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Beer Albion 2nd’s 1-0 Westexe Park Rangers 1st’s

In front of a home crowd of 80, Beer Albion 2nd’s achieved a splendid 1-0 victory against Division 2 high-fliers and previously unbeaten Westexe Park Rangers 1st’s writes Richard Honnor. It was sweet revenge for The Fishermen who were narrowly defeated 3-2 in the corresponding away fixture last month.

In a feisty match full of drama, Beer’s 16-year old keeper was his side’s hero with a magnificent penalty save in the 94th minute to earn his side the 3 points. Ten minutes earlier he had pulled off an even better save at full stretch to keep out a shot from 15 yards when a goal looked certain.

Westexe started at a frantic pace and Beer centre back Joe Adkin rescued Beer in the 5th minute with a goal line clearance. But 2 minutes later the Fishermen went 1-0 ahead through a coolly-placed penalty from Chris Long after the visitors keeper had floored wing-back Jack Prior with a late tackle.

For the next 25 minutes, Beer had to absorb pressure as Westexe attacked relentlessly, delivering quality balls deep into the penalty area. But Beer’s experienced defence kept their shape well and the whole team worked really hard to maintain their slender lead.

Gradually, Beer’s veteran midfielders Alex Paget and Reece Hales began to find room get the passes flowing particularly down the right where the pace of Jack Prior and James Hill was the main threat to Westexe throughout the game.

The Fishermen were unlucky not to increase their lead on 37 minutes when a driving run through midfield from Andrew Foster set up a chance for Long but his well-struck shot went narrowly wide.

Beer started well after the break but missed a good chance on 57 minutes after Paget had split the Westexe defence with a pass to Hill down to left. Hill squared the ball into the path of Prior who shot over the bar from 12 yards.

The match was evenly contested until the last 15 minutes when Beer began to run out of steam. Westexe threw everything at the Fishermen and an equaliser looked on the cards. But some desperate defending followed by those two brilliant saves from Gribble secured the three points for Beer.

The Fishermen deserved the win for a superb team effort and some fine performances particularly from their senior players. Victory against one of the top sides in the Division will have lifted their spirits after a couple of heavy cup defeats.

Match sponsor John Wheeler Builders Ltd awarded man of the match to Leo Gribble. Full credit must also go to referee Colin Thomas who kept the lid on the game during some fractious moments, particularly late-on when Westexe showed growing frustration at their failure to get a result.

Next Saturday Beer 1st’s are back in DFL action at the Furzebrake against Newtown. Kick off is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Norman Lambert.

Meantime in Devon and Exeter Division 2, Beer Reserves travel to 2nd-placed Central Utd 1st’s hoping to reverse the 4-0 SLEE Cup defeat last weekend.

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