Fishermen make Devon Premier Cup progress with Hatherleigh Town win


Football - Credit: Archant

Playing only their second home game of the season, Beer Albion progressed to the Third round of the Devon Premier Leagues cup with a good 2-0 win against their Macron League rivals Hatherleigh Town, writes Richard Honnor.

The Fishermen, who included five teenagers in their line-up acquitted themselves well, but Town must be wondering how they lost this tie given the number of chances they created!

From the start the match was contested at a high tempo with both sides playing open attacking football. Beer created the best early opportunities with Chris Long going close from 20 yards on six minutes and then Jake Clode shooting at the keeper after a good link-up with George Harwood.

In a new-look midfield, Beer youngsters Harwood and Alex Hunt were showing a good understanding ably supported by skipper Sam Phillips and Long but as the half wore on the talented Hatherleigh forwards were getting more success particularly down the right side.

The Fishermen’s keeper Mark Rooke had to be alert on 16 minutes to dive and hold onto a crisp shot at his near post.

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The visitors were now storming forward stretching Beer’s back line with their pace and direct play. The visitors had the ball in the net on 20 minutes after a one-two around the box caught the Beer defence flat-footed but the effort was adjudged marginally off-side.

After a well-struck Chris Long free kick from 35-yards whistled narrowly wide, Hatherleigh missed a great opportunity to take the lead when unmarked Dan Wilson headed wide at the far post on 33 minutes.

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It was end-to-end play now as Rooke was again tested on 35 minutes and then a low Harwood cross sped across the Hatherleigh goal after a flowing counter-attack. The Fishermen were having their best spell of the match and soon after Clode went close with a header from a Jack Prior cross, Beer took the lead on 40 minutes.

Beer defender Andrew Foster delivered a great cross from the left and Harwood timed his run perfectly at the far post to fire in an unstoppable first-time shot.

Beer somehow survived an onslaught in the last five minutes of the half being penned in their own penalty box. Foster almost put through his own goal and then Rooke had to deal with some difficult corners under pressure as Hatherleigh piled bodies into the box.

The visitors started the second half strongly and Beer were forced to defend deep which created more space in midfield for the visitors to launch their attacks.

On 55 minutes Rooke made a great save when Hatherleighs’ Sam Brooks look certain to score from eight yards out. The visitors again had the ball in the net on 55 minutes only to be ruled offside.

Thanks to some stout defending from Beer’s back line, they survived the onslaught and had good chances on 57 minutes when Harwood latched on to Rooke’s long clearance, but fired over the bar and then on 62 minutes when Long found himself clear on goal after a defensive slip but he hoofed his shot wide. Back came Hatherleigh and Beer were caught square twice in the space of two minutes and had to thank Rooke again for making good saves to keep his team in front.

As the game went into the last 10 minutes, Beer made a double substitution. Player-manager Richard Walker introduced himself and Jack White.

This paid off when, on 85 minutes, White dispossessed the Hatherleigh full back and his left wing cross found Walker who slotted the ball home from close range to make it a winning 2-0 margin for the Fishermen. The visitors were not finished yet and Rooke had to make another great save on 87 minutes after Wilson had outpaced the Beer defence.

Beer keeper Rooke was awarded the Man of the Match honour by sponsors Steamers Restaurant, and there were excellent performances from all of Beer’s back line.

The Fishermen now need to repeat this level of performance in their league programme where they are still pointless but a tough challenge awaits them next week when they play unbeaten high-fliers, Newtown, at The Furzebrake. Kick-off is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Marine House at Beer.

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