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Beer Albion 1st’s 4-1 Barnstaple Town 2nd’s

Despite being reduced to 10 men after only 15 minutes, Beer Albion 1st’s completed the double over Barnstaple 2nds with a 4-1 victory at the Furzebrake on Saturday writes Richard Honnor. It was a scintillating display from the Fishermen and it takes them to the top of the table with their 100% record for the season still intact.

The match started at a furious pace with both sides going close to scoring within the first minute and the 70-strong home crowd did not have to wait long for Beer’s opener. It came on 10 minutes with a pass from Josh French in midfield to Brooklyn Wilkins who hit a great long pass out to Tony Pinder wide right. Pinder cut inside his man and squared to Wilkins in the box and the midfielder executed the perfect finish wide of the keeper.

But 4 minutes later Wilkins’s match was over when he received a red card. The referee adjudged, harshly it must be said, that Wilkins had brought down a Barnstaple forward and that he was the “last man”. Everyone who actually saw the tackle thought that Wilkins had won the ball cleanly.

To their great credit, Beer’s response was perfect, going 2-0 ahead on 19 minutes. Charlie Ledger’s long ball down the middle caught the Barnstaple defence napping and French slotted the ball coolly past the advancing keeper from 18 yards.

The Fishermen continued to drive forward and moments later French went close again when his goalbound effort was tipped around the post. But Barnstaple reduced the arrears on 24 minutes in somewhat controversial circumstances when a Beer clearance from a corner was blocked by a Barnstaple hand 20 yards from goal. Play was allowed to continue and their midfielder scored with a well-placed shot from 18 yards.

Again 10-man Beer put the setback behind them and took the game to their opponents. Their defensive shape was good with George Harwood having a solid game and Alex Paget winning aerial challenges and disrupting Barnstaple’s attacking opportunities in midfield.

After the interval, the Fishermen applied relentless pressure on the Barnstaple defence. Liam Cox was switched from central defence to right midfield and his energy, pressing and strong running pegged the visitors back in their own half.

Indeed Beer’s 3rd goal was created by Cox’s persistence on 47 minutes when he forced his way to the byline and pulled the ball back to French who notched his 2nd at the far post.

Beer did have a lucky let-off on 57 minutes when they were caught down the left wing and from the resulting left wing cross Driver made two excellent saves at close range to preserve his side’s 2-goal cushion. But the result was put beyond doubt on 61 minutes when Pinder fired home an unstoppable penalty after Finley Rooke was brought down just inside the box following a Beer corner.

This was another excellent team effort peppered with fine individual performances across the piece. Matchday sponsor Norman Lambert picked out midfielder Alex Paget as man-of-the match.

Both Beer sides are involved in tough cup ties away from home next Saturday so there is no match at the Furzebrake. Cupholders Beer 1st’s travel to University of Exeter 1st’s for a 3rd Round Devon Premier Cup tie whilst Beer 2nd’s have a 3rd Round Devon Senior Cup tie at Plympton Athletic 2nds. Both matches start at 2pm.

Devon and Exeter League Division 1

East Budleigh 6-0 Beer 2nd’s

Beer Albion 2nd’s took an unexpected tumble on Saturday when they were defeated 6-0 at East Budleigh.

Remarkably the Fishermen had an even share of the play but were ruthlessly punished by the home side for some basic individual errors.

Errors apart, Manager Jamie Bond was disappointed at the uncharacteristic lack of sharpness and the number of 1st and 2nd balls his side conceded. He trusts that they will quickly resume the kind of disciplined, hard-working team performances that they have demonstrated previously this season.

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