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Beer Albion 1st’s 2-1 Newtown 1st’s

In their final game of 2022, Devon Football League N&E leaders Beer Albion preserved their unbeaten record this season with a narrow 2-1 victory against 2nd placed Newtown writes Richard Honnor.

The Fishermen have won all their 13 matches this season this season of which 9 have been league fixtures. They now sit 7 points clear at the top of DFL NE but have some extremely tough challenges in the New Year including 2 league matches and a Devon Premier Cup tie against fellow unbeaten rivals North Molton.

Beer made a fine start to this game stretching the Newtown defence with some pacy, quick-passing football. A sweeping move saw Tony Pinder go close on 6 minutes, and 2 minutes later the Fishermen were 1-0 in front following another slick attack. Finley Rooke hit a raking cross-field pass to Cody Bowditch who had got well forward on the left. The wing back delivered the perfect cross to the far post and centre forward Josh French rose high above his marker to head home a fine goal.

At this stage, Jacob Rowe and Finley Rooke were dictating the midfield and the visitors were on the rack.But a couple of moments of casual defending encouraged Newtown and they started to get forward down both flanks with testing crosses into the box. But these were dealt with well by the Fishermen’s central defensive pairing, Liam Cox and Charlie Ledger.

It was 27 minutes before Newtown managed to get a shot on target but, as the first half wore on, Beer became over-elaborate with their passing and flick-ons thus giving the ball away too easily. The visitors were now competing well in midfield and it was a much closer contest now.

After the break, the game continued to be evenly balanced. Rooke miscued an early chance from 7 yards out after George Harwood’s long throw had been flicked on first by Alex Paget and then by French. Newtown responded with a header over the Beer bar from a free kick.

Beer survived a lucky escape after casual defensive play left Elliot Driver stranded way out of his goal but the keeper recovered sufficiently to a deflect the ball behind for a corner. Then Bowditch who had been splendid throughout made a couple.of timely interceptions as the visitors pressed forward.

Eventually Newtown equalised on 73 minutes with a looping header from a corner which sailed tantalisingly over the heads of the Beer defenders.

Not for the first time this season the Fishermen finished the game more strongly than their opponents and snatched the win with a dramatic 81st minute penalty after Giles Basson had been caught by a late challenge as he swivelled to shoot. The Newtown keeper got a strong hand to Tony Pinder’s spot kick but was unable to prevent the ball crossing the line.

Beer midfielder Jacob Rowe was awarded man-of-the match for his skills and ingenuity in midfield, by match sponsors Beer Coastguard Rescue Team. For Newtown, their midfielder Fred Kingdom had a fine match.

New Year at the Furzebrake kicks off on 7th January when Beer 2nds are at home to Winkleigh 1st’s in Devon and Exeter Division 1. Kick off is at 2:15pm and the match sponsors are The Harbour Beer Boys.

Beer 1st’s next match is also on 7th January, away at Thorverton, kick off 2:15pm.

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