Beer Albion salvaged a desperately needed league point after scoring a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Upottery in a Macron Devon and Exeter Premier Division game at the Furzebrake on Saturday writes Richard Honnor. In perfect autumn conditions with no wind and a bit of give in the pitch, conditions were ideal for good football but the two sides served up disappointing fare for the spectators in a scrappy, and at times ill-tempered contest. Nonetheless there was plenty of goalmouth action, often caused by sloppy defending, resulting in goalkeepers Elliot Driver for Beer and Jack Trevisick for Upottery having to make some fine stops to keep their sides in the contest.
Typical of this season, Beer started the match slowly and had two lucky escapes on 12 minutes, first when centre back Martin Adkin got a toe end to a low cross from the left to prevent Upottery scoring at the far post and then from the resulting corner when a shot from 18 yards whistled narrowly over the top after the Fishermen failed to get the ball clear. This prompted a response from the Fishermen and busy midfielder Josh Lund went close with a header on 14 minutes after a fine run and cross from Alex Hunt.
As the game progressed it became clear that both sets of defenders found the glare of the low, autumn sun tricky and in the first half it was Upottery who had to cope with this. The first illustration of this came in 17th minute when Beer’s Max Richardson found himself in the clear after a long ball was misjudged by Upottery’s defence. Richardson half-volleyed the ball from 15 yards out as it dropped but Upottery keeper, Trevisick, was well-positioned to make a comfortable save.
Beer were now enjoying their best period of the game. After Tom Vincent narrowly missed the target from 20 yards and Shaun Denslow’s fierce 30 yard volley induced a fine save from Upottery’s keeper, the Fishermen deservedly took the lead on 33 minutes when a George Harwood free-kick delivered from near the half-way line was slid home by Martin Adkin at the far post.
With half-time approaching, Upottery created a couple of opportunities themselves, first a shot from 15 yards was well-handled by gloveman Driver and then another low cross somehow found its way through four Beer defenders but the visitors’ forwards failed to get the finishing touch as the ball sped past the post.
Defensive errors were occurring at both ends and on 43 minutes Upottery’s Trevisick made an excellent save again denying Richardson. Almost immediately after the restart, Beer’s keeper,Driver, matched this when he brilliantly saved a fierce goalbound shot from just 5 yards out.
It was now the Fishermen’s turn to face the bright sun and they looked decidedly vulnerable to the long ball. The visitors were quick to exploit this and the equaliser came on 55 minutes when a testing deep cross from close on the half-way caught Beer’s defence out of position and McCreadie-Taylor ghosted into the box unmarked to plant a header past Driver who had stayed on his line.
On 58 minutes a terrible defensive mix-up presented Upottery striker Jack Knight with a clear chance which luckily for Beer curled narrowly wide. The Fishermen had a good chance themselves two minutes later when full back Shaun Denslow, who was playing with purpose, delivered a fine cross into the box met by Joe Adkin who glanced his header wide.
Trevisick made another fine save for the visitors on 64 minutes parrying Hunt’s low 20-yarder at full stretch and just 2 minutes later his side took a 2-1 lead when Martin Adkin misjudged the bounce of a long ball on halfway and with no cover on, Upottery’s Jack Knight got behind the Beer defence to advance on goal and slide the ball past Driver from 12 yards.
Tempers started to flare after this with an Upottery midfielder receiving a yellow card for committing a cynical foul on Martin Adkin which left the Beer centre back struggling with a leg injury for the rest of the game. Then Beer’s Joe Adkin received his marching orders on 75 minutes after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession.
But the Fishermen composed themselves for a final assault and after substitute Walker saw his lob over the keeper narrowly miss the target, they equalised on 85 minutes. This time Trevisick could only parry Chris Long’s shot and Tom Vincent was first to the ball to force it over the line.
For Beer, Kieron Love played well in midfield, but sponsors Steamers’s Restaurant awarded man of the match to Upottery’s midfield player Daniel Scadden whose passing and overall contribution stood out on the day.
Next week, there is no game scheduled at the Furzebrake. Beer 1st’s are away at Topsham in a league fixture and the Reserves who surprisingly lost 2-0 at bottom club North Tawton on Saturday have no game.