Despite producing their best performance of the season so far, Beer Albion came up short against joint table-toppers Newtown losing
2-0 in this Devon and Exeter Premiership contest at the windswept and rainsoaked Furzebrake on Saturday writes Richard Honnor. The Fishermen competed well throughout the 90 minutes but lacked the cutting edge up front and barely threatened the Newtown goal. By contrast, Newtown’s pacey front line always looked capable of getting behind Beer’s rearguard and the margin of victory would have been greater but for two valiant goal line clearances and a good performance from young Beer keeper Elliot Driver. Nonetheless, after a lack-lustre start to the season, the Fishermen should be heartened by a much improved performance against such strong opposition.
Newtown made a fast start creating two early headed opportunities. Their pace was causing problems and resulted in an 14th minute booking for Beer centre back Joe Adkin after two mistimed tackles. After wing-back George Harwood went close for the Fishermen with a curling 20 yard effort, Newtown took the lead on 19 minutes. A long ball through the middle caught Beer’s defence napping and striker Corey O’Donaghue nipped in to slot home a clinical finish across the advancing Driver into the corner of the net.
To their credit, the Fishermen responded well and the midfield trio of Simon Smith, John Cooper and Theo Hill worked really hard to close down their opponents and set up attacking opportunities. It was Hill who almost put Beer on level terms when his shot from 10 yards hit the post on 24 minutes. Generally however Beer’s front men got little change out of a solid Newtown back line and they were reduced to speculative attempts on goal from outside the penalty box. Even when Beer put together a sparkling 10-pass move on 35 minutes, the resulting shot on goal from Chris Long was from 20 yards out and did not trouble the keeper.
After the break, Beer continued to strive hard for an equaliser. Midfielder John Cooper shot narrowly wide on 52 minutes from 20 yards after a sweeping move engineered by the industrious Smith. The Fishermen continued to press forward but conceded a sloppy 2nd goal on 60 minutes when a deflected cross from the right looped high in the air to the far post where Dale O’Donaghue squeezed in a header at the far post which somehow got past two Beer defenders and keeper.
Newtown were now on top and danger man Corey O’Donaghue was foiled twice within a minute first by a goal line clearance on 65 minutes and then by keeper Driver who made a good save at close range. Fishermen’s striker Richard Walker created a great chance for himself on 72 minutes but shot straight at the keeper from 18 yards but that proved to be Beer last attempt at salvaging something from the game.
Sponsor Bessie Mai’s of Beer awarded Man-of-the-match to Newtown’s Corey O’Donahue. Referee Paul Davies also had a fine match.
Next up for Beer 1st’s is a Premier Division fixture away at Clyst Valley 1st’s this coming Saturday. Meanwhile, in Division 3 Beer Reserves, who notched a fine 2-1 win at Tedburn St Mary last weekend, entertain Clyst Valley’s 2nd string at the Furzebrake. Kick-off is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Marine House at Beer