Beer Albion net last gasp goal to win at Topsham Town
PUBLISHED: 19:10 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 19:10 16 April 2018
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Beer Albion snatched a 90th minute winner to frustrate bottom club Topsham Town in a Macron Devon and Exeter Premier Division Match at Coronation Field on Saturday, writes Richard Honnor.
With fellow strugglers Seaton winning at Exmouth, Topsham are now six points adrift at the foot of the table and are unlikely to avoid relegation even though they still have 12 games to play.
In truth, the Fishermen made heavy weather of their win. Based on possession and chances created, they should have been “out of sight” at half time. But they were drawn into a real dogfight and were rescued by two goals of real quality from their midfielder Simon Smith.
It was clear that the grass had not been cut for sometime thus making playing conditions extremely difficult.
Even Beer’s twin strikers Richard Walker and Chris Long, whose first touches are normally so assured and such a massive contributing factor to the Fishermen’s goal tally, could not control the ball.
Beer were in complete control early on and spurned two good chances before Smith scored his first goal on 16 minutes. Under severe pressure, Topsham’s defence only partially cleared a Beer attack and Smith collected the ball on the left edge of the penalty box.
He sidestepped a challenge before unleashing an unstoppable left footer into the top corner.
The Fishermen were so much in control at this point that they really should have put the result beyond question. Midfielder Alex Hunt went close on a couple of occasions, shooting wide on 24 minutes and heading across goal on 36 minutes, and the busy Topsham keeper made a fine save to keep out a Jack Harwood shot on 37 minutes after the young wing back had skipped past two players.
But, on 40 minutes, Beer were made to pay for missed chances when Topsham equalised with their only clear-cut chance of the half.
A long ball out of defence was deflected somewhat unluckily by centre back Shaun Denslow into the path of the Topsham right wing back, whose cross found the centre forward one-on-one with Steve Jones and the ball was neatly slotted home past the advancing keeper.
In the second period it was more of the same. Topsham’s fine keeper saved well from Walker on 54 minutes, then again blocking Smith’s strike from eight yards.
There were a couple of injury setbacks for Beer, when Denslow pulled a hamstring and then Jack Harwood had to be helped off after a strong challenge temporarily reduced the Fishermen down to 10 men.
The spaces began to open up and Topsham became increasingly dangerous on the break, getting round the back of Beer’s defence on several occasions. The home side went close to taking the lead when George Harwood was in the right place to clear a header off the goal line.
Then Long almost scored for Beer on 76 minutes with a fierce 18-yard strike going narrowly wide after Smith set him up from Steve Jones’ deep clearance.
But the real drama was saved for the 90th minute. It looked as though Topsham would nick the winning goal when, with numbers forward, they got behind Beer’s defence only for back-pedalling full back Jack Prior to make a crucial interception as the Topsham forward was teeing up his shot from just 12 yards out.
Prior quickly took the ball forward and released a long ball which appeared to be going out for a Topsham goal kick. But Beer’s Man of the Match, Alex Hunt, who had been outstanding throughout, ‘chased a lost cause” and managed to reach and cross the ball to Simon Smith at the near post. Smith coolly sidestepped the keeper and slotted the winner into an empty net.
On Saturday (April 21), Beer travel to Clyst Valley hoping for another win to cement their mid-table position.
Meanwhile, Beer Reserves, who hold a respectable fifth position in Division Four after a hard fought home 2-1 home win against Feniton Reserves, travel to Newton St Cyres 2nds.