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Beer Albion 2nd’s 2-2 Winkleigh

Beer Albion Reserves retained top spot in the Devon and Exeter Division 2 drawing 2-2 at home against 2nd-placed Winkleigh writes Richard Honnor. With 20 minutes remaining, the Fishermen were trailing 2-0 but they dug deep with two late goals to deny their closest rivals the three points.

Playing conditions were difficult on the wet surface and there was very little to separate the sides for the first 30 minutes and few real chances were created. Beer’s normally influential midfield were being denied time and space on the ball and were guilty of over-hitting their passes with the wind behind them. Gradually Winkleigh started to test Beer’s defence and the Fishermen made things difficult for themselves by giving away unnecessary free kicks just outside the penalty box

Winkleigh were denied the lead on 35 minutes by a brilliant double-save from keeper Martin Hill. Having somehow pushed a fierce shot from 10 yards on to the crossbar he then saved the follow-shot with his feet from 6 yards to thwart the Winkleigh player who had the goal at his mercy.

Beer’s only clear-cut chance of the first half came on 40 minutes but Reece Best missed the target after Smith’s free kick had been fumbled by the Winkleigh keeper. As half time drew near, Hill made another good save following a driving midfield run by outstanding Winkleigh midfielder Freddie Finch. But Hill was unable to prevent the visitors going 1-0 ahead on 43 minutes A long free kick into the box was not cleared and the Winkleigh forward tucked the ball into the net following a goalmouth scramble.

Beer started the 2nd half brightly and were unlucky when Alex Paget’s header from Smith’s corner was deflected onto the bar. Playing into the breeze, the Fishermen were passing the ball better now. Winkleigh were dangerous on the break but Beer’s defence with Jack Harwood outstanding was looking really solid.

But the Fishermen could not make a breakthrough and went 2-0 behind on 64 minutes when Winkleigh scored with a header from a deep corner.

Beer pushed the irrepressible Jack Harwood further forward in a desperate attempt to save the game. They were duly rewarded on 72 minutes when Harwood took a good first touch on a through ball from Paget and fired home from 10 yards.

Chances at both ends were now coming thick and fast and Beer substitute Richard Walker’s deft 77th minute effort was finger-tipped over the bar by the Winkleigh keeper at full stretch.

In a dramatic finish, Beer snatched the equaliser on 88 minutes.A long throw from Alex Paget was back-headed by Richard Walker across the 6- yard line and Josh Lund forced the ball home from close range to earn Beer a share of the spoils.

Winkleigh full back Samuel Bedford and midfielder Freddie Finch were the picks of their team whilst, for Beer, Martin Hill made some fine saves. But sponsor Colebrooke House awarded Man of the match to Beer’s outstanding player Jack Harwood.

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