Beer Albion secured three welcome points last Saturday defeating Okehampton Argyle 2-1 away at Simmonds Park in a Devon and Exeter Premier Division contest writes Richard Honnor. After a disappointing result against local rivals Seaton the previous week, it was important for the Fishermen to bounce back and at least they will be pleased to have chalked up a win. However they were pushed all the way by bottom-of-the-table Okehampton who will count themselves unlucky not to have got something out of this game. Only through some resolute defending and a slice of luck did the Fishermen manage to hold out for the victory.
After another sluggish start, Beer went behind on 5 minutes. Keeper Elliot Driver made a good save to foil an attempt by the Okes left winger but the ball broke loose to the home side’s central striker who was allowed to take a couple of touches before picking his spot from eight yards out.
Beer had comfortably beaten Okehampton 7-0 at the Furzebrake three weeks previously, but the Okes fielding a stronger side were a different proposition at home with their creative midfield making optimal use of the big pitch to put the Fishermen at full stretch for long periods of the game. The home side could have added a further couple of goals in the first 25 minutes. On 20 minutes Driver made a good save with his feet after a neat one-two had put Okes winger in the clear. One minute later the same player blasted high over the bar after again finding himself one-on-one with the Beer keeper.
After half an hour the Fishermen finally got into the game and for 15 minutes either side of half time they played good football with wing back George Harwood and strong running midfielder Alex Hunt linking up well to get some joy down the right wing. This led to a goalbound shot by Simon Smith on 28 minutes which took a deflection for a corner. Then on 35 minutes Beer equalised when Taylor Rooke was presented with the ball after a mix-up in the Okehampton midfield. Rooke cleverly slid a pass through to Richard Walker who poked the ball first time past the advancing Okies keeper to level the scores.
Beer started the second half in a more attacking vein and were rewarded with a goal on 52 minutes. A Harwood free kick from the right was only partially headed clear and Alex Hunt pounced on the loose ball to volley home left-footed from close range to put the visitors
Okehampton responded immediately and were denied an equaliser on 54 minutes when Driver made an excellent reflex save from a fierce shot by the home centre forward after Beer’s defence was caught napping. Encouraged by this, Okehampton began to push the Fishermen deep. Player-manager Walker brought on substitute Shaun Denslow as a third centre back to bolster up his hard pressed back line, but with the Beer defence continuing to lie deep and the wing backs unable to get forward, Okehampton overran Beer’s 3-men midfield.
But to their credit the Beer defence soaked up the pressure and held on for the three points although they had a lucky escape on 85 minutes when a deflected shot from 12 yards out went inches wide with Beer keeper Driver stranded on his line.
For Beer, keeper Driver had a good match and left back Josh Moughton showed good defensive composure. Centre backs Kieron Love and Joe Adkin battled hard although Adkin picked up a yellow card for a foul on 75 minutes. Two Okehampton players were also booked for retaliation in the ensuing melee.
Next week, the Fishermen’s 1st X1 have no game but Beer 2nds have a local derby when they entertain Axmouth United in Devon and Exeter League Division 3. Kick off at the Furzebrake is at 2:15pm and the match sponsor is Clinton Devon Estates.