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Beer Albion. 2nds 4-1 Exmouth Spartans

Beer Albion Reserves kept their unbeaten record in Joma Devon and Exeter Division 2 with a 4-1 victory at home to Exmouth Spartans writes Richard Honnor. The win propels the Fishermen’s 2nd’s to the top of the table on goal difference.

The 70 spectators who braved the wet and blustery conditions at the Furzebrake were treated to an entertaining spectacle with both sides serving up some fine football. For the first hour there was little to choose between the two sides but the Fishermen’s superior fitness enabled them to dominate the final 30 minutes and win by a comfortable margin.

Spartans attacking intentions were signalled as early as the 2nd minute when Beer keeper Mattie Vincent’s handling was tested with a 20 yarder. In the early stages the Fishermen were conceding too much space to Spartans midfield and unsurprisingly the visitors went 1-0 up after 7 minutes. A defensive mix-up allowed Rob Welshman to hit a powerful 18-yarder into the roof of the net.

This prompted Beer to press higher and take the game to their opponents. The equaliser came on 14 minutes after Spartans conceded a foul on the edge of the penalty area. Josh Lund’s 20 yard free kick was blocked by the defensive wall but rebounded back to Lund who made no mistake this time, striking low past Walsh’s despairing right hand.

There was little to choose between the two sides as a period of exciting end-to-end action followed. Beer caused themselves a few problems with some under-hit passes in danger areas and Mattie Vincent had to be quick off his line to rescue his defence on a couple of occasions.

A key moment of the match came on 37 minutes when, after another casual giveaway, a sweetly struck 25-yarder from the the impressive Welsman appeared destined for the top corner. But Beer keeper Vincent made a brilliant flying save to tip the ball over the bar.

Beer came out with more purpose and urgency after the break and took the lead on 51 minutes when Josh Lund scored his 2nd goal. The hard-working forward found the net with a clinical strike across keeper Walsh.

The Fishermen were now getting the upper hand. Although Spartans were still seeing plenty of the ball, Beer began to punish them with some incisive counter-attacking and it was from such a move that the 3rd goal came on 60 minutes. An early pass out of defence from Simon Smith found substitute Harry Lawrence on the right wing. Lawrence cut into the box but his shot was blocked. But the ball fell to Beer striker Tom Perry who fired into the corner of the goal from 12 yards.

Apart from a scare on 72 minutes when a long-range Spartans effort shaved the upright, the Fishermen were now dominating possession against tiring opponents.

Beer sealed the 4-1 victory on 80 minutes when right full back Jamie Walker’s pinpoint pass found substitute Brandon Hopkins who beat the advancing keeper from a wide angle.

Although this was essentially another good team effort, Josh Lund and Tom Perry were always a handful for the Spartan’s defence and young Sam Walker displayed good composure at left wing back. Perry got the man-of-the-match award for his all-round contribution from match sponsor Fred Hansford Ltd. For Spartans, midfielder Rob Welsman was outstanding.

Beer 1st’s were due to play away at University of Plymouth in the Devon Premier Cup but the Uni forfeited the tie thus enabling Beer to progress to the third round of this competition.

Next Saturday, Beer 1st’s are at home in a local derby against neighbours Colyton. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Norman Lambert. Meanwhile, Beer 2nd’s are in Devon Senior Cup action away to Plymouth side, Mount Wise AFC.

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