Fishermen net late winner to win thrill-a-minute contest

Beer Albion 1st team at home to Elmore. Ref shsp 35-17TI 0151. Picture: Terry Ife

Beer Albion 1st team at home to Elmore. Ref shsp 35-17TI 0151. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Beer Albion notched their second league win of the season edging out Topsham Town in a nine-goal thriller at the Furzebrake, writes Richard Honnor.

It was thrill-a-minute for the spectators, but a nightmare for both managers who saw their sides concede goals through sloppy defending.

It was also tough on the visitors who had held the lead for best part of the game. However, the Fishermen did create the more chances and finished the game much stronger than their plucky opponents.

The end-to-end pattern of the game was established from the outset with both keepers making fine saves in the first five minutes.

On 13 minutes, wing-back George Harwood opened the scoring for the Fishermen, forcing the ball home after an untidy goalmouth scramble.

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Topsham levelled six minutes later when the unmarked Clarke headed home at the far post. Despite having most of the possession in the middle of the park, the Beer defence looked vulnerable when Topsham counter-attacked. In particular, the visitor’s excellent centre forward Cameron Pow was giving the Beer defenders plenty of problems with his pace and strength on the ball.

Topsham took the lead on 23 minutes when Clarke scored his second and it was 3-1 on 38 minutes when Pow hit a great 30-yard lob, catching Jones off of his goal-line after Beer’s defence had been caught square once again.

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With player-boss Richard Walker on the substitute’s bench because of a niggling ankle injury, Beer offered little threat up front, but they were handed a lifeline just before the break when industrious midfielder Simon Smith converted a penalty after Sam Phillips was brought down.

Walker brought himself on immediately after the break, but the Fishermen went 4-2 behind on 51 minutes when Ward forced the ball over the line after Jones’ fine save unfortunately ricocheted off a defender into the Topsham forward’s path.

Soon after, the visitors were temporarily down to 10 men, when their midfielder was sin-binned on 58 minutes for dissent.

The Fishermen took advantage and reduced the arrears on 62 minutes when Walker placed his shot from 15 yards into the right hand corner after a sweet interchange of passes involving Smith, Clode and Long.

At last, Beer took complete control as Topsham tired and the introduction of Pedro Fontes boosted the Fishermen’s midfield. Topsham’s keeper made several fine saves as Beer pressed forward but the equaliser eventually came on 85 minutes.

Fontes and Walker combined neatly to present Chris Long with an opportunity and the Beer striker’s shot was parried by the keeper but went in off the post.

In a late flurry, John Cooper headed wide from a corner and Fontes’ 25-yarder whistled just over the bar. Just as the home side seem grateful just to salvage a draw, up popped Walker to tap home Beer’s winner on 94 minutes after the despairing Topsham keeper could only parry Long’s strike.

The Man of the Match award, made courtesy of match sponsors Café Napoli of Beer, went to Topsham strike Cameron Pow. For the home side, hard-working midfielder Simon Smith impressed.

On Saturday (September 16), Beer first team travel to Newton St Cyres for a Macron league top flight game that kicks off at 3pm.

Beer Reserves have an extremely tough home game against Priory first team in the Devon Senior Cup. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 2 pm and the match sponsoris Marine House at Beer.

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