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South Zeal Utd 1st’s 0-1 Beer Albion 2nd’s

Beer Albion 2nd’s made it 2 wins from 2 starts this season, grinding out a 1-0 victory away at South Zeal last Saturday writes Richard Honnor. A first-half penalty from Simon Smith gave the Fishermen the edge in an evenly-matched contest. Both sides contributed to a fast-flowing entertaining match.

Beer started strongly and created 3 good chances in the opening 15 minutes. Both Sam Walker and Simon Smith narrowly missed the target from 20 yarders and then Josh Lund did likewise from 12 yards out after being put in the clear by veteran centre forward Richard Walker.

Walker was always a threat to the South Zeal back-line with with his hold-up play and headed flick-ons, combining well with Lund and the energetic Max Richardson.

On 29 minutes Beer finally made the breakthrough when Richardson played a crisp pass into Walker’s feet just outside the box. Walker slid the ball through to Richardson who had continued his run and he was caught late by the home keeper. Simon Smith coolly slotted home the resultant spot-kick.

South Zeal responded positively taking the game to the Fishermen for the remainder of the half and they missed a good chance to equalise when a header from a left-wing cross just missed the target from close range. The home side were getting some joy down both flanks but Beer’s back line, with James Hill, Kieron Love and Ashleigh Driver prominent, looked solid under pressure.

The Fishermen started the second half sluggishly allowing South Zeal’s skilful no. 11 to get behind Beer’s defence three times only to shoot wide twice and then straight at keeper Shaun Denslow on the third occasion. The pace of South Zeal’s right winger was also proving troublesome as he got to the byline on several occasions but no-one was following in to get on the end of a string of crosses into the box.

The Fishermen weathered the storm and they too spurned good chances in quick succession to make the game safe after playing their best football of the half.

Beer had keeper Shaun Denslow to thank in the 72nd minute when he made a crucial save, coming off his line to thwart South Zeal’s best chance of the game to get back on level terms.

The best performance for Beer on the day came from right wing back James Hill but this essentially was a solid team effort against a very useful South Zeal for whom their composed centre back and wide attacking players were outstanding.

Next Saturday, Beer 2nd’s entertain Clyst Valley 2nd’s in Devon and Exeter Division 2. Kick-off is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Hansford Funeral Service. Beer 1st’s have no game scheduled.

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