Beer Albion’s poor run of form continued with a comprehensive defeat last Saturday at the hands of Witheridge, going down 4-0 in this Macron Devon and Exeter League Premier Division fixture writes Richard Honnor
Due to injuries and unavailability, Beer’s starting line up had a makeshift look about it. Three of the back four were drafted in at short notice from the Fishermen’s Reserves and and the fourth was keeper Elliot Driver who started at left back. Driver had swapped roles with George Harwood who was apparently not fully fit to play outfield, so Harwood started in goal.
This plan backfired immediately as Driver found himself up against Withy’s best player Billy Greene. Within 20 minutes Greene had scored twice, first on 18 minutes when his speculative shot slipped through Harwood’s fingers after a mazy run. Then on 21 minutes, Greene put his side 2-0 ahead when he finished off a delightful passing move which cut Beer’s defence to ribbons.
At this point, Driver took back the goalkeeper’s jersey and Harwood slotted in at his customary wing back role which immediately provided Beer with some stability and resilience.
Beer’s lone threat up front came from striker Chris Long who had a good game. Long had tested Withy keeper early on from 30 yards and he went desperately close with a header on 38 minutes from George Harwood’s free kick. But the home side continued to dominate and they went 3-0 up on 45 minutes when the Fishermen failed to clear their lines from a corner and midfielder Alex Ansell, given plenty of space, swept the ball past Driver from close range
With the second half just 9 minutes old, Withy rather fortunately went into an unassailable 4-0 lead. After a goalmouth scramble an attempted clearance hit Ansell and rebounded into the net.
To their credit Beer never gave up and with Alex Hunt and Jack Harwood “working their socks off” in midfield, they competed well for the remainder of the contest. Also, the reserves who had stepped into the firing line at the back, namely Jamie Walker, Liam Cox and Dan Jeeves all acquitted themselves competently after that disastrous start.
After assuming his normal position between the sticks, Elliott Driver made a series of outstanding saves in the second half to keep the score at 4-0. If only he had started in goal, this game might have had a different outcome!
Next Saturday, Beer’s 1st’s travel to league leaders Exwick Villa whilst Beer 2nds who trounced Budleigh Salterton 2nd’s 5-0 last Saturday, are at home against Exeter outfit Winchester in a Division 3 contest. Kick off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm and match sponsor is Morgan Heating Services.