• Richard Honnor

Beer Albion 3-5 Chagford

Macron Devon and Exeter League

Beer Albion 3-5 Chagford

Beer Albion (main sponsor Edenvale Turf (SW) Ltd) lost for only the 2nd time this season, going down 5-3 at home to Chagford in this Macron Devon and Exeter Premier Division contest writes Richard Honnor. In the first half, the Fishermen were brushed aside by their more-experienced, physically stronger opponents but they made a valiant attempt after the break to salvage a point and may well have done so but for a fine display by Chagford goalkeeper Dan Law.

Chagford skipper Jake Rowe had a field day netting four of his team’s five goals capitalising on some naive defending from the home side.

Beer started brightly enough and took the lead on 7 minutes when keeper Law made his only mistake of the game, failing to get a clean punch on Giles Basson’s corner. Taylor Rooke was on hand to slot the ball home at the far post.

But Beer’s celebration was short-lived when just one minute later they failed to deal with a quick break down the left. The resulting cross was pulled back into the six yard box and Beer wing back George Harwood put the ball into his own net in his attempt to clear under pressure from Chagford’s Ben Barkwill.

As the half wore on the visitors took command. Beer’s midfield was allowed little room to get their passing game going and Chagford’s talented front line were proving a real handful for the Fishermen’s defence.

At times, the Fishermen showed their inexperience by trying to play football in the wrong areas and they were punished for it on 18 minutes. The ball was given away just outside the penalty area and Chagford skipper Jake Rowe skilfully beat one player and coolly slotted home past keeper Driver to put his side 2-1 up.

Beer midfielder Finley Rooke almost squared things up a minute later when, spotting the Chagford keeper off his line, his 40-yarder drifted narrowly wide.

But Chagford continued to dominate and went 3-1 ahead on 32 minutes when Rowe scored from close range after a fine passing move left the Fishermen exposed down the right flank and they were punished by another incisive cross into the box.

The visitors appeared to have the game wrapped up on 37 minutes when midfielder Charley Skilton underhit a square ball across the edge of his 18-yard box and Rowe intercepted to complete his hat-trick and put Chagford 4-1 ahead.

But the Fishermen kept themselves afloat when striker Chris Long pulled a goal back on 43 minutes. For the first time in the game, Beer showed purpose in their attacking play and after good work by Basson and Skilton, Long finished the move with a powerful strike into the top corner from 15 yards.

In what was turning out to be an end-to-end thriller, on the stroke of half-time Beer keeper Driver made an excellent finger-tip save on to the post when a goal seemed certain after another swift Chagford attack had split the Beer defence wide open.

Manager Rooke’s half-time team talk must have had some effect as Beer looked sharper and more determined after the interval. Substitute Jay Catley provided more threat down the right hand side taking a leaf out of Chagford’s book to deliver early crosses into the danger zone. Similarly the introduction of big centre back Fraser Beaumont bolstered the Beer defence as Chagford at last began to tire.

On 63 minutes Chris Long went close when his looping effort was deflected over the crossbar. 11 minutes later, the Fishermen pulled the score back to 4-3 when Taylor Rooke hammered home his second goal from close range after Long turned his marker and created the chance.

Beer threw everything at Chagford in their attempt to get the equaliser and after a couple of near misses, keeper Law made a brilliant save when Taylor Rooke seemed certain to score from 7 yards out.

But as the Fishermen drove forward for the equaliser, they were caught on the break in added-on time when Rowe again finished clinically to score his 4th goal and put the game beyond Beer’s reach.

Julian Rinaldi on behalf of match sponsor Practical Car & Van Rental at Musbury Garage picked out Giles Basson and Taylor Rooke as Beer’s best players but selected Chagford’s 4-goal hero Rowe as man-of-the-match.

Next Saturday, Beer 1st’s face another tough Premier Division challenge when they entertain unbeaten Lapford. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Fred Hansford Ltd.

Meanwhile Beer 2nds who had a fine 5-1 win at Alphington 3rds last Saturday travel to Exeter for a 2nd Division match against University 4ths.

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