Beer Albion suffered an unexpected defeat in this Macron Devon and Exeter Premier Division match going down 3-1 at home to Clyst Valley on Saturday writes Richard Honnor. After the euphoria of beating title chasers Colyton at the end of January, The Fishermen’s results have been disappointing, failing to win against sides which they were expected to beat. Clyst Valley had previously lost their last seven games in a row!
In fairness, the Fishermen’s cause was not helped when they had to reorganise their line-up twice after they suffered cruel injury blows. First on 26 minutes when centre back Kieron Love was stretchered off and taken by ambulance to hospital after dislocating his kneecap after a hard 50-50 tackle. Then late in the game, co-defender Josh Moughton had to be helped off with ankle damage.
But the real concern currently is their inability to unlock opposing defences and created good goal scoring opportunities. The Fishermen had plenty of possession and played some good football at times but Clyst Valley defended well in numbers restricting the home side to speculative attempts at goal from distance. The Fishermen were rarely able to get behind the visitor’s back line.
Until Love’s injury on 26 minutes, the proceedings were uneventful. But with the introduction of substitute Pedro Fontes Beer looked livelier. The right-sided midfielder made a couple of surging runs creating opportunities first for Chris Long and then for Ollie Padget but both efforts from distance failed to trouble the keeper.
The Fishermen went behind on 43 minutes when they were punished by a quick counter down the left flank when an attack broke down through a careless pass. The ball was crossed into the box resulting in Clyst Valley’s central striker being brought down by advancing Beer keeper Elliot Driver. Alex Gibbins converted the spot kick for the visitors.
One minute later, Beer’s Simon Smith created a chance for himself when he dispossessed Valley’s left full back, but Smith’s shot was hurried and wayward. But Clyst went 2-0 up in the 3rd minute of added time, when Cody Cox converted from close range after another swift counterattack down the left. The Fishermen had a chance to reduce the arrears just before the half-time whistle but Simon Smith’s free kick was well save by Valley’s keeper.
After the break, Beer had their best spell of the game as they sought to reduce the arrears. Midfielder Ollie Padget was prominent in most of the attacking play but the Fishermen were rarely able to get the final ball behind the compact Clyst Valley defence. The best chance fell striker Long who hooked his shot inches wide from close range after Padget’s left wing cross into the danger area. Long again went close a minute later with a shot from 25 yards and then Josh Lund found space in the box only to head Padget’s pinpoint cross straight at the keeper.
Frustration crept into the Fishermen’s game and they were punished on 70 minutes when Josh Gresham made it 3-0 for the visitors with a well-struck albeit deflected free-kick awarded after a Joe Adkin’s late tackle on the edge of the box. Chris Long did score a late consolation goal for Beer on 92 minutes with a perfectly place free kick from 25 yards out but it was all too late by then.
On a more positive note, Beer's Ollie Padget and Pedro Fontes performed well but sponsor Beer Boats awarded man-the-match to Clyst Valley midfielder Marko Macintosh.
The Fishermen’s 1st team have a tough run-in as the league programme enters its final stages starting with a trip to Heavitree next Saturday.
Meanwhile in Division 3, Beer 2nd’s entertain East Budleigh. The Fishermen’s Reserves will be seeking revenge after a narrow 3-2 defeat at 2nd-placed East Budleigh last Saturday. Kick-off is at 3pm and the match sponsor is the Anchor Inn, Beer.