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Match Report - Beer Albion 1st’s 2-1 North Molton

In front of a 120-strong home crowd, Beer Albion 1st’s extended their lead to 10 points in the DFL NE Division with a superb 2-1 victory over North Molton Sports Club writes Richard Honnor. After the Fishermen’s two narrow successes against the Stags in the Devon Premier Cup, this was the first ever meeting between the sides in a league competition. Once again the Fishermen came out on top by the closest of margins.

The match was highly competitive with contrasting styles of play on show. North Molton have strong running pacey forwards and their long ball game plays to those strengths. Beer prefer to work openings through their creative midfield, well supported by a tight defensive unit.

The first 10 minutes of the match were jam-packed with incident and indeed all the goals came in that period. The Stags struck first going 1-0 up with just 3 minutes gone. The Fishermen tried to play their way out of a tight corner and got punished for losing possession. North Molton’s no. 9 switched the ball quickly into the penalty box where a defensive slip allowed the Stags no 10 to round keeper Elliot Driver and score from close range.

Beer launched a fierce response. First, Finley Rooke’s goalbound header was desperately cleared and then Giles Basson’s cross-cum-lob hit the base of the post with the Stags keeper watching on helplessly. But North Molton’s luck ran out on 7 minutes when Taylor Rooke scored with a spectacular 12-yard volley from a deep Jake Rowe corner.

Centre Forward Rooke was proving a real handful for the visitors with his hold up play, bringing fellow forwards Tony Pinder and Basson into the game with lay-offs and flick-ons. He was also getting on the end of attacking moves and scored a another fine goal after 9 minutes to give Beer a 2-1 lead. Basson provided the assist with a through ball and Rooke took a few strides towards goal and finished the move in style with a well-place strike into the left corner.

From thereon, play was end-to-end but the Fishermen were creating the better chances and Pinder was unlucky when his rasping drive hit the side-netting.

Beer were often at full stretch down both flanks but their defence worked hard for each other to keep the visitors at bay. Liam Cox was particularly impressive at the heart of the defence covering his full backs when they were under pressure. The back unit was so strong that keeper Elliot Driver was seldom tested.

After the break, North Molton had more of the possession. Beer continued to defend well but found it increasingly difficult under pressure get their passing going. There were a couple of close calls, first when North Molton’s no.9 was put through by no. 10 and soon afterwards a goalbound shot was blocked after a desperate scramble in the penalty box.

Manager Mark Rooke Rooke was able to replace some tiring legs with astute second half substitutions and as the game wore on Beer once again began to create a few good openings. Finley Rooke who was outstanding in midfield was unlucky not to join brother Taylor on the score sheet on 72 minutes when his 30 yard free kick thudded against the inside of the right hand post. One minute later Jack de Winton’s volley from 12 yards forced a fine save out of the North Molton keeper. Then Taylor Rooke missed a great opportunity to complete his hat-trick when he sliced wide from 6 yards out after Alex Paget’s header across goal had set up the chance.

Thereafter, the Fishermen held out comfortably for a well-earned three points.

In a fine all round team performance, match-day sponsor Jimmy Green Marine awarded two-goal Taylor Rooke with man-of-match. The performances of Finley Rooke and defender Liam Cox were.not far behind.

Full collection of Beer Albion pics from Saturday’s game now available to view here

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