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Beer Albion1sts  0-1 Exeter University 1sts

Match Report 25 Feb 2024

Devon Football League

In front of a crowd of 170, Beer Albion went down 1-0 to Devon League Leaders University of Exeter 1st’s writes Richard Honnor. In a close, thrilling contest the Students gained revenge for the Premier Cup defeat inflicted by the Fishermen, three weeks previously.

From the the kick-off, Uni took the game to Beer and showed their attacking intent after just 3 minutes when their centre forward headed a left wing cross narrowly wide at the far post. 

The Students went ahead two minutes later with what turned out to be the only goal of the game. After a misplaced pass out of Beer’s defence, a Uni midfielder made a driving run to the edge of the box and forced a fine save from Elliot Driver. Uni recovered possession on the left and their central striker made no mistake this time with a strong header at the far post.

For the next 30 minutes Beer held on by the skin of their teeth as Uni attacked relentlessly with their left winger Luke Steer prominent. But the Students found Fishermen’s keeper Elliot Driver in top form. He made five brilliant saves to keep his side in contention. The Students were playing with much more pace and intensity than  in their previous encounter with the Fishermen.

After a torrid half hour, and to their great credit, the Fishermen began to get a foothold in the game. First Cody Bowditch’s cross from the left produced a good save from the Uni keeper. From the resulting corner,  Beer were unlucky not to get an equaliser when Finley Rooke’s goalbound effort struck a defender’s knee and spun over the bar. This little flurry of attacking play  inspired the Fishermen  to to play some good football of their own and the contest was much more even going into half time. 

After the break, Beer continued to improve and with 50 minutes gone,  a well-struck 25 yard free kick from Finley Rooke flew narrowly past the post. The introduction of Joe Adkin and Josh French from the bench tightened up Beer’s defence and gave them a different attacking option respectively. The changes also allowed Finley Rooke and Jake Rowe to find space and drive forward more from midfield.

There were opportunities for both sides to score in the second period. Uni striker hit the post after rounding Elliot Driver and then the Beer keeper made a superb save to somehow claw the ball out from under his crossbar when a goal seemed certain.

But Beer finished strongly and went close with a couple of free kicks. First Rooke’s effort evaded the wall but sailed just over the bar, then Bowditch’s powerful strike forced a good save from the Uni keeper.

As game drew towards a close, Uni somehow survived a desperate scramble in the penalty box after the ball broke loose following a Beer corner. In the dying seconds, Jake Rowe fired a 20-yarder straight at the keeper but Uni survived to take the three points.

Match sponsors Peter Adkin and Richard Honnor had little difficulty with man-of-the-match awards. For the Students, left winger Luke Steer stood out and for Beer keeper Elliot Driver took the honours.

Next Saturday, Beer 1st’s are back in Devon Premier Cup action with a semi-final at home to North Molton Sports Club. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 2pm and the match sponsor will be Practical Car and Van Rental at Musbury Garage.

Meanwhile, Beer 2nd’s will be hoping to reverse their recent string of defeats when travel to Clyst Valley 2nd’s in Devon and Exeter Division 2.

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