture, mid-table Beer started hot favourites with the visitors arriving as the basement-dwellers in the top flight.
The Fishermen, without a game since December 9, made a sluggish start. By contrast, Seaton Town began brightly, competing strongly for every ball and dominating possession.
Beer were rattled and their defence looked uncertain, particularly against through balls, which were holding up in the strong wind.
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When the home side did get possession, they failed to play to feet and their forwards were regularly caught offside by Seaton’s defence playing a very high line.
Beer were particularly vulnerable down the left flank and it was no surprise when Seaton went ahead on nine minutes with left winger Max Richardson getting in behind the home defence to cross for striker Seth Wakely to poke the ball home from close range.
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The Fishermen almost conceded again on 17 minutes when keeper Henry Bartlett let a soft shot slip through his legs, but scrambled back to prevent the ball going over the line.
Beer’s first serious attempt on goal came from George Harwood, on 22 minutes, when his sweetly struck free kick from 25 yards was thwarted by a flying save from Seaton keeper Dave Perham.
Alex Hunt saw a fine header fly just wide of the mark before, at the other end of the pitch, Josh French met a free-kick with a header that looped over Beer glovesman Bartlett, who was caught off his line, and the visitors led 2-0 with 28 minutes gone.
Two minutes later the Fishermen reduced the arrears when the Seaton defence conceded a soft penalty.
The referee spotted a shirt-tug in the penalty area and Beer striker Chris Long made no mistake with the spot kick. However, with striker Wakely regularly finding space behind Beer’s square defence, Seaton still looked the more menacing side and restored their two-goal advantage seven minutes before the break when the lively Richardson got in front of the Beer defence at the near post and squeezed the ball past Bartlett with a deft flick.
Whatever Beer manager Richard Walker said in the dressing room at half-time, it had an immediate effect on his players.
From the restart they played with far more purpose and the second half was just two minutes old when the hard-working midfielder Hunt powered home a header from Simon Smith’s corner to make the score 3-2.
As the half wore on, Jack Harwood’s pace up front began to force Seaton’s tiring defence to drop deeper, thus opening up spaces for Beer to play through the midfield. After creating a chance for Hunt that the midfielder thumped over the bar, he crossed for Long to do similar from 15 yards!
However, a minute later Long received the ball 18 yards out and, with his back to goal, pivoted 180 degrees and volleyed an unstoppable shot which ricocheted in off the post.
Beer set about looking for a winner, but the Seaton defence, in which young centre back Will House was outstanding, held firm.
At the other end, as the final whistle approached, Wakely caused the Fishermen’s defence a brief moment of anxiety with a quick break, but his shot was off target.
Match sponsors Colcombe Beerboys adjudged that Seaton defender Will House was the best player on show with a faultless performance, whilst for Beer, Jack Harwood shone.
On Saturday (January 20), Beer first team host Witheridge Reserves at the Furzebrake (2.15pm) and the match sponsor is Jimmy Green Marine of Beer.