East Devon Senior Cup Final Thursday 8th August 2018
Beer Albion made a disappointing start to their competitive season suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Cronies in the East Devon Senior Cup Final held at Budleigh Salterton writes Richard Honnor. The match was held over from last season because of poor weather and time running out to complete all fixtures. After being beaten by Newtown in the 2016/17 final, Exeter-based Cronies thoroughly deserved winning the trophy for the first time in their short history. The Fishermen last appeared in the final in 1954 losing 2-0 on that occasion to Exeter City so their wait for success in this competition continues..
Beer were under pressure from the start conceding three early corners as Cronies piled forward. The opening goal came on 8 minutes after Cronies wing back Matt Webb was fouled after a quick break down the left wing. The Beer defence failed to deal with the free kick and the ball fell to the Cronies midfielder Rian Antat whose miscued shot trickled past keeper Steve Jones’ right hand and into the net. Momentarily the Fishermen got back into the game when on 15 minutes player-manager Richard Walker headed home a Simon Smith corner from close range.
The Fishermen battled bravely for the next 15 minutes but were always struggling to stop the incisive left wing runs of man-of-the match Webb and it was no surprise when Cronies went 2-1 ahead on 27 minutes. It was a poor goal from Beer’s perspective, failing to cut out a scuffed corner which found its way through a ruck of players to Ben Lawrence who made no mistake with a crisp left foot finish finish from 10 yards. Cronies increased their lead on 41 minutes when Beer conceded a penalty after a foul by centre back Ashley Driver. There was a strong suspicion of hand ball by the Cronies forward before Driver brought down his man but that was either not seen or considered accidental by the referee. The resulting spot kick was expertly put away by Danny Pym.
After the break, Beer put in a huge effort to contain Cronies. Ashley Driver at centre back won most of the aerial battles and midfielders Martin Adkin and Simon Smith worked their socks off to try and get some quality possession. Up front Richard Walker used his experience and guile to fashion some clever lay-offs and knock-downs but the Cronies defence were able to mop up most of the second balls.
Cronies pressure was relentless and after a couple of good saves from Steve Jones, Beer conceded a fourth goal on 91 minutes. The goal came after yet another sweeping move down the left wing finishing with Cronies striker Michael Benson cleverly lobbing keeper Jones from 20 yards out