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Beer Albion 2nd’s 3-3 Exmouth Rovers

On a chilly winter afternoon, Beer Albion and Exmouth Rovers, both unbeaten in Joma Division 1 East this season, shared the spoils in this 6-goal thriller in front of a crowd of 50 at the Furzebrake writes Richard Honnor.

The Exmouth side currently head the table and for the first 30 minutes, they completely outplayed Beer and stormed into a 2 goal lead. But the Fishermen clawed their way back and with 15 minutes remaining they were 3-2 ahead. In a dramatic finish however, Rovers snatched a late equaliser to deny the home side the victory.

The Fishermen started lethargically and were certainly not relishing the physical side of Exmouth Rovers’ game. They conceded space and possession all too easily and allowed the visitors to dominate proceedings.

It was no surprise when Rovers took the lead on 22 minutes. Centre Forward James Clarke latched on to an under-hit back pass to Beer keeper Scott Dyer, then shrugged off a couple of weak challenges to slot the ball home. The big striker notched his second goal just 3 minutes later when he finished clinically after a swift break down the right had cut through Beer’s defence.

At this stage, a total rout seemed on the cards. But after a couple of positional changes, Beer began to close down quicker and retain possession of the football. They also started to test the Exmouth defence which looked vulnerable under pressure, particularly at set-pieces.

After striker Richard Walker’s glancing header narrowly missed the target and Billy Long had brought a good save out of the Exmouth keeper, Beer pulled a goal back on 36 minutes. Josh Lund’s whipped-in corner was only partially cleared to left-back Ryan King who struck a sweet 20-yarder in-off the goal post.

After the break, Rovers spurned a great chance to restore their two-goal cushion, missing the target from just 6 yards out after a well-worked free-kick wrong-footed the Beer defence. Then Beer keeper Dyer, who had a solid debut, kept his side in the game with a fine save from a close-range header.

As the game wore on, Beer’s superior fitness began to tell and they were unlucky not to equalise on 62 minutes when Josh Moughton’s free-kick from 25 yards hit the underside of the crossbar and the Exmouth keeper saved well from Walker in the ensuing melee.

But Beer’s equaliser came on 70 minutes when substitute Max Richardson’s cross took a deflection and looped over the despairing keeper into the net. The introduction of Richardson had injected some much-needed pace into Beer’s front line.

The Fishermen were now turning up the heat and the visitors conceded a penalty for handball on 75 minutes. Jacob Clode coolly side-footed the spot-kick home to put Beer 3-2 in front.

Then came the dramatic last-minute equaliser to deny Beer the victory. A long ball into the box was headed on and Exmouth’s Max Howard hooked the ball into the far corner to salvage a point for his side.

There were fine individual performances on each side. Rovers’ striker Clarke was always a handful for the Beer defence. But the Fishermen’s center-backs Josh Moughton and Jack Harwood and holding midfielder Reece Hales showed great composure to steady the ship after the initial onslaught. The stand-out performer however was full-back Liam Cox who was nominated as man of the match by sponsors Chapples of Beer Beach.

Next Saturday, Beer 2nd’s are at home to Teignmouth 2nd’s. Kick-off is at 2:15pm and the match sponsor is Woozie’s Deli.

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