Last gasp penalty miss means Fishermen are edged out in opening day derby game

Beer Albion Reserves at home to Winkleigh in the Bill Slee Cup. Ref mhsp 44 19TI 2609. Picture: Terry Ife

Beer Albion Reserves at home to Winkleigh in the Bill Slee Cup. Ref mhsp 44 19TI 2609. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

But for a 91st minute penalty miss by Richard Walker, the Fishermen would have salvaged a point which their late pressure deserved.

It was a highly competitive encounter littered with fouls, back-chat and off-the-ball incidents. Nine bookings (four for Beer and five for Feniton players) and the sin-binning of a Feniton player were dished out by referee Timothy Doherty and each punishment was fully justified.

Both sides found the blustery conditions difficult for free-flowing football and the long ball was frequently employed. Overall, Fenny were marginally better at keeping the ball and their solid defence proved difficult to unlock. Nonetheless, Beer created the better chances throughout.

The Fishermen could have easily been three goals up in the first 20 minutes, but for some fine keeping and defensive play.

First, Finley Rooke’s ninth minute header was cleared off the line and then, on 13 minutes, new signing from Feniton, Louis Spalding, shot narrowly wide.

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The best chance during this spell came on 17 minutes when a fine pass from George Harwood found Walker nine yards out. Fenny keeper, Tom Pryke made a brilliant double save first from Walker and then from Alex Paget before Giles Basson shot narrowly wide.

At the other end, Beer’s defence were vulnerable to the long ball and were split open on 16 minutes only for Fenny’s left wing to shoot wide from 12 yards.

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Beer took the lead on 31 minutes when live-wire left winger Basson, who had seen little of the ball early on, cut inside his marker and delivered a pass to the far post which Spalding converted from a narrow angle. The ex-Fenny player was enjoying a fine debut against his former team mates.

Beer’s lead last just three minutes when striker Aaron Pearse ghosted in to head the ball over the advancing Elliot Driver after a teasing free kick from the right had deceived Beer’s defence and they failed to pick up Pearse’s run.

One minute after the break Basson’ pass from the by-line created good chance for another Beer debutant, Tom Perry, but Perry’s shot from eight yards out was well saved by Pryke.

The game swung in Feniton’s favour on 47 minutes when Pearse got behind the Beer defence and was brought down by Fraser Beamont in the penalty box. Pearse converted the spot-kick to put his side 2-1 ahead.

The away side looked in control at this point and, but for a couple of good Elliot Driver saves and a George Harwood block, they would have increased their lead.

On 73 minutes, Feniton’s Tom Badcott was sin-binned for persistently arguing with the referee, which encouraged Beer to push on for a final assault.

After a couple of close efforts from Chris Long and Walker, the Fishermen were awarded a penalty on 91 minutes when Basson was brought down. But Walker’s spot-kick sailed over the bar and Feniton held out to take the three points.

For Beer, Louis Spalding had a fine debut and midfielder Finley Rooke was outstanding but Spud Parkes on behalf of match sponsor Alyson Arbourne gave man-of-the-match to Feniton’s 2-goal striker, Aaron Pearse.

On a brighter note, Beer Albion 2nd’s started their Premier Division One East campaign with a comfortable 3-1 win away at Honiton 2nd’s. Max Richardson, Brooke Wilkins and Josh Lund were the Beer scorers.

Tomorrow (Saturday), Beer first team are without a game while the second team entertain East Budleigh at the Furzebrake. Kick-off is at 3 pm and the match sponsor is Pecorama.

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