At long last Beer Albion’s season ignited at the Furzebrake on Saturday with a convincing and much-needed win against fellow Macron Premier strugglers Okehampton Town writes Richard Honnor.
The strong gusty wind blowing straight down the pitch made for difficult playing conditions. Okies had the advantage of these conditions in the first half and they will be regretting several missed chances early on. Had the visitors capitalised on their early dominance, the final outcome could well have been different.
As early as the 3rd minute, Beer centre back Andrew Foster was forced to clear off his own line following a succession of corners. Then on 17 minutes after an incisive break down the right, Okehampton wide player Harry Tickner missed a great chance when he spooned the ball over the bar from 6 yards with the goal at his mercy. Beer’s Elliot Driver was the busier of the two glovemen as the Fishermen were penned in their own half but the young keeper showed good composure handling a couple of tricky high crosses assuredly. Centre back Joe Adkin was also in good form early on, tightly marking Okies forward Reece Foster who posed a threat throughout.
Against the run of play, Beer took the lead on 28 minutes after hard-working midfielder Theo Hill was unnecessarily hacked down. Simon Smith delivered a free kick into the box and Joe Adkin’s header found its way into the net through a ruck of players. An Okie defender might have had the final touch but Adkin was credited with the goal.
But Okies continued to press forward and the Fishermen were caught out on 35 minutes when right winger Josh Tickner got behind the defence only to see his well struck-shot somewhat luckily lodge in keeper Driver’s feet as the Beer keeper advanced to narrow the angle.
After he was booked for a late challenge on the Okies keeper, defender Joe Adkin made amends on the stroke of half time scoring his 2nd goal of the game to put the Fishermen two-up. After Hill was again fouled, a Smith free kick held up in the wind enabling Adkin to control the ball, turn and place a shot into the left corner of the goal from 10 yards.
For the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period and with the strong wind now at their backs, Beer failed to press home the advantage, inexplicably dropping deep and therefore allowing their opponents time and space to come at them. The Fishermen nearly paid the price for this strategy after failing to clear a corner. Driver scrambled a looping ball on to his crossbar and it took two defensive blocks in the desperate scramble which followed to prevent the Okies from reducing the arrears.
It took a fine goal from industrious midfielder Smith on 56 minutes to put the Fishermen 3-0 up and steady the ship. Following good work from man of the match Adkin and Chris Long, Smith executed a sweet strike from 12 yards giving the Okies keeper no chance. Three minutes later, the away side found themselves 4 goals down when they conceded a soft goal, an innocuous shot-come-cross from Shaun Denslow found its way into the net.
Okehampton’s resistance now crumbled and they had no answer to the guile and hold-up play of Beer front man Richard Walker who set up Chris Long on 60 minutes to shoot home in-off the post. On 75 minutes, Okies were caught square as Long notched his 2nd goal when he ran on to a long clearance from Driver and shot home to make the score 6-0.
The rout was completed on 75 minutes when substitute Tom Vincent scored Beer’s 7th goal with a well placed strike from 10 yards as the Okies defence was run ragged.
Man-of-the-Match was awarded to Joe Adkin by sponsor Jean Bartlett Cottage Holidays. Beer Manager Walker acknowledged that the season so far had been frustrating primarily because he had not always had his full squad available but he felt that this result would give his team more belief in their ability to win matches and climb up the league table.
Next Saturday Beer 1st’s are without a game. Beer 2nd’s however have Division 3 home fixture with North Tawton. The Fishermen will be seeking revenge for their 2-0 defeat at North Tawton 2 weeks ago. Kick off at the Furzebrake is at 2:15 pm at the Match Sponsor is The Dolphin Hotel, Beer.