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Beer Albion 1sts 5-2 North Molton 

Devon Premier Cup Semi Final

Beer Albion have once again reached the final of the Devon Premier Cup. After knocking league leaders Exeter University out in the quarters they were given another tough game in the Semi Final in North Molton, but thankfully with home advantage. With only a handful of games in the area due to the weather, a large crowd of 190 at The Furzebrake witnessed a dominating performance from the Fishermen. 

Beer started very quickly as they dominated possession and had a lot of the ball in North Molton’s half. It wasn’t long before the pressure told, and a clumsy tackle on Liam Cox resulted in a penalty after just 5 minutes, Finley Rooke stepped up and smashed the ball into the far corner. Despite Beer dominating possession, North Molton slowly became more involved in the game, and they were awarded a couple free kicks in dangerous positions which Beer dealt with very well. However, the midfield three of Charlie Ledger, Tony Pinder and Jacob Rowe soon regained total control, and Rowe was very unlucky with two good efforts on goal. Beer finally scored their second of the game in the 22nd minute,  a quick throw from Matt Berry to Taylor Rooke resulted in a corner, Rowe sent over the perfect corner for Finley Rooke to run onto to head an unstoppable goal. 

With Beer winning 2-0  and North Molton struggling to get back into the match, a needless penalty was conceded after a push in the area, North Molton accepted the gift to bring them back into the game. Beer responded very well and could have been awarded another penalty, but came in at the break with a good 2-1 lead and in all bar the last 5 minutes Beer were playing superbly. 

The Fishermen regained their focus and started the second half well, the front line forcing North Molton to frequently resort to the long ball, but Richards and Wilkins at the back easily dealing with this. Beer’s midfield three were now running the show along with Berry's overlapping runs, and the hugely important third goal came in the 53rd minute. Berry’s run allowed him time to deliver a cross to the far post where Finley Rooke bundled the ball home to complete his hat trick. Beer very nearly increased their lead two minutes later, firstly when the South Molton keeper just managed to recover and tip the ball over from Harwood’s free kick, then from the resulting corner Ledger very nearly scooped the ball in. Some slack marking then allowed the North Molton striker to go clean through but with Driver closing the angle down the shot was pulled wide. From the resulting goal kick Driver sent the ball long into the corner, Taylor Rooke chased down the defender and did very well to earn a free kick, Harwood floated in a superb cross which Ledger rose highest to nod home superbly. With the score at 4-1 Beer could have relaxed but they didn’t drop their levels and continued to push for more goals. Cody Bowditch who had just come onto the field was next to go close when after some good football between him and Finley Rooke, found himself in the clear but the keeper did well to block his shot

With 15 minutes remaining Beer got their 5th of the afternoon and once again Ledger was there to out-muscle two defenders to head home, after another great delivery from Harwood. Beer made a number of substitutions to give a few players a well deserved rest, bringing on Joe Adkin, Aaron Daniels, Josh French & Barnaby Down to see the game out. The fresh legs worked well as French and Down linked up well along with Daniels who went close with two headers. However, it was North Molton who finished the scoring, from a free kick the shot went in off the post to make the score slightly more flattering for Staggies.

The game ended with Beer winning 5-2 to book their place in the final, another trip to Coach Road, Newton Abbot on June 1st, where they'll be hoping to repeat their stunning victory in the competition in 2022. Their opponents will be the winner of the second semi-final this coming Saturday, when Ipplepen Athletic of the Devon League take on North Devon Premier side Park United. 

Matchday sponsors Practical Car and Van Rental at Musbury Garage awarded man of the match to Finley Rooke, for his hat trick and all round performance. 

Finally, a big mention must go to Beer groundsman Rob ‘Bingo’ Ford and his helpers Will & Charley, for getting the pitch not only playable but good enough to play passing football on. 

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