win some lose some
In what is turning into a frustrating season, Beer Albion had another “bad day at the office” going down 3-1 at Heavitree in this Macron Premier Division fixture writes Richard Honnor. There might have been a much better outcome if the Fishermen had converted a couple of good chances in a bright start to the game but the current lack of confidence is no more apparent than in front of goal. With Manager Richard Walker sidelined with injury, the Fishermen lack a cutting edge up front. The club would appear to have a possible ready-made solution to this problem in their promising reserve team player Taylor Rooke who has scored 19 goals this season but the young striker has only been given two starts for the 1st’s.
Playing against the wind, Beer made a promising start and should have capitalised on 17 minutes when Alex Hunt was put through after a neat interchange of passes but he shot weakly at the keeper from 8 yards. Hunt and Pedro Fontes had further opportunities to get in shots from good positions inside the penalty area but instead they over-elaborated, enabling Heavitree’s defence was easily able to clear the danger.
The price for missing these opportunities was paid on 22 minutes when the Beer defence who have been vulnerable to set pieces this season failed to fully clear a wicked inswinging corner. The ball fell to a Heavies midfielder just inside the penalty area box and he was allowed time and space to take a touch and score with a well-placed shot wide of Beer glovesman Elliot Driver’s right hand.
Beer had a shout for a penalty turned down on 29 minutes when Fontes seemed to be sent flying, well inside the box as he broke past the Heavitree defence. Three minutes later, Heavitree went two up after the Fishemen’s defence was caught ball-watching. A long pass down the left channel found the Heavies front man who had made a run unnoticed across Beer’s back line. The striker cut the ball across to his unmarked colleague at the far post who had the simple task of converting from close range.
Two minutes after the break, the Fishermen were back in the contest when Chris Long latched onto a Heavitree defensive error and scored from close range. With the advantage of the wind and the slope, Beer pressed hard for an equaliser but were restricted to shooting opportunities outside the box which were all off target except for a fierce 30-yarder from Alex Hunt which the Heavies keeper saved well.
It seemed only a matter of time before Beer would equalise, but then they suffered a cruel blow on 66 minutes when wing-back George Harwood was forced to retire injured after a bad late challenge. The Fishermen were still trying to reorganise their back line when they were caught in possession on 69 minutes and punished with a good strike from 18 yards out giving the home side a 3-1 advantage.
The Fishermen responded well and were denied a “nailed-on” penalty when midfielder Ollie Padget was flattened 5 yards inside the penalty area after challenging for a high ball. Inexplicably referee Mitchell Brooks adjudged the foul outside the area after initially pointing to the spot! Chris Long’s powerful free kick was blocked by the the Heavies defensive wall and cleared to safety.
Duly disappointed by this injustice, Beer players became frustrated and skipper Joe Adkin found himself sin-binned for dissent. When the punishment appeared to overrun by 3 minutes, Beer midfielder Pedro Fontes asked the referee when he intended to allow Adkin to return the field. The referee responded bizarrely by sinbinning Fontes for his enquiry and then allowing Adkin to return for the final few minutes of added time.
Despite a frustrating afternoon, there were a couple of positives for Beer. Wing-back Jack Harwood had a fine match as did centre-back Dan Jeeves who was drafted in from the Reserves because of injuries. Midfielder Ollie Padget also worked hard for his team.
Next week Beer 1st’s travel to Witheridge hoping for a reversal of their home defeat by their opponents in February.
In Division 3, Beer 2nd’s produced yet another fine home performance to beat 2nd placed East Budleigh 1-0 on Saturday. Taylor Rooke was the scorer. This coming Saturday 23rd March, Beer 2nd’s entertain Budleigh Salterton 2nd’s in a league encounter, and then on Sunday they have a very tough Seaton Challenge cup tie away at Kentisbeare.