Beer Albion 1st’s were without a game last Saturday so the focus was on the Macron League Division 3 local derby between Beer 2nds and Axmouth United writes Richard Honnor. The spoils were shared 2-apiece in a contest which was feisty at times.
It was as they say in football parlance, “a game of two halves”. Fielding a strong line-up, the Fishermen dominated the first half and went in 2-up at half time. But encouraged by an early goal straight after the break, Axmouth were the better side in the second period and fully deserved the draw.
After conceding a free kick on 4 minutes, Beer had a lucky escape when the resulting free kick from the edge of the box struck the crossbar, leaving glovesman Henry Bartlett static on his line and somewhat relieved. Despite having most of the early possession, the Fishermen’s final ball lacked quality and the visitor’s keeper was hardly tested until the 20th minute when he comfortably saved George Harwood’s 20-yarder.
After a sustained period of pressure, Beer went ahead on 29 minutes. The move was started and finished by striker Taylor Rooke. Rooke beat the visitor’s offside trap and crossed from the right to midfielder Alex Hunt whose effort was well saved at full stretch by Burraston but the Axmouth keeper could not hold the ball and Rooke, following in, hit the target first time from 6 yards.
The Fishermen were now in full flow and scored a splendid 2nd goal on 31 minutes. After breaking up an Axmouth attack, a neat interchange of passes between left back Ryan King and midfielder Billy Long resulted in a great through-ball to Rooke on the left wing. Rooke switched the ball to Hunt breaking down the right and the midfielder cut in from the byline and his cross across goal was met by Rooke again showing a good striker’s predatory instinct by advancing quickly to the danger area after being involved in the build-up.
When Axmouth midfielder Jacob Clode,showing frustration, got sin-binned on 35 minutes it seemed a just question of how many goals Beer would win by, but the brave visitors caught the Fishermen cold straight after the break to pull back to 2-1 on 47 minutes. From Beer’s perspective it was a bad goal defensively, first giving the ball away and then failing to mark beyond the right far post when Axmouth switched the play. The ball was played back first time across the six-yard box and Charlie Clark hit the ball first time at keeper Bartlett who appeared to have the ball covered but let it slip under his body.
Although Rooke had a chance to restore Beer’s two-goal advantage on 52 minutes when he hit the post the post after a free kick wasn’t cleared, the Fishermen were giving the ball away too frequently. When Zak Meaker was gifted such an opportunity from 35 yards out, the Axmouth midfielder hit a spectacular strike into the top corner to put his side on level terms.
The Fishermen’s heads went down noticeably at this point and Axmouth took the fight to the home side. But with Rooke in their side, Beer always looked dangerous and the striker was denied his hat-trick on 62 minutes when he shot narrowly wide after rounding the keeper.
Axmouth continued to frustrate Beer for the final period of the game and both sides lost their composure somewhat resulting in some feisty exchanges and yellow cards being shown. But for all their determination, Axmouth rarely tested Bartlett in the latter stages and both sides had to settle for the draw.
One player that did keep his composure in the Beer side was new signing Fraser Beament who earned Man-of-the-Match from sponsors Clinton Devon Estates for a steady performance. For Axmouth, right back James Sweeney played well.
Next Saturday, Beer 1st’s are back in action at home with. Premier Division game against Exmouth Town Reserves. After a poor start Exmouth’s results have improved markedly so this will be a stern test for the Fishermen. Kick-off is at 2:15 and the match co-sponsors are David Graham, Peter Adkin and Richard Honnor. Beer Albion Reserves have a mid-table Division 3 clash away at Newton St Cyres.