Beer Albion 1sts 2-0 Exmouth Town 2nds (abandoned after 85 minutes)
There was late drama at the Furzebrake on Saturday, when referee Mike Cairns abandoned Beer Albion’s Devon and Exeter Premier Division match with Exmouth Town Reserves writes Richard Honnor.With just five minutes remaining, Beer led 2-0 but the visitors, who from the start, vehemently challenged every refereeing decision that went against them, completely lost their discipline. Cairns issued two red cards to Exmouth players and he was then forced to abandon the game when the players who had been red-carded refused to leave the pitch and he was then confronted by the Exmouth manager and his team. It is not clear whether further cards were issued as mayhem ensued. The visitors turned their frustration on the Beer players and supporters with a number of skirmishes breaking out, leaving the referee little choice but to call an early halt to proceedings.
The unpleasant conclusion spoiled what was otherwise a thrilling contest and a fine resolute performance by Beer against strong opposition. The Fishermen remain optimistic that the result will stand as referee Cairns confirmed the following day that his report to the League absolved Beer players from any blame in the incident.
With several regulars missing, Beer were fielding a makeshift side including reserve keeper Henry Bartlett. Exmouth on the other hand were a much stronger outfit than Beer faced earlier in the season having recently acquired a number of players from fellow premier division side, Clyst Valley. With strong winds and heavy rain during the game, conditions were not easy and Bartlett was soon called into action making a couple of fine saves in the first 10 minutes as Exmouth started strongly. The Fishermen looked dangerous on the counter attack and after Simon Smith had volleyed straight at the keeper on 12 minutes, striker Richard Walker latched on to a Smith through ball on 20 minutes to put his side 1-0 ahead. Bartlett again kept his side in front with a good save one minute later. The pressure on Beer was intense as the visitors forced nine corners in the first period, but the whole side worked so hard to keep the lead in tact going into the break. Josh Lund who has not held down a regular place particularly caught the eye with his work rate and along with colleagues Alex Hunt, John Cooper and Theo Hill they provided a formidable barrier in front of their back four.
Exmouth’s frustration was even showing in the first half and the referee issued a couple of yellow cards,a sin-bin, and a number of frank exchanges with the visitor’s Manager.
After the break, the game took on the same pattern as the first half with Beer soaking up the pressure and launching the occasional counter attack. On 57 minutes the Fishermen had a lucky escape when a defensive mix up presented Exmouth with a chance from only two yards out but defender Joe Adkin cleared off his line.
Beer were dealt a blow on 62 minutes when Foster was sin-binned after showing frustration with a refereeing decision. But as the game went into the final quarter, the Fishermen put together two fine attacking moves. Firstly on 78 minutes, Smith headed over a pinpoint cross from Hunt and just minutes later Hill’s fierce goalbound strike was deflected behind. Smith floated the resulting corner to the far post where Joe Adkin timed his run to perfection to head home for a 2-0 lead after which Exmouth’s frustration boiled over.
Fortunately tempers subsided after the game and the visitors complemented their hosts on a spirited performance. Beer Manager Walker praised his players for their best performance of the season thus far. Match sponsors Honnor, Adkin and Graham awarded man-the-Match to Beer’s Josh Lund but essentially it was a wholehearted team performance that secured the win and, hopefully, three much needed points.
Next weekend Beer Albion 1st’s are at home to table-toppers Exwick Villa. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 2:15pm and match sponsor is Chapple Family, Beer Beach.