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  • Richard Honnor

No points from league leaders

Despite a much-improved performance, Beer Albion’s poor run continued when they went down 3-1 away at League leaders Exwick Villa on Saturday writes Richard Honnor. Due to unavailability, suspensions and injuries, the Fishermen showed six changes from last weekend and it is concerning that certain players either will not make themselves regularly available for the 1st team or do not seem to be considered for selection. It is little wonder that the Fishermen cannot find the consistency that they showed for much of last season.

That said, the players selected on Saturday gave a good account of themselves, competing well and frustrating their talented opponents for much of the contest.

Beer almost took the lead on 4 minutes when a 35-yard strike from Chris Long almost caught the Exwick keeper off his line. Fortunately for the home side, Long’s effort sailed narrowly over the crossbar. Exwick responded on 10 minutes when their left midfielder got behind Beer’s defence and latched on to a through ball but his effort was well saved by keeper Mark Rooke. The veteran keeper who was forced to play due to neither of Beer’s regular glovesmen making themselves available for 1st team selection had a fine match and his positive influence on the players in front of him was there for all to see.

When Exwick took the lead on 20 minutes it was almost a carbon copy of their move 10 minutes earlier but this time this time their left midfielder made no mistake beating the advancing Rooke with a well-placed finish. The Fishermen bravely took the game to their opponents and midfielder Ollie Padget was a whisker away from getting on the end of a Chris Long cross before Alex Hunt headed Padget’s in-swinging corner narrowly wide on 37 minutes.

The home side almost went two up on 41 minutes when their central striker’s goalbound effort was deflected behind for a corner but Beer countered one minute before the break when Fontes shot narrowly over the bar from 20 yards.

After the interval, Exwick started to pile on the pressure, forcing four corners in quick succession. The Fishermen desperately defended three of these corners, but they succumbed to the fourth one on 57 minutes when a header hit the post and the rebound was forced in from close range to put Exwick two goals in front.

Again Beer responded bravely when on 59 minutes Long cleverly held off a challenge and set Padget up with a shooting opportunity but Padget’s attempt was well blocked by the Exwick centre back. But two minutes later the Fishermen were back in the contest when the Exwick keeper failed to deal with George Harwood’s corner to the far post and the hard-working Padget headed the ball over the line from close range.

Beer’s elation was short-lived when Exwick restored their two goal advantage on 64 minutes. Again the goal came from a corner, this time a near-post flick. From thereon, it was a case of containment as the home side dominated possession with some fluid football, but they failed to add to their tally thanks to some determined defending and a couple of fine saves from Rooke.

Shaun Denslow and Josh Moughton performed valiantly at the centre of Beer’s defence and veteran midfielder John Cooper was at his combative best. But the whole side can take credit for a gutsy performance.

Next Saturday, Beer 1st’s will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they are at home to Topsham Town. Kick off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm.

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