Fishermen ship three headed goals in home defeat

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Despite a gutsy performance, Beer Albion went down 4-1 against Cronies in a Macron League top flight meeting, writes Richard Honnor.

The Fishermen matched their talented opponents 1-1 up until half-time, but despite some valiant defending, they were overpowered after the break.

From the Fishermen’s viewpoint there were two key factors which cost them the game.

The first came when they lost the services of influential midfielder Pedro Fontes, who hobbled off on 50 minutes, thereby blunting any attacking threat Beer might have had in the second half.

The other key factor was that they conceded three headed goals. To be fair, the crosses into the box were top quality and Cronies’ movement at set pieces made it very difficult to defend against, but the Fishermen’s defence do need to mark tighter. Conceding headed goals at set-pieces has been the Fishermen’s ‘Achilles Heel’ this season!

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After early pressure from Cronies, Beer took the lead on nine minutes with a fine goal. George Harwood cut in from the left and drove in a cross which was met by striker Chris Long, who had timed his run perfectly to head in powerfully from nine yards out.

Thereafter, Cronies had most of the possession, but Beer’s narrow formation frustrated their opponents.

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Cronies’ main attacking threat came down the flanks where there was more space on offer and from one such attack on 27 minutes the visitors almost equalised when their forward was a whisker away from scoring as the ball sped across the Beer goal.

However, six minutes later, they were level when Cronies’ Darren Carr got away from his marker to score a fine header from a corner kick delivered with pace at the near post. Beer then had to thank keeper Elliot Driver, who made two fine saves to keep his side on level terms at half-time.

Within five minutes of the restart, the Fishermen suffered a crucial blow when midfielder Fontes had to go off.

Shortly afterwards, Cronies went ahead with a goal that had an element of good fortune about it – a low Danny Pym corner struck the referee and, when Pym picked up the rebound, he swung over a high cross which was headed home from six yards by Sam Seldon, rising high above the Beer defence.

In a rare 60th minute breakaway, Chris Long tested Cronies’ keeper from distance as the Fishermen battled hard to stay in the game.

However, they were undone by yet another headed goal on 69 minutes after conceding a free kick on the left side with James Sharkey eluding his marker to power a header past Elliot Driver.

Two minutes later the contest was over as Cronies scored their fourth goal. Keeper Driver misjudged a high ball, leaving Jamie Vaughan-Ryall with a simple tap-in from two yards out. It was cruel on the Beer glovesman who otherwise had a fine match.

Beer never gave up and were unlucky not to score a late consolation on 84 minutes when Simon Smith’s goal-bound strike looped over the bar after a desperate block by a Cronies defender.

On 89 minutes, the Cronies’ skipper received his marching orders for a rash challenge which detracted somewhat from what was otherwise an impressive performance from the visitors.

For Beer, brothers George and Jack Harwood made impressive contributions, but sponsors Kenworthy and Arbourne Builders gave the Man of the Match award to midfielder Josh Hannaford.

On Saturday (January 26), the Fishermen host high-flying Colyton in a local derby. Kick-off is 2.15pm and the match sponsor is Hansford’s Funeral Service, Seaton.

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