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Beer Albion 1st’s 2-0 Plymstock United 1st’s

Reigning Devon Football League North and East champions Beer Albion 1st’s kicked off their 2023/24 season in the newly combined 18-team DFL with a hard-earned 2-0 home win against Plymstock Utd 1st’s writes Richard Honnor. Match attendance at the Furzebrake was 100.

The Fishermen dominated possession throughout but created few clear cut chances thanks primarily to a resolute defensive performance by the visitors. When Beer did break through they were denied a bigger margin of victory by some fine saves by Plymstock’s keeper. In contrast, Beer keeper Elliot Driver had a quiet afternoon.

In an eventful opening, last-ditch defending prevented Beer scoring with their very first attack and then Jacob Rowe then went close with a 20 yarder. But Plymstock missed a golden opportunity on 7 minutes to go in front when their centre forward, unmarked, headed a right-wing cross straight at Driver from 8 yards out.

Beer were again denied by fine defending on 17 minutes when the visitors outstanding centre back got a toe to a drilled-in free kick from Cody Bowditch to deny Beer striker George Richards. Three minutes later, Aaron Daniels, who looked very sharp on his Beer debut, cut in from the left by-line but hit the side netting with his shot from an acute angle.

The Fishermen’s opening goal came on 22 minutes when Taylor Rooke headed a long clearance on to Richards who in turn found Jacob Rowe running into the box. The Plymstock keeper saved Rowe’s shot well but Taylor Rooke volleyed home the rebound from 12 yards.

Again Plymstock’s striker missed a great opportunity to equalise on 24 minutes when he missed the the target with another header from close range.

Beer were dominating possession with Finley Rooke, Charley Skilton and Rowe combining well in central midfield but they had to be content with a slender 1-0 lead at the break.

After half time, the game began to drift with neither side creating clear cut chances. But manager Mark Rooke injected more urgency into Beer’s play with some positional changes and astute substitutions from a strong bench.

As the game went into the final quarter, The Fishermen started to open up the tiring Plymstock rearguard. The excellent Finley Rooke headed Daniels’ far post corner just wide, then Daniels himself curled a fierce 20 yarder narrowly adrift after a fine move involving Skilton and Taylor Rooke.

Despite the game being played in a good spirit, tempers momentarily flared on 75 minutes after Finley Rooke was fouled and then hauled down again after the resulting free kick was taken quickly. The offending Plymstock midfielder received his marching orders from referee Mills after appearing to head-butt Rooke as the midfielder got to his feet.

It was one-way traffic now and the Fishermen eventually secured a 2-0 lead through the industrious Charley Skilton on 80 minutes. Taylor Rooke went past a defender down the left and picked out Skilton who finish clinically from 13 yards.

Match day sponsors Pecorama picked out Beer skipper Charley Skilton as man-of-the-match. Skilton carries out so much of the unsung work on the field and he is an inspirational figure to his team mates. Finley Rooke also had a fine match. Plymstock’s central defender no. 6 was their outstanding player.

On Tuesday evening Beer 1st’s host Ottery St Mary in the DFL. Kick off is at 6:40 pm and match sponsor is Marine House at Beer.

The Fishermen are also in home action next Saturday against Thorverton. Kick-off is at 3 pm and match sponsor is Chapples Beer Beach.

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