Poor availability hitting Beer’s Macron League top flight hopes

Honiton Town at home to Bow AAC. Ref mhsp 07 19TI 9711. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton Town at home to Bow AAC. Ref mhsp 07 19TI 9711. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Despite a much-improved performance, Beer Albion’s poor run continued when they went down 3-1 away at Macron League top flight leaders Exwick Villa, writes Richard Honnor.

Due to unavailability, suspensions and injuries, the Fishermen showed six changes from their previous outing and it is concerning that certain players either will not make themselves regularly available for the first team or do not seem to be considered for selection.

It is little wonder that the Fishermen cannot find the consistency that they showed for much of last season.

That said, the players selected on Saturday gave a good account of themselves, competing well and frustrating their talented opponents for much of the contest.

Chris Long hit a sweet strike from 35 yards that so nearly gave the Fishermen a fourth minute lead; the ball sailing narrowly over the crossbar.

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Exwick responded and it needed a smart save by Mark Rooke, the veteran keeper being forced into action as neither of Beer’s regular glovesmen had made themselves available for first team selection. Rooke went on to have a fine match and his positive influence on the players in front of him was there for all to see.

Exwick took the lead in the 20th minute when a powerful shot gave Rooke no chance. Beer hit back and midfielder Ollie Padget was a whisker away from getting on the end of a Chris Long cross before Alex Hunt headed Padget’s in-swinging corner narrowly wide on 37 minutes.

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After the interval, Exwick started to pile on the pressure, forcing four corners in quick succession and, as desperately as Beer defended they succumbed to the fourth one on 57 minutes when a header hit the post and the rebound was forced in from close range.

Again Beer responded bravely and, just before the hour mark, Padget had a shot well blocked by the Exwick centre back.

Two minutes later the Fishermen were back in the contest when the Exwick keeper failed to deal with George Harwood’s corner and the hard-working Padget headed the ball home.

However, the Beer elation was short-lived when Exwick restored their two goal advantage on 64 minutes. Again the goal came from a corner, this time a near-post flick. From thereon, it was a case of containment as the home side dominated possession with some fluid football, but they failed to add to their tally thanks to some determined defending and a couple of fine saves from Rooke.

Shaun Denslow and Josh Moughton performed valiantly at the centre of Beer’s defence and veteran midfielder John Cooper was at his combative best. But the whole side can take credit for a gutsy performance.

On Saturday (April 6), Beer first team will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they entertain Topsham Town (3pm).

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